Sally and Sarah Clarkson’s book The Life-Giving Home has been on my radar for a couple yearslghfeb now. I decided it was time for a deep-dive read and blog series about it. I hope to read and journal (here on my blog) about each chapter as I go. The book is divided up by months in its chapter structure, which lends itself to a blog series rather nicely. I hope that regardless of your life stage and situation, you can glean something from the wisdom on the importance of home to a human heart. You can read all the posts here.

“The Incarnation was, in its deepest sense, a restoration of what God originally intended for humankind. And that includes a physical place of belonging.” – Sarah, Ch. 2

February’s chapter, as you might have anticipated, is all about love; it is subtitled “A Culture of Love.” Sally explores the ways in which we’ve been loved by God, then opens up ways that her family has celebrated one another, whether it be birthday traditions or weekly times of “girl time” and “men’s night out.”

Love is indeed a choice, an obedience, a service and a sacrifice, an initiation. But love is also the most powerful source of joy. And it is the means through which God would have us extend His hands, His words, His redemption to our world, within the walls of our homes.

The thing that struck me about this chapter the most is the multitude of ways in which these little manners and ways paved the way for listening to one another. At the heart of every tradition or intentional act, there was a heart of service for communicating that the person was seen and known.

Last week I read a quote from David Augsburger, “Being listened to is so close to being loved that most people cannot tell the difference.” It struck me as so true! We are all so busy being efficient that we forego being fruitful in one another’s lives. Can we sit down and listen to our children? Can we pay attention to their little stumbles and joys? Can we recognize a friend’s triumph or discouragement?

I came away from this chapter with encouragement to stop and see people, whether they be my own children or a friend, neighbor, or stranger. Sally closes with an encouragement to entrust these interactions to the Lord:

And because He is the One who invented love in the first place, who surrounds us with love every day of our lives and inhabits every truly loving relationship, I can trust Him to transform all my efforts into the stuff of eternity.