Well, I haven’t blogged in a while…in more than two weeks!!! And I’ll tell you why: we have bought and moved into a new home! Life has been a crazy whirlwind of selling our house in Arkie-land, buying a house in AZ, boxing up our stuff, cleaning our apartment, moving into our house, changing schools, and unpacking.
I’m about 85% done with unpacking. It has been a crazy, but great couple of weeks.
In all of this, I’ve been thinking a lot about my role as a home-maker. I know that being a home-maker is more than making dinners and doing the dishes. My main concern in making our home is to create an atmosphere that is like the temple.
I have known that our homes should be like temples – logically – for a long time. Yet, there is a big difference between the temple and a regular old house. My home will never be as clean as the temple, and if it was humanly possible for me to get it that way (with four kids), I’m pretty sure that I’d be yelling and cleaning so much the Spirit would be long gone. (Which then is nothing like the temple). In knowing that our homes must be a temple, I realized that we don’t need to replicate the temple exactly, but the spirit of the temple needs to be replicated in our homes.
I came across this scripture, several years ago, that helped me to know exactly what I needed and wanted to do as a mother trying to create a home/temple for my family.
“And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and a covert from storm and from rain.” – 2 Nephi 14:6
One – The Tabernacle – The tabernacle was the ancient temple. So, the comparison between the tabernacle and the home (and the temple) is good. I can apply this scripture to my home.
Two – a Shadow in the Daytime – In the desert it is difficult to find shade. When you can find shade, you flock to it. The difference between perceived temperature in the sun and shade is significant. Here in the desert, the sun is relentless. During the hottest time of the day (and especially in the hottest time of the year), if you are outside, you will seek out shade. You will seek out it’s relief.
The temple can offer similar protection and relief. Years ago, when I was a single mother, I often felt overwhelmed by my duties and expectations – and that I had to do these things alone. Thankfully, I had been prompted and chose to follow the prompting to go to the temple often. Every month, I made the trek from southeastern PA to Washington, D.C. where I attended the temple. Even when life felt like a flurry of responsibilities and expectations that I couldn’t live up to, I felt relieved and rejuvenated by going to the temple – much like the shelter of shade can relieve and rejuvenate a weary desert dweller.
I have come to realize that this is exactly what I want my home to be like. I want it to be a cover from the relentless heat of the world that will allow my family to relax and feel comforted. As a mother, I don’t need to be overly critical of my husband and children. I can be loving, kind, and accepting. Of course, I want them to all be better people. Of course, I am especially teaching my children to be better people, which may mean gentle correction. But I don’t need to be relentless like the sun – like so much of the world is. I can create a nurturing environment in the home that helps my children feel comfort, rather than causing them to cower and search for relief.
Three – A Place of Refuge – Refuge is defined as shelter or protection from danger.
Of course the temple is a place of refuge. In the temple, not only do we feel safe, but when we make and keep our covenants in the temple, then we are blessed with more protection and tools to be protected from sin and the influence of the adversary.
Our homes also need to be a place of refuge. They need to be a place of shelter or protection from danger. I need to be careful. I need to make sure that I’m safeguarding my home from the influences of danger that surround us. Additionally, I need to make sure that I’m not a source of danger for my children or husband! I need to watch what I think, say, and do so that they feel safety and peace rather than fear and contention in this home.
Four – A Covert from Storm and Rain – This is closely related to being a place of refuge; however, covert has a little bit of a different connotation. In my mind, it seems to be like a covering or even a hiding place. This is when the storms are raging around us – when we need to be especially protected.
Here in AZ, we experience the summer monsoon – which is a very dramatic thunderstorm. However, the best way I learned about “coverts” was when I lived in Arkie-land – in tornado alley. During tornado warnings, (which always seemed to happen at like 1 AM…) we would gather up our family and 72 hour kits, and run into our safe spot – a hiding place – where we would ride out the storm. For us, our safe spot was in our basement bathroom – which had no exterior walls. There, we would wait until the threat had passed before finally emerging.
Temples are also a covert from the raging storm. Again, this is similar to the refuge discussed earlier, but the covert implies a stronger protection from a more violent source. When we go to the temple, we can be guided, and empowered. As we attend faithfully, the Lord will strengthen us as we endure our most difficult trials. I know that the temple has saved my life, and that even when I was surrounded by evil influences, I was protected thanks to regular temple attendance.
Of course, we can’t sit around in the temples all the time and be protected from the raging storms of our lives. So, we need our homes to fill this same purpose. As a mother, I can create a “safe spot” that my family will be able to run to when the proverbial tornado siren begins to sound. If I am consistently creating a place that is both a shadow and refuge, then my family will know where they can go for safety when life is particularly difficult. I need to be consistent and strong, built on a good foundation – just as the safe-spot in a house is consistent and strong, relying on a sure foundation – to help my family ride out the particularly difficult storms of life.
I am truly grateful for the chance I have to be a mother. I am grateful to be a home-maker. I’m especially grateful for the charge and blessing it is to create in my home a place that is like the temple. I am grateful for the scriptures that help me to understand the duty I have to make my home into a temple – that help me to understand what a temple is and what my home should also be.
How have you come to understand the connection between home and temple?