Thankful For Home
About the Guest
- Ever Thine Home Blog https://everthinehome.com/blog/
- ARTICLE: Three Ways to Make Your Home Safe Before the Storms of Life Hit by Barbara Rainey. https://everthinehome.com/three-ways-to-make-your-home-safe-before-the-storms-of-life-hit/
- Check out all that's available on the FamilyLife Podcast Network. https://www.familylife.com/familylife-podcast-network/
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Barbara RaineyAfter graduating from the University of Arkansas with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history, Barbara joined the staff of Cru® in 1971. With her husband Dennis, whom she married in 1972, the Rainey’s cofounded FamilyLife®, a ministry committed to helping marriages and families survive and thrive in our generation. Barbara is a frequent speaker and guest on FamilyLife Today®, FamilyLife’s award-winning nationally-syndicated daily radio broadcast. She is the author or coauthor of...more
True, soul-deep security can only come when home is built on Jesus. Barbara Rainey encourages believers that our ultimate security is only in our eternal home.
Thankful For Home
Michelle: We all know the sky is falling: there’s a pandemic; there are hurricanes; there are wildfires. It’s a world of unrest; but Barbara Rainey reminds us that we need to look to the One who is our Refuge, our Protector, and our Provider.
Barbara: This is, again, the beauty and the wonder of God is that He, along with wise counselors we can talk to here, gives us the way forward. He gives us wisdom; He gives us guidance. His Holy Spirit will help us say the right thing/do the right thing to create that safety at home when it’s being invaded.
Michelle: We’re going to lock some of those doors to parts of the outside world [as] we learn how to make our home safe again with Barbara Rainey today on FamilyLife This Week.
Welcome to FamilyLife This Week. I’m Michelle Hill. Last week, we talked about the concept of being safe at home; we talked with Barbara Rainey, who is so encouraging and just helped us think through, “What are the safety features of home?”
Barbara is founder of Ever Thine Home®; and she’s co-founder to FamilyLife®, where I work right now. She’s a grandmother to more than 20 grandkids, and she has been a mentor and a friend to me for many years. It’s understandable that I would want to have Barbara in to talk about: “What does it look like to be safe at home?” Here’s Part Two of my conversation with Barbara Rainey.
Michelle: Barbara, last week we were talking about the safety of home during this storm that we’re in/during this pandemic. Really, 2020 has been this wild storm of so many things!—
Michelle: —from cultural issues, to health and sickness, to emotional issues.
We talked about how we can start making our home like a refuge/a safe place—as that embassy, where Christ lives. What is another way that we can be safe at home, where we can make that house, not like the foolish man? I grew up singing that song—
Barbara: Yes, yes.
Michelle: —“The wise man built his house upon the Rock.
Michelle: “The foolish man built his house on the sand.”
Barbara: Yes, the sand.
Michelle: And there were all those little hand actions that were kind of built in.
Barbara: Yes; oh, I remember, because my kids did it, too; yes.
Michelle: How can we build a house that is firm on the Rock and safe from storms?
Barbara: Yes; well, build it on the Rock, for sure! [Laughter] I think the way we do that is that we keep Jesus as our focus as we’re building. You know, it’s so easy to forget that He’s present all the time. For me, it’s easy to get distracted; I try to imagine: “What would Jesus want? What would make Him feel comfortable?” I think one of the things that Jesus did, when He walked the earth, is He was comfortable with all kinds of people. He was comfortable with the rich; He was comfortable with the tax collectors; He was comfortable with the lepers—He was comfortable with all kinds of people.
I think that, as believers, one of the ways that we can create a safe home is by making our home safe for anybody. When we were raising our kids, one of our goals was to let our kids bring their friends over—let them come over and play in our yard—so we could get to know who their friends were at school and [who] some of the other kids in the neighborhood might have been.
I remember, there was a child, who lived in our neighborhood, who didn’t really have a good home life. His parents weren’t believers as far as we knew. This was a big internal battle, because I wanted to protect my children—
Barbara: —I wanted our house to be safe; I wanted our yard to be safe; I wanted my kids to be safe. I didn’t feel like this child was particularly safe: I wasn’t sure what he would say; I wasn’t sure how he would act. I wanted to give them the space to play and be themselves—I wasn’t going to hover and be a helicopter parent—but on the other hand, I didn’t want to ignore them.
That was a really interesting season for me, because I did a lot of praying about my attitude,—
Barbara: —about my responses, about what I would say and what I would do; because I knew that, as a family, we represented Christ. I knew that, as a family, we were supposed to love those who were unlovable. I knew that, as a family, we needed to be teaching those things to our kids—those attitudes and actions—because they were going to school and do life for the rest of their lives with people who weren’t like them. I think it’s making your home safe for all kinds of people.
