Our homes

SYCAMORE GROVE: I maintain my apartment as a sanctuary, a place I consider the Lord’s and not mine alone. There are, though, some activities that may betray this dedication and need greater care. Sometimes, that affront can be as seemingly innocent as a humorous message on my telephone answering machine.

It is difficult to consider my home an influence for good in the community when I hardly know most of my neighbors or when I see such vast differences in their lifestyles and my own.

While much of this query is directed at married couples and their families, it seems that a set of parallel queries for single Friends would arise here. In dating and courtship, I am finding the necessity of being with those who share a belief in and a personal knowledge of Christ; I am discovering the importance of being faithful to the limits scripture places on sexuality outside of marriage, and have faced situations where this faithfulness has led to my being rejected. A home as a place of peace, joy, and contentment becomes a goal, an aspect to consider in evaluating a potential marriage partner, as does the importance of becoming a couple that sets a good Christian example.

There are few children in my life at this point. One couple has, however, asked me to be godfather to their daughter, and this is opening new experiences. Most of the children in my life are those I hold in prayer.

“Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,
the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.” Psalm 37:4-6

WILLOW BROOK: My stepdaughters are adult now. Somehow, they survived.

I’ve failed much. Perhaps I’ve learned some things, but I wish I’d done so much earlier.

~*~

For more Seasons of the Spirit, click here.

Home life

REHOBOTH MILLS: Being single and being on the road so constantly means that my home is often more of a base camp than a center of life. Moving in the middle of the year to a new apartment has helped greatly, for the new place brings an efficiency the old one lacked. Moreover, in moving to the new location, I heeded an advice to offer up this space to the Lord, that He might use it – and He has. The real direction of this Query has to do with family relationships. Lacking children of my own, I have nonetheless been blessed this past year by friendships with women who do have children, with all of the new discoveries and challenges therein. There have been wonderful opportunities to share the knowledge of God with them; more important, perhaps, is the concern to pray for them. Sharing their fresh insights as they discover the Lord is a great delight. In dating again, remembering the need to keep the goal of peace, joy, and contentment in these relationships is helpful counsel.

As for the youth of our meetings, I see little evidence here, and admit my own failings in this direction. One Friend in Rehoboth takes this as a special concern, and I have tried to support her and her husband in their desire that we teach our children QUAKERISM itself, and not merely ABOUT Quakerism. But they are still struggling with – and resisting – the Quaker message of Jesus – and while they desire to be fully Quaker and part of a totally Quaker circle/community, they will find something missing – an emptiness – until Christ has taken charge of their lives. I must be mindful of this in my travels. And to continue to uphold in prayer those wonderful young Friends in Salem Quarter, that they might come to truly know Jesus and find in our ways the deep communion necessary for the renewal and survival of our Yearly Meeting.

JANE’S FALLS: Maintaining my home as a place of sanctuary has grown in importance over the years. I am feeling convicted, however, in the need for Right Relationship and Companionship and children as part of my walk with the Lord. It is difficult to see how I set a good example in settings, such as this one and the one in Maryland, where we rarely even know the neighbors. In many of the Friends meetings I’ve visited in the past year, I’ve felt the need to remind the parents that our loving Savior will faithfully guide them through life, as they are willing to accept and obey Him, and that they need to read the Bible with their children. Some of my most precious experience with Scripture in this time has come through seven- and eight-year-olds, thanks to the faithfulness of their parents.

WILLOW BROOK: Remarriage in my mid-50s, of course, upset everything. What was I thinking! If anything, it’s been a dash of cold water! That is, home life marks the biggest change in my practice.

Gone was the long quiet for sustained focus. Stepchildren provided challenges I commonly failed, along with marital connections. Anger? Resentments?

My dream of family worship or mini-meetings for business simply vanished. In place of order and calm, there’s clutter and chaos … and, as I need to remember, life itself.

~*~

For more Seasons of the Spirit, click here.