Families come in all different shapes and sizes. We all have different careers, styles, and homes. Years ago, I went through a major transition and ended up in the emergency room with a bout of hyperthyroidism. It took several months to ride it out, but thankfully, my body returned to normal.
During that time I took many things off of my plate, including blogging. Anything that wasn’t essential, I bowed out of. How many of you know that sometimes in life, our bodies make us take a break?!
I spent a lot of time in prayer and would continually hear: “Be Still and know that I am God.”
But, their was also something else I would hear over and over. It was this: “Keep the home fires burning.”
Obviously in general, I know what that means. But, I sought the Lord about it. Since He put it on my heart, I wanted to know exactly what He had to say.-
We all know the statistics about marriages and families- the bottom line is roughly half of all marriages end in divorce, that includes Christian marriages as well. When the marriage falls apart, generally the kids are put through very difficult adjustments, many of which have long lasting emotional scars…
Kudos to the parents that can work together and nurture their children as a unit when a divorce occurs. It does help the children, however, that is rarely the case and children, whether parents mean to or not, often get caught in the middle. Usually (not always) divorce hurts everyone and it takes a long time for everybody involved to try and heal.
As I called people and pulled out of many obligations, such as public speaking, a radio show, blogging, and some other events, I prayed and asked God when would be the right time to pick it all up again?… When God when?… How will I know?
The only answer I would get was “Be still and know that I am God,- keep the home fires burning.”
I want to share some of the simple, yet powerful insights the Lord taught me during that time in my life.
Keep your home fires burning! Years ago, before electricity, gas fireplaces, microwave ovens, and incessant electronics that distract us- the family used to gather around the hearth. The hearth was always the center point of a home. A fire was always lit. Food was prepared there. Conversations took place. Coffee and tea were served there. People gathered to get warm, and dry their cold feet and hands. Often times, families had prayer times around the hearth or read stories.
The Lord showed me that the hearth isn’t just a physical space, but that it also represents a family’s spirit, soul and body- as a unit. As I studied the significance of a “hearth” I began to get simple revelations. In days of old, if no one was home to tend to the hearth of a home, the fire simply died out-
A fire doesn’t simply go from strong and hearty, to nothing… It dies out over time if nobody is stoking it. Little by little, with no attention, the hot, fervent flames and crackles fizzle out, until there is just a burning ember. After a while, even that little ember loses its light, and the ashes are left- only to eventually grow cold, and blow away with the slightest wind…
The hearth is symbolic of your family- your marriage and your children. These days there are so many opportunities that come to us, voices that distract us, and gadgets that steal our eyes and ears away from our loved ones…Many of these things may be harmless. But, we only have so many hours in a day…and what happens when there are so many obligations, and you’re so tired that nobody tends to the fires at home?
Are you and your spouse or family so busy with ‘busyness’ that you come home to a dark home spiritually, emotionally or literally?
The hearth only stays lit when actively tended to. Someone stokes the hearth, sweeps up the ashes, cooks at the hearth- filling the home with an inviting smell. A healthy hearth is always lit, and has hot water on for warm drinks. During the cold winters of our lives, someone gets up in the night to add some logs, giving fresh life to the fire. Spiritually speaking that relates to prayer in seasons of darkness and nurturing our spirits with the Word of God to keep our hearts from growing cold and losing faith…
When the hearth of a marriage or family is cold and neglected- the relationship between husband and wife begins to fizzle over time, then just and ember…then just ashes…
With an un-lit hearth, the home climate is chilled and it grows dark…it becomes un-inviting. Then, what eventually happens? The husband, wife or kids go elsewhere to get warm, and that’s not how the hearth of a home should be.
Friends, there are enough people out of the home… there are enough marriages with un-lit hearths…there are enough children coming home to a chilled environment, because no one is there to greet them, talk to them and keep them centered in a warm, family environment, fully stoked with prayer, love, food and drink-
Keep your home fires burning! Regardless of the obligations, opportunities, or ‘too good to pass up’ things that are tugging at you for attention. Let me ask you- Is it worth letting the fires of your marriage, family or home life go out?
I hope not. Be sensitive to respond to the inner nudges of the Holy Spirit. When He brings something to your heart, listen! When He speaks to your conscience, obey! You may not see what lies ahead- but thankfully, He does, and He may be correcting your course in advance in order to avoid something that could harm you, your marriage and family. Make the adjustments He shows you. He is a good God. He created marriage and family. He knows what it takes to keep it healthy!