As I recollected favorite stories, fiction and nonfiction, my thoughts turned to Corrie Ten Boom whose powerfully moving story can be found in The Hiding Place. This true story of a woman’s faith surpassing the most tragic of circumstances stood out above any other tale of female heroism and so Corrie Ten Boom became my role model. Corrie’s family sheltered Jews during the German Nazi occupation of Holland, her homeland. The Ten Boom home was a hiding place and a refuge for many people suffering great persecution. Their family provided protection from evil and a place of peace. They even created a hidden room for their guests so they could not be discovered by the Nazi police.
Their home became a refuge for many and because of the family’s heroism, many were saved. The Ten Boom family was exported to a concentration camp and Corrie continued to live out her faith as she watched her sister die there. Corrie’s life provides so many examples for me to follow, but I was drawn especially to the use of her home.
I felt the Lord telling me that He wanted to use my home as a refuge for hurting people as well. There aren’t many people in my neighborhood who need a secret place to hide from an evil regime, but there are many people who need a place to hide away for a while from the unseen Evil ruler of this world. Could I provide a home where my family and friends are safe for a while from their enemy who prowls around looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8)? I want to have a home (and a life) that welcomes those who are being persecuted by the world and by Satan. I long to provide a home of peace and a refuge to the hurting - protection for those under attack.
After I began to hear this call from the Lord, I ran across a quote from Elizabeth George.
“In our Father’s house we can come in from the cold…to the heat of a hearth.
Come in from loneliness…to fellowship.
Come in from war…to peace. Come in from darkness…to light.
Come in from danger…to safety.
Come in from famine…to feast.
Come in from enmity…to friendship.”
My home is not just a shelter from the rain; it is a shelter from the challenges of life. It begins with my family when we create an atmosphere in our home that is warm and inviting. The kids want to be around because they are not getting constantly criticized. There is much laughter in our home – there’s not much room for loneliness when you are surrounded by people. We often have friends over and host Bible studies in our home to extend a welcome into our fellowship. My children have friends whose homes are not always safe, light or happy. I want my home to be a refuge for my kids and husband, but also for our neighbors, friends, extended family and anyone God brings our way.
I have seen how God is practically answering my prayers to make my home a refuge for the hurting. I invited several women to a small Bible study a few years ago. There are five of us now who meet regularly to study God’s Word and encourage each other through prayer. My home (and the small group) has been a refuge for these women. We have prayed over deep emotional wounds and ministered to each other because I welcomed these women into my home and into my life (1 Thessalonians 2:8). We have shared in each other’s struggles – we’ve prayed for two marriages to be healed and have seen God minister through our prayers. Each week as we honestly share our battles with loneliness, depression or other struggles, we find hope in a place of refuge.
Hospitality may not be your spiritual gift, but your home can still be a place of refuge. If peace and love are core values in your home, others will notice and be drawn to it. When we built a swing set in the back yard, all of the neighbor kids felt the magnetic pull to our yard. Honestly, I don’t think it’s the swings that pull them in. Kids who don’t have a healthy home life see our place as a refuge – a place to be loved and find peace. I really hope to see this trend continue as my children grow into teenagers. I want to create a place that draws in the kids like flies. Let them come in to a place where Jesus is present and to a home where they can see God at work.
Have you been thinking about what epic story, what fairy tale provides a framework for your life? I'd love to hear!
*This picture is not my home, but it sure looks cozy!
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