Book Review: The Life Giving Home
Title: The Life Giving Home: Creating a Place of Belonging & Becoming
Authors: Sally and Sarah Clarkson
Number of Pages: 272
I first discovered Sally Clarkson’s ministry to moms when my oldest son was not yet a year old. I found her encouragement, positivity towards motherhood, her love for the Lord, Godly insights and her writing style refreshing. Last year, I read her daughter (Sarah’s) recent book “Storyformed” and fell in love with her artistic writing style and inspiring words. When I heard both Sally and Sarah were coming out with a book together, I immediately pre-ordered and excitedly awaited its arrival. It did not disappoint. This book has been a huge inspiration to my mothering, wife-ing, friend-ing and everyday living.
“Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.” (Psalm 127:1). It begins and continues with this – the Lord, His word, the huge importance of His People.
The title of the book is the perfect summary: this beautiful book is aimed at setting before its audience a vision for why home is important, how to create a life-giving home and a place where both your children, and all those who enter your home, might feel a sense of belonging and be helped along in their life journey. The book is arranged so the first 40 pages are dedicated to some “Thoughts on Home” and gives a backdrop for their convictions on the importance of home and creating a “launching pad”, a “training ground” and a “safe haven” for the children we are entrusted with (as well as those who providentially pass through our lives and homes throughout life). The remainder of the book is organized by months of the year and the two authors alternate writing the chapters from their differing perspectives (mother and daughter). Each month has a particular emphasis or theme, based on the seasons, holidays or general life rhythms often associated with that month.
The book is motivating in the picture it paints of what we women (and families) can be as we assume a humble, loving, self-sacrificing role serving the needs of our family, our children and the hurting world around us. At times, home can feel chaotic, noisy, mundane, routine and monotonous but Sarah and Sally do a wonderful job putting into words the meaning and importance behind even the messy and mundane moments while inspiring the reader to work to craft and transform even the hard and routine days into something beautiful, lasting and meaningful. As one reflects on their words and the picture of home they paint, it becomes apparent just how important this often overlooked role is and how being faithful with what is set before you can be transformative for a baby, a child, a teenager, your family, your community and the world around us.
The tenderness with which Sally reflects on her years raising her four children (now adults), draws one currently in the midst of it into the reality of the importance of the work at hand. One of (many!) underlined quotes:
“In a culture that often views a child in terms of the expense in time and money he will cost in his lifetime, how important it is to intentionally recognize the infinite value of a tiny human being, created with the very imprint and image of God on his life, and to understand that this little one’s life will have consequences for eternity….It was as if Jesus whispered this into my heart when I was a young mama: ‘This child, whom I created, has special significance to Me. Will you take this child for My sake and show her the touch of the love of God, whisper the message and truth of Scripture, teach her to have the character of Christ in living and serving with integrity, and show her how to give her life to a world that is longing for redemption? Will you raise this precious gift I have given you for Me, as an act of worship?’ Children are the adults of the next generation, and so our love, education, training and modeling of all that is valuable in life will indeed shape the history of the next adult generation.”
And also, ““Adopting the attitude that every arrival at my door is a divine appointment for me to care for others, to understand and listen to them and to serve them a cup of cold water in Jesus’ name, changes the way I see both my home and those who come into it. When I see my home as a source of life to be extended to all who enter, I will put aside my own responsibilities in favor of doing the ministry of home. I will be committed to the well being of all those who enter.”
Ladies, what we are doing has huge significance!
Reading this book will help frame your mission and vision of what home can and should look like, it will encourage you as you struggle in the trenches of motherhood, it will put words and meaning to the work you are doing day in and day out, and will give practical, real life examples and ideas for cultivating your home.
Read and be inspired in the work you are doing – it is more meaningful than we realize!
“God grant that my home be such a shelter, a refuge whose windows are alight in welcome, drawing the lonely and wandering in from the cold (Clarkson).”