Safe & Familiar

My older two just spent a week overnight at camp. Granted, this is the same camp we work at, and it is only 10 minutes away, but this was the first time they'd been away from home for this many days, so this was a big deal. I knew they'd have a blast.  I had no problem dropping them off. I knew I had seen enough maturity in them to know they could self-regulate to a degree on their own, they could follow instructions and avoid death for the most part;)

I had braced myself for picking them up this morning, knowing that I was about to gain back two exhausted, hyper, full-of-stories, and perhaps crabby kiddos.  I wanted to be as patient and loving as possible with the transition home and into normalcy....something I needed grace for.  

What I didn't realize is how ready they truly would be to come home. Of course they're catching me up on camp stories about games experienced, songs learned, one-on-ones with counselors, Bible teaching lessons, funny cabin moments, and tough moments too. But while they had an amazing time at camp, they were so longing for home. For their own beds, their own rooms, their own space. For that same box of mac-n-cheese mom makes at least once a week.  For time to snuggle and just be held (she more than he:), and for a day to just be present together with no major expectations.  I could feel an invisible but definite sigh of relief as they melded back into their familiar spots on the couches to stare at the same TV screen while I let them veg today and unwind from the week.  I could tell by the deep nap my little lady took that she had gone hard this week, had held all of her heart needs together, but now she was home, and she could really crash.  

As I took each of my children's individual order for lunch today (I was spoiling them a bit;), I was overcome with how much joy I was experiencing in being able to serve them, welcome them back into the familiarity of home and to simply affirm that this is a forever safe place for them.  

The thing is I'm realizing more and more that that's what I hope I can always give my children - a safe place to come home to - regardless of their choices now and into the future (which I cannot control).  I pray for the grace and ability to create a place that is safe, familiar, and steady for these souls that have been entrusted to Sam and I.  I want them to always be able to come home and crash, to meld into that couch and cash out whether they're 12, 24, or 38.  I want to be approachable even with the really hard things to share. I want to listen to the drama even when it's super ridiculous, because it matters to them. I want our kids to know that whatever adventures they go on in this big wide world of ours, and whatever amazing experiences God has laid out for them, that they always have a familiar, steady, safe place in our home, in our family, with us.  

And I don't take for granted that this is everyone's normal. My heart aches for what some kids are returning to tonight.  I also recognize and am keenly aware that our home is not perfect.  We've got our junk that casts a shadow too. But what's been impressed upon me is seeing how much our kids really feel safe and at home here, even through the junk. That's the grace of God. He showed up with His grace giving me joy, and in showing me my children's love for home.

So I'm pausing tonight to jot down these thoughts tonight while they're fresh, and also, because I know that that soon enough, the glow of what I'm feeling will be met with the other reality of fighting, tears, hard-issues to work through, and all the equally frustrating aspects of parenting and sibling wars.  For now though, I'm thankful for this home too, and for the familiarity and safety it brings to each one of us.


  1. Oh the thoughts you stirred in me! Knowing there was fun and laughter and learning...and still longing for home. That's us! There are good times in this life, but we should be longing for HOME!

    And then you shared your heart to serve and create a safe place. A place your children want to return to no matter the circumstances or their ages. And that's God! Wanting to love us and let us know we can trust Him with everything, He wants us to find comfort in Him.

    Parenting is such a great picture of the Father's love.

    1. Yes! Such good thoughts and insight Lori...thank you for you sharing.


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