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A more generous view of home

From the July 27, 2020 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

One night over thirty years ago, I opened my door to see my daughter and her three small children standing there, bags in hand, asking to be taken in. 

I must say that my heart leaped for joy as I realized she had finally broken free from a marriage that had been difficult from the start. She had stayed with it as long as there was any hope, and now the husband had left. It seemed harsh at the time but would prove to be a blessing.

Of course, my husband and I were happy to welcome our daughter and grandchildren. Yet it was a challenge having three youngsters underfoot when my own children were now grown and on their own. Because my daughter had a full-time job, the children were with me many hours each day. I saw them off to school in the morning and was there when they came home in the afternoon. And there was the extra cooking and all the other demands that living with four additional people brought. 

Previously, my life had been pleasantly busy. I was happy doing what I loved. My days were fully occupied with my work as a Christian Science practitioner, plus church work and day-to-day household activities. That all continued unabated, but now included the added duties. Soon a sense of burden began to creep in, along with the feeling that my house and life were overcrowded. And there was no apparent end in sight; this could stretch on for years.

The first morning after they moved in, I drove the children to two different locations to get them settled in their new schools. When I came home, a patient called to ask for an appointment that afternoon, and I agreed. I popped a turkey into the oven in the morning, and at dinner that evening, the oldest boy remarked, “This is like Thanksgiving!” That made me smile and gave me a sense that the children were feeling happy and loved in their new surroundings.

But with this new arrangement, I felt for the first time that I needed to pray about the concept of home. Being a military family, we had lived in many different places and had always felt comfortable wherever we were. Now, though, I realized that I had taken home for granted. I began to see the need for specific prayer to gain a clearer sense of what true home is—a more spiritual sense. 

I began to see the need for specific prayer to gain a clearer sense of what true home is—a more spiritual sense.

The Bible says, “All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). I fully accepted this as the truth about God’s creation. I knew it meant good for all, because God, who is infinite good, blesses all of His children impartially. I prayerfully acknowledged that the kingdom of God is present now, so there is no place for anything unlike God. Therefore, I could let go of any thoughts about being burdened or crowded. I saw that they were false suggestions that did not come from God, who meets all needs abundantly.

The ninety-first Psalm was also a great source of strength to me. One Wednesday night at a testimony meeting at our branch Church of Christ, Scientist, a visitor told of her family’s experience when some troublesome neighbors moved in next door. She said she prayed with this verse: “There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling” (Psalms 91:10). As it happened, a job transfer came up for them, and they were freed from that distressing situation. 

Although I certainly didn’t feel that a plague had come nigh my dwelling, I was not happy with our uncomfortable, unsettled situation. However, I was sure that this woman’s solution would not be ours. We were not about to move. With my husband now retired from the military, we were at last settled where we wanted to be. We were in our “forever home,” so to speak. It was a home we loved and had maintained even while living in another state. And our church was within easy walking distance, which was one reason we had bought the house. No doubt about it—we would certainly not be moving. There would have to be another answer for us.

During this busy time, I received a call from my Christian Science students’ association asking if I would take on the position of secretary-treasurer. It was a job I felt qualified for and wanted to do, but at that moment I didn’t see how I could handle any extra work. So with some disappointment, I said no. Later, though, I had a strong intuition that it was right for me to accept this appointment, regardless of how little free time I had. 

In Christian Science, we learn that we are always dealing with thoughts and ideas, and that a right idea comes from God and carries within itself all that is necessary to fulfill it. In Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, Mary Baker Eddy writes, “God gives you His spiritual ideas, and in turn, they give you daily supplies” (p. 307). 

What had seemed difficult at first became the impetus for gaining a more abundant sense of home.

I called back to say I would indeed take the position. I held that position for 19 years, until the association disbanded. It was such a joy and privilege to serve in that capacity, and I can’t imagine not having done it.

It was a few months later that an ad appeared in The Christian Science Monitor for a job that seemed tailor-made for my husband. It came to me that this was the answer to our prayers and would be a blessing to all. The job would require us to relocate, but at that moment there was no longer any thought of needing or even wanting to stay right where we were. There was just the joy of knowing that this was answered prayer.

Now my husband was completely satisfied with the job he already had. But when he saw this ad, he thought he should at least go for an interview. We were both present at the interview, and when it was over, we knew immediately that it was right for him to take the job. 

He was hired, and within two months we had moved to another state and were all settled in for what turned out to be seven years of a wonderful experience that I would never have thought possible. I met people and did things that I would not have wanted to miss. I went from a feeling of being cramped and overcrowded to living in a mansion—it was an apartment in that mansion, but a spacious one. And the outside was spacious, too—eight acres within city limits.

This move was much more than a change of physical location. Along the way, many lessons were learned that nurtured a growing understanding of God, good, as being All-in-all and meeting every need.

In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mrs. Eddy says, “… even if you cling to a sense of personal joys, spiritual Love will force you to accept what best promotes your growth” (p. 266). That was what happened in my case. Before my daughter and grandchildren arrived, I had settled into a comfortable routine, content with the status quo, almost like resting on a plateau. So what had seemed difficult at first became the impetus for gaining a more abundant sense of home, of knowing that we really do “live, and move, and have our being” in God, as Acts 17:28 tells us. This understanding of God is our true “forever home.”

After my husband and I moved, our daughter and the children continued to live in our house, where they remained until we returned seven years later. During that time our daughter met and married a man who was eager to adopt the children, and he has been a devoted husband and father all these years since.

Just over a year ago, I received a most unexpected blessing from this experience. My youngest grandson, who was five or six years old when this experience began, gave me a very generous Christmas gift. When I protested that it was too much, he surprised me by replying, “No, I remember how much you and Grandpa did for our family.” It was so touching to hear that he was aware of and grateful for that period. It was a very precious Christmas gift for me, perhaps the best I have ever received.

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