Now, you have to be careful. You have to have/I mean, I had boundaries with that child. I didn’t let him come in the house, because of my preschoolers; you have to have boundaries as you do that.
It’s thinking a bit beyond your own borders—the boundaries of your house—and being open to what God might want you to do. If your home is an embassy—you mentioned that a minute ago—
Barbara: —if your home is an embassy, because you’re an ambassador and Christ is the King of the country you represent, we have to be willing to take a few risks here and there to welcome people, who we might not feel super comfortable with; because Jesus welcomed people in His life that we wouldn’t have felt comfortable with either. He is our model; He is our example. Following Him is a good thing; it’s going, step by step, and creating that place that’s safe for your family but is also safe for other people.
Michelle: I like how you were talking about making things safe for other people.
What happens if there’s a threat that comes through that front door and it has entered your home, whether that’s been a spouse, who can’t deal with the stress at work and has become violent, or a child who has turned rebellious? What do we do to regroup the safe part that is home? How do we do that?
Barbara: Yes; well, it’s very complicated; and it’s also very individual. It really depends on who and what—what’s happening and who the person is. If it’s a spouse, you’re married; and you need to figure out/get wisdom from someone else on how to manage this situation that you’re currently in, starting with God: “God, how do I give my husband space” or “…my wife the space to be frustrated and angry because of what’s happening at work, without it impacting everybody else?” That takes a lot of wisdom; it takes a lot of caution, and care, and sensitivity to be able to do that; but I really believe that God will give that, because that home needs to be safe for everybody, no matter what you’re going through.
We went through a season of really hard trials with one of our kids, and one of our kids was not safe for me or for the siblings who were still at home. This child was safer for my husband, just because I think men are stronger and present a different kind of force/a different kind of image than moms and wives do.
Barbara: You know, we lived day by day, which is what God calls us to do anyway; but in that season, we really lived day by day, because we weren’t quite sure what each day was going to bring with this child when this one was going through that really hard season. We made some decisions that were hard decisions about distance/creating distance, creating safe spaces, creating new kinds of boundaries that we didn’t have to have before that protected those who were not in the hard place.
It’s hard to be specific.
Barbara: Yet I think that this is, again, the beauty and the wonder of God is that He, along with wise counselors that we can talk to here, gives us the way forward. He gives us wisdom; He gives us guidance. His Holy Spirit will help us say the right thing/do the right thing to create that safety at home when it’s being invaded.
Michelle: But I’m wondering, when you were talking about the neighborhood child, you were talking about how you had to lean into God and pray, and pray, and pray.
Barbara: Yes, yes.
Michelle: I’m sure, with this event that you were just now talking about, you had to pray, and pray, and pray.
Michelle: Help us understand what that looks like. I mean, when you talk about praying without ceasing—
Michelle: —it’s exhausting! [Laughter]
For a person, like me, who is just a little bit sinful, it’s like, “Hey, God, are You not hearing me?”—I mean, when you’re praying, and praying, and praying. How do you do that?
Barbara: I’ve learned so much about it, like a kindergartner; but I think God knows that those kinds of circumstances and situations in our lives force us to pray at a level that we wouldn’t pray otherwise. I mean, when life is going great, who needs God?
Barbara: Honestly, really. It’s knowing who God is and knowing Him as much as you can.
You mentioned the man who built his house on the rock/that parable. That man, who built his house on the rock, didn’t build his house in the middle of the storm. It was already built; he built it on a sunny day—he cracked that foundation and built it on a sunny day—so he was established in that secure place before the storm came.
I think God expects that of us, too/wants that of us, too—that we would grow in Him/that we would establish our foundation—our personal soul/heart foundation—in Him before the storms come. The storms will come! It’s just a matter of when. And they will come repeatedly. That’s the thing that I didn’t understand for a long time. I thought, “Yes, there will be a few storms,” but they just keep coming in life. God wants us to dig down deep and keep digging down deep. Even when the storm is raging outside, keep digging down deep to find that safety in Him and Him alone.
Michelle: Don’t you feel like you’re part of a spiritual therapy session or something like that?—just a reminder that we need to make our home safe. The only way we can do that is if it’s built on the Rock.
Hey, we need to take a quick break; but when we come back, we’re going to continue talking about home and how to be thankful in that home. Stay tuned. We’ll be right back.
[Radio Station Spot Break]
Michelle: Welcome back to FamilyLife This Week. I'm Michelle Hill. We are talking with Barbara Rainey. We’re talking about being safe at home and safe in God’s arms—that, sometimes, can be a little elusive. Here’s the last part of my conversation with Barbara Rainey.
