The word "home" is such a comforting word for me. In 1828, Noah Webster defined home as, "a close place, or place of rest." I think the word, "haven" goes hand in hand with "home". Webster defines "haven" as, "a shelter; a place of safety." Is my home a haven? A place of rest and safety? Or, have I invited the world into our home? As a home school mom and as a Christian, I have a desire and a duty to protect my kids from worldly influences. Those things that take our minds away from God and encourage idolatry. Those things that can harm, cause pain or stress.
In many ways, my children have not been introduced to things as early as I was growing up. Going to public school and having regular television influenced me greatly. I was taught wrong from right, but being surrounded by this culture as much as I was shaped my character. I always thought of myself as sensitive to anything that was not pleasing to the Lord, but after time, I began to relax my convictions. It wasn't popular to be that sensitive and I also was very good at rationalizing why certain things were okay to watch or to listen to. When God started blessing us with our own children, He began restoring those sensitivities again. He gave me discernment about things that I once thought were acceptable and taught me just how unprofitable or even how dangerous it was to invite the culture into our home.
My husband and I paid for cable for a few short years. We enjoyed some very good programs from time to time, some not so good, and some that were just a waste of time. I remember one evening when we were flipping through channels. My husband was trying to figure out what a particular show was and the next thing I remember, a robotic car began gunning down a man right in front of my little ones! We had two children at the time. Of course, I jumped in front of the television before they saw very much, but I was so angry and sad at the same time. There was no warning and I prayed that they wouldn't understand what little they did see. Programming that wasn't violent, but had subtle and unbiblical messages were just as bad. After much prayer, we cancelled our cable. We couldn't afford the extra expense, but more importantly, we couldn't afford what the television was doing to our family. Not only were the programs and commercials depraved, but they were taking precious time away from us. Time we'd never get back.
Getting rid of the cable was a wise decision, but we still have our videos. We still have our music collection. We still have internet. Simply having those things is not wrong, but the Lord has been convicting me in this area of what I allow into my home. There are definitely things I do not want our children to listen to or to view. These things may not be evil, but are still too mature for the kids. My husband and I do need to be aware of current events in the news. We need to listen to sermons that are geared more for our ears, but are we truly being wise in what we allow for ourselves? Is what we are listening to and viewing bringing about the righteousness of God in our home? Everything we do should be done in the light of God's Word. If it is found to be antithetical to what we know is true and right, what are we going to do about it? We have favorite movies. Some are just fine, but there are those that we find hysterical and yet are not pleasing to our Lord. "Why am I laughing at that?", I ask myself. In both movies and music, we are praying that God will show us what needs to go and what can stay.
Our home should be a haven, a place of safety and rest. A place where we can collect our thoughts, pray for and encourage one another. A place to shut out the evil and the darkness of this world. Our home should be open to others outside of our family. We need to be salt and light and pray for every person who comes through our doors, but we don't need to invite this godless culture into our everyday home life. We must not stop with our videos and music either. I question those "harmless" catalogs that encourage covetousness and discontent. The toy catalogs, LL Bean, and even the home school catalogs(gasp!) that promise fun, beauty and enrichment for our home and children. We need to shrug off "selfish ambition"(Phil.2:3) and "complaining"(Phil.2:14). We need to continue to dwell on "whatever is true, noble, right, pure..."(Phil.4:8). We need to meditate on and memorize God's Word. We need to "sing and make music in our hearts to the Lord"(Eph.5:19).
I am praying that God will continue to work in our hearts and show us the areas we've invited into our home that have no place here. I'm praying that He will make our home a haven. A haven of rest.