Sanctuary is such a beautiful word if you pause and really ponder it.

{A refuge and place of safety.}

A term most recognized when referring to a church, synagogue, or nature reserve.

I would like to give voice to another kind of sanctuary~ Home.

{The place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household.}

Sanctuary and Home aren’t synonymous without preparation and intention. SO many things vie for our time and attention and choosing well certainly sets the tone for Sanctuary OR Storms. Rhythm, procedures, and routine contribute greatly to the climate of our homes too.

Proverbs 24:3-4 ESV
By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.


4 Steps to Creating Sanctuary in Your Home~


H: Honor Each Other {Psalm 28:7}

One of the most important parts of building a home and ensuring sanctuary is Respect and Honor. It starts from top and sprinkles downward. Scott and I make it point each morning to get up before the children and spend time reading our Bibles and praying. It is here we gain our strength and portion needed for this one day. It is sometimes the most beautiful time of the day especially if you see the sun rising up to greet the day! That is NOT to say we won’t make mistakes or always make wise choices or never get angry with our kids but our chances for honor are greater if we start with Jesus and let Him lead us.

Honor begins with our tone as a couple and lavishes onto our children who are always watching/hearing/taking it all in. There is nothing more convicting than hearing your words come spouting out of my child and realize how great my example radiates.  Right then I repent and start over pouring grace and mercy over each one, binding up the wounding words I may have spat over them earlier. If you can’ say something nice, then don’t say anything at all. Ummm yeah, you too mama. It is sometimes easier to just bark orders and rush kids through routines but it not how Jesus honors us. He is patient, kind, loving, and gentle. THAT is my example and I should take heart.

The number one way {I learned in college} to urge children to listen to your words without shouting or belittling is Use I Messages~ Say things in first person giving them the thought of what you WANT them to do as well as the Why (which is exactly the opposite of what we often do).

Let me give you some examples…

“I need you to eat your breakfast so your belly will be full and happy.” instead of “Stop talking and get eating!”

“I need you to walk in the house so you don’t fall and get hurt.” instead of “Stop running or you’re going to fall and crack your head!”

Tone makes all the difference. Speak in hushed, quiet tones instead of loud, high tones. It goes a LONG way. Still don’t know for sure? Ask yourself how you like to be spoken to… I’ll choose the former and it most often brings the results needed for the moment.

Honor means treating others the way you want to be treated.


O: Orderliness {Romans 12:22}

Orderliness to me means having procedures and routines in order so our families know what to expect. A calendar showing dates and appointments is an easy way for families to see what is ahead on any given day and preparing children for those things, makes a world of difference. Chaos often ensues if a child is thrown into a situation they didn’t know was coming. Prepare children of the schedule and help them cope with the time frame.

Meals are one of the most important events in a family’s life each day and it is most often enjoyed in the heart of our home. Sitting down as a family group as often as possible can certainly encourage Sanctuary because everyone is together enjoying wonderful food and conversation (even with a baby in the mix!). Eating at the same times each day further helps children stay in a routine and in turn gives them a sense of security. When children are fed and feel secure, they are more likely to take ownership of the climate of our homes and rise to the occasion.

Having certain ways of doing things {Procedures} that are predictable is just one more way of keeping order at the forefront of creating Sanctuary. When we make meals, because our children are small, we fix their plates as they tell us what they would like to eat. It is predictable for them as it is how we do it always. There is no guessing. Everyone sits down to a meal they helped choose and we create more chance for peaceful eating because of the procedure. Others might include making your bed when you rise, brushing after the meal, leaving your shoes out in the garage before entering the house, or picking up toys around the family room before rest… you get the idea.

Orderliness means creating procedures and routines predictable to children helping to make their home a place of safety {Sanctuary}.


M: Mercy {Matthew 5:7}

We ALL make mistakes and wish we hadn’t made certain choices. Even as adults we have those regrets but Jesus always has mercy on us and forgives if we ask. The same is true for our spouses and children if we really want a sanctimonious