Michelle: So Barbara, as we’ve been talking about safety aspects, we’ve talked about that storm and what our house should look like. I’m just thinking about when storms hit, and a pretty big storm hit me this summer. A dear older, wiser woman, who would listen on the phone as I would just be sobbing and crying, would say, “Okay, you can continue crying; but you have to praise Him in this storm. You have to thank Him for what you have now.” Those words were gold, and I have tried so hard to continue doing that—
Michelle: —but that is so hard! Coach us: “How do we continue to thank Him and praise Him when life just seems to be so chaotic when hurricanes hit and when pandemics hit?
Michelle: “How do we continue to do that?”
Barbara: Well, I think we stumble and fall, and we get up and try again; because it is developing a habit. Just like any other habit that we try to develop in our lives, we fail more than we actually succeed, whether it’s a diet, or an exercise routine, or a study habit—whatever! You know, only the most disciplined can keep those things going forever and ever. Most of us try for a while, and then we fail.
I just think giving thanks in all things—1 Thessalonians 5:18: “Give thanks in all things, for this is God’s will for you,”—is such a good reminder in the middle of 2020. Well, we’re not in the middle of 2020 anymore; we’re nearing the end of 2020, but we may still be in the middle of the trials of 2020—
Michelle: That’s right.
Barbara: We don’t know when the difficulties of 2020 are going to end; so I think it’s practicing what we know to be true, and allowing the Holy Spirit to remind us, “I want you to give thanks,” and then doing it! I’ve been trying to do that a lot this year: “Thank You, Lord, for the pandemic. Thank You that You’ve forced us to be home. Thank You that You are working, and orchestrating, and doing things that I may never see and know, but I know that you are, and I thank You for that.”
I just think thanksgiving/gratitude is a real heart recalibration; we kind of don’t like to do it. I think that’s part of the reason we don’t do it; because we’d rather feel sorry for ourselves, or we’d rather focus on how hard life is, and how unfair this is, and how unwanted this is—we long for what once was!
Barbara: I mean, I remember in the early days of the quarantine—in March, and April, and as we moved into May—I had this longing for “the good ol’ days.” [Laughter] It was like, “Why would I want to go back to that?” I mean, there were a lot of things that were bad about life before March 15; there were a lot of things that weren’t good!
Barbara: I knew in my heart I didn’t really want to go back, because I knew that all of this is being orchestrated by God; I knew that God was bigger than all of this. I really wanted what He was going to bring us—what He was going to bring me/what He was going to do in my heart—but my flesh, I guess is what it was—the part of me that wants life to be easy wanted to go back to the way things were. I think, just in our humanity, we want it to be easy/what we knew was easy.
It’s like the Israelites wanting to go back to slavery in Egypt.
Michelle: Right; I was just thinking about that.
Barbara: I mean—
Michelle: How they painted that beautiful picture: “If only You had left us…”
Barbara: “If only”—yes—“If we could go back, it would be so much better than this.” And God, in His/as a parent—I love thinking about God as my parent/as my Father—because I know He knows what’s best for me. He’s looking at us, going, “Yes, you just think you want to go back. Just wait! Just wait; what I have is better.”
I think giving thanks and practicing gratitude is really one of the very best things we can do in the middle of hard times, because it reminds us/it kind of recalibrates our thinking, and it puts our eyes back on Who is in control.
Barbara: I think part of our panic in wanting to go back to Egypt—wanting to go back to 2019—is we’re looking for that comfort and that stability that we think that represents.
Michelle: Yes, we thought we had.
Barbara: We thought we had it.
Barbara: But it’s been so good for me to realize, in these months of 2020, that God is wanting me to put all of my hope in Him and not in anything else. Without even realizing it, I put my hope in other things: in my freedom to get up and go when I want to go, without having to wear a mask—you know, that was really comfortable for me. I think I had more of my hope for my happiness in that than I ever realized. When it’s taken away, it’s like, “Oh! Yes, God, You know what You’re doing.”
Michelle: Yes, but that’s so hard.
Barbara: It’s so hard!
Michelle: It’s so hard to get there.
Barbara: It is so hard to get there.
Michelle: I know I’m not alone in this, although at times I’m like, “I am such the immature Christian! I’m such the immature child of God”; because my knee-jerk reaction is, “But God!!!”
Michelle: Like a little four-year-old, I stomp my foot.
Barbara: Yes, yes.
Michelle: I stomp my foot and say, “But this is not fair! I don’t like this.”
Michelle: How would you help your children understand, as they were heading through some of these temper tantrums, and even into the teens, “Thanksgiving and gratitude to God is better than what you’re doing right now”?
