Please welcome Rachel Ann from Home Sanctuary. In Rachel's own words, ""Home Sanctuary" sums up a lot of what my life is about. As a wife and mom, I'm always looking for ways to make our home life a refuge and place of grace for the ones I love most."
'And remember one thing, my darlings, and never forget it: that no matter where we are, know that as long as you have each other, you have your family. And you are home.'
~a letter, A Series of Unfortunate Events
I borrowed my daughter's car, which has no air conditioning, to run some errands the other day. The blistering trip to town immediately transported me back in time, to a series of unfortunate events that happened almost sixteen years ago.
We'd found ourselves in desperate straits: Health issues and emotional stress forced my husband to abruptly leave the company he'd built for 10 years. With no college degrees, a mortgage to pay, two small children and a baby on the way, we had no idea what to do next.
And did I mention that we had only one car....with no air conditioning?
When our money ran out, we did what we never thought we would do: we rented out our house and moved in with my husband's parents for a year until we could get back on our feet.
Stuffed into the two spare rooms my in-laws graciously offered, we were humbled, yet grateful for the chance to start over. They gave us sanctuary.
My husband drove me to and from my temp job in our un-airconditioned car (because I'd managed to wreck our other one), the catalyst for my sweaty reverie that day. He'd load the kids into the blazing hot vehicle and get into traffic for the hour and a half round trip so I could bring in some money. On the sweltering ride, I'd rest my head and wonder how we would ever get out of this predicament.
It was a year of uncertainties, with fears of the future whispering to us each night as we lay in the dark, in our borrowed beds, in those spare rooms.
Everything we'd worked so hard for was gone. All our sacrifices to build a company meant nothing. We struggled to stay hopeful. It all just seemed...lost.
Except that we still had each other. And we discovered something about the word "sanctuary" that year.
My in-laws had offered us sanctuary, but the the refuge we needed so desperately was much more than a simply a roof over our heads. We learned that sanctuary wasn't so much a place as it was a choice.
We had to choose to turn to each other, even if the other person had disappointed us. We found refuge in our imperfect marriage. We had to circle the wagons, so to speak, wrap our arms around our little family and trust God in the midst of it. We closed our bedroom doors and read stories, had tickle fights and braided hair. We talked. We prayed. We took walks and made plans. We found pockets of joy to cherish and remember in family stories that are already legendary.
We learned that sanctuary is where you are. It's what you make of the moments, even when all around you seems bleak. Somehow, there is grace and beauty in the hardships and uncertainties you face, because you choose to find it. And there is hope, even in the dark.
"Sanctuary... is a word which here means a small, safe place in a troubling world. Like an oasis in a vast desert or an island in a stormy sea." ~narrator, A Series of Unfortunate Events
Note from Kimba: Whenever I have to write a few sentances about ASPTL, I always say that it is a place for practical and inspiring ideas for creating a sanctuary at home. But the reality is that I'm often distracted by spray paint and shiny things and I forget to write about the things that really matter. If you are looking for true inspiration for creating a sanctuary for your family, please visitm Home Sanctuary.
While you're there, you can start participaing in Today's Small Thing. Each weekday, Rachel posts one "Small Thing" that you can try to do to create a little more sanctuary in your home.
Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful story, Rachel Anne! I want to be you when I grow up!