1. What life experiences prompted you to write The Lifegiving Home?
Over 34 years of marriage, having raised 4 children to adulthood and moving 17 times, I have observed that everyone has a longing for home. Each of us want to have a sanctuary for our lives where we can be loved as we are, feel a part of a community that supports us, and enjoy a place where life is celebrated, feasts are enjoyed and one can always find goodness and hope for refueling to go back into the world. Our home has a story of such a place over all the years. Sarah and I wanted to write a book that would encourage, inspire, give ideas and help women of all walks of life cultivate such a place for themselves and for those in their homes.
2. Your book is not just about “home” as it relates to family, but to all who enter and need a “home”. Can you explain?
As a young single woman, I lived in Communist Eastern Europe many years ago and began to realize that I could cultivate a life-giving home wherever I was, in a tiny apartment, a dorm room or a full-fledged home. During those years, I would invite young students over for tea, coffee or simple meals. Sometimes over 30 women would show up and say how much it meant to be invited into a place of generous hospitality. Now that Sarah is a student in Oxford, she has practiced all traditions we celebrated over the years in her own dorm room and now cottage as a single woman. People are the same everywhere—they long for a space that says welcome. Through our many years of living all over the world, we have been welcomed into homes of students, single parents, single men and women, families, and in every place where someone purposes to “make home” we have felt welcome.
3. You say “when you invite people in to your home, the Lord shows up”, what do you mean by this?
In this time of Pinterest and elaborate photographs of house beautiful, sometimes we become intimidated by a vision of perfectionistic sort of hospitality and feel we cannot have people in our home unless it is picture perfect. However, we have learned over the years, if we have an open heart to welcome whoever God brings our way, and gather around a bit to eat or something soothing to drink, it seems hearts begin to open, and we very much feel God’s blessing on our time together. Simple love, simple hospitality, simply divine!
Home life most often becomes the foundation of forming a child’s heart, mind, soul, values and appetites for their whole life. When we have a home that is safe from the storms of the world, a place of beauty, fun, love, the incarnated life and truth of Jesus, our children will flourish and learn personally of the love of God which is the oxygen breathed into all their days in such a home. Home is the best place to pass on a godly legacy that will sustain through all the years of adulthood. Yet, to craft such a place requires one who is willing to plan and conduct the life of Christ through out all the seasons of the year. Children thrive when they have a secure sense of place, a sense of their part in a bigger story of family and a haven where they can find joy and love.
5. In our isolationist culture where we feel anxious and afraid, it is more important now
than ever before to provide a safe place that nurtures and restores the soul. Can you explain?
Through all the ups and downs of life, we long to have a friend, a parent, a sibling, a spouse who can meet us every day and say, “I am committed to you. I love you. I will be here for you. I will make time for you.” We were created to thrive in a community of people that invest love, affirmation and encouragement in our lives on a daily basis. Yet, with the mobility of family and jobs, the isolation from our neighbors, and the anonymity we feel when we are but a tiny person amongst hundreds or thousands in mega churches, we have become accustomed to a lonely life that we were never created to have. Redeeming a vision of home, where real people embrace, love, play and pray with each other invests deeply in our emotional lives. Often when we feel so very isolated from any real friendships, we can also feel far from God. More than ever, home can provide a haven in the storms of life, an outpost for life where our real and deep longings can be met. Reviving a vision for home is one of our main purposes in writing this book. Our desire is that people all over the world will find place to belong, a place to grow, a place to be comforted, a place to belong, a place to be loved.
About the Author
Sally Clarkson is the women’s ministry director of Whole Heart Ministries, which she cofounded in 1994 with her husband, Clay. The author of many popular books, including Desperate (with Sarah Mae) and Own Your Life, Sally inspires thousands of mothers through her Mom Heart Conferences and small groups. She is a very popular blogger, and a mother of 4 grown children.