Barbara: Yes. I think the best way to do it is to model it for them and to help them. Take their hand, whether it’s a little hand or a big hand, and say, “We’re going to give thanks; we’re going to give thanks right now for this.” I didn’t always do it; I didn’t always do it right or well. But the overarching message, I think, to our kids was, “God is in control. He knows what He’s doing; we’re going to trust Him—
Barbara: —“no matter what.” We practiced giving thanks as often as we remembered to do it. I think that set a tone in their lives that they know that, “I’m not in control. Nobody I know is in control, but God is.”
When we say, “Thank You, God,” and when we express gratitude to Him for circumstances that aren’t what we would have chosen/that aren’t what we would have liked necessarily, it just reminds us that He is God; and we are not. It’s such a good place to be.
Barbara: And it does bring that exhale; it does bring that peace and that sense of safety when we surrender to Him again. It’s another Romans 12:1-2 moment to say, “Here I am; my life is Yours. I’ll put myself back on the altar; I’ll surrender to You. I don’t want to be conformed to the world. I want to be conformed to Your image.” That’s a safe place to be; it’s a really safe place to be, surrendering to Him and saying, “Change me.” I’ve been saying that a whole lot this year!—“Oh, God, please change me. Transform my heart; make me more like You.”
Michelle: I’m just thinking of home. In your creative spirit, and in your imagination, what does a perfect home in heaven look like?
Barbara: My first response was, “I don’t have any idea.” But I will say it this way: God knows me so well/He knows you so well, that the home that He has planned for me is going to be either a place that I can fully express who I am or a place that’s already like I always wished it would be. I don’t even know what that is, because that changes. [Laughter]
Barbara: I just know that I find a lot of comfort, and excitement, and anticipation in John, where Jesus said, “I go to prepare a place for you, that where I am, you may be also.” I really don’t have any idea what that’s going to look like. I know what Revelation tells us about the sapphire streets and the gates of pearl, and all of those things; that’s going to be amazing and beautiful, because how could it not be!? I think we need to be talking about this more.
And 2020, I think, is a good reminder to us that this earth is not our place; it’s not our home. We know that!—I’ve known that forever—but I live as if it is. I’m way too rooted to this place. I think the pandemic, I think the racial discord, I think the riots, I think the election drama—I think all of these things that are unsettling us/all these things that feel like the storm winds—and they are—are just preparing us/preparing our hearts to let go of this place and to build anticipation for what will yet be. That’s a really good place for God’s people to be.
He wants us to be excited! I mean, it says in Scripture that He wants us to anticipate His return—to be watching and waiting—sort of on our tiptoes like kids getting ready to come downstairs for Christmas morning. He wants us to live on our tiptoes, eagerly looking ahead to: “When is He coming?” “What’s it going to be like?!”
It’s too easy to get sucked into this earthly place and to get comfortable here. Really, it’s one of the things I’m grateful for, in this upheaval that is 2020; is that it has helped me to not be so comfortable here. It’s helped me turn my eyes more to what lies ahead and to what God has for us in the future. It could be tomorrow; it could be a long time; but it will come!
Barbara: Even if it’s longer than we want it to be, it will come. It will happen, and it will be worth the wait.
Michelle: And it will be beyond our imagination.
Barbara: —beyond imagination—yes; exactly. It’s fun to imagine what “beyond our imagination” could be.
Michelle: Thank you, Barbara, for your time.
Michelle: This has been so much fun and such a delight.
Barbara: Well, it’s been fun; and this is cozy. I hope I get to come back, because this has been great.
Michelle: You will!
Michelle: Such an encouraging and uplifting conversation with Barbara Rainey. I hope that your spirit has been uplifted; I hope that you’re feeling just a little bit lighter.
Hey, I just want to remind you that last week was Part One of my conversation with Barbara. We have that conversation on our website. Go to FamilyLifeThisWeek.com; that’s FamilyLifeThisWeek.com. Also, there is the article which started Barbara and my whole conversation about being safe at home; that is, her “Three Ways for Having a Safe Home.”
We are getting close to Thanksgiving time. I don’t know about you, but there’s just a little anxiety for conversations that are going to be around that table. You know what I mean, right? Everyone has their own opinion about stuff, and the world has gone crazy. Everyone has an opinion!—
Keith: Even me!
Michelle: Even Keith.
Keith: That’s right.
Michelle: —in case you didn’t realize that.
Well, we are going to talk with Darrell Harrison next week. He is going to coach us through how to have a civil discourse around that Thanksgiving table: how to love our family members well and how to have a conversation that is enlightening, encouraging, and might even put a smile on your face. I hope you can join us for that.
Thanks for listening. I want to thank the president of FamilyLife®, David Robbins, along with our station partners around the country. And a big “Thank you!” to our engineer today, Keith Lynch. Thanks to our producer, Marques Holt. Justin Adams is our mastering engineer, and Megan Martin is our production coordinator.
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