I have been thinking about the word "sanctuary" lately. I looked up the definition this morning and was struck by two of the meanings. One was "a church or other sacred place where fugitives were formerly entitled to immunity from arrest". There are times where I feel like a fugitive on the run from fear, guilt, anxiety, and the trappings of the enemy of our souls. He is out to imprison and chain me in yet the Bible says that the Lord is our sanctuary! A sacred place I can run to and am immune from these accusations!
A sanctuary is also a place where "wildlife, esp. those hunted for sport, can breed and take refuge in safety from hunters" and "any place of refuge". When we moved into our current home, I was searching for a sanctuary. A place where I could take refuge from personal storms and lie down in safety. When I saw our home from the road, I knew it was the place for us. There is no better word to describe it than "sanctuary". Full of peace, room to breathe, and although in need of much work and love, it has strength and promise. A safe refuge.
And on even a smaller scale, I have a sanctuary that I retreat to daily for rest, reading, reflection, and connection with the Lord. It is "my" side of the bed with my bedside table. I have a few chairs in our home that I enjoy as well, but because of my height, my legs get tired of dangling. I love sitting on my bed because my legs can stretch straight out and not get tired. My bedside table keeps a photo of Mike and me (one of us cuddled up in a chair looking out at the ocean when we were engaged), a devotional/journal, chapstick, a coaster (for my morning coffee and my afternoon tea), a candle (to remind me to bring light into darkness), a clock, and a shell to remind me of the beach...another sanctuary in my life.
We all need sanctuary. We all need refuge...a safe one. Our Lord is our grandest sanctuary no matter our physical location at any moment. We can flee to Him at all times and anywhere. What comfort!
Our homes need to be sanctuary for our families to find rest and refreshment. We have the ability to create an unseen sanctuary daily in gracious, kind, encouraging attitudes towards our husband and children. We can also create sanctuary in our cooking comforting meals and having a daily dinnertime together . Through decorating our homes we can also create rest and peace by decluttering regularly, using pretty paint colors on our walls, keeping surfaces simple and clean, and adding beauty regularly through flowers, candles, fresh fruit in a bowl, using table linens, fresh throw pillows, etc. These are photos of an apartment that is only 382 square feet in yet is warm, inviting, and peaceful which goes to show that size doesn't matter! How inspiring!
We as busy women need our own special spots to find peace and refuge. For me it is my side of the bed and also my bathtub. I also have a front porch rocker that I retreat to in early mornings of spring and summer to drink my coffee. In our past house, it was the screened-in porch. Local gardens and coffee shops have also provided sanctuary for me throughout my journey.
We have the Lord, our homes, and special spots as sanctuaries...to name just three. Here are some practical tips on making sanctuaries real to us:
- Run to the Lord today if you are stressed out in the middle of Target or in bad traffic.
- Take a step to make your home a haven today by re-arranging furniture, picking out fresh paint colors, collecting some wildflowers, or cooking a simple meal. Use a tablecloth tonight. Play some classical music on the CD player while you clean or cook. Say a kind word to your husband. Tell your kids that they are great!
- Pick out a fresh special spot. Take a steamy bath, create a hot tea haven, or find a new bookstore filled with comfy chairs. Look for a natural retreat outside that you can visit frequently...drinking in creation clears the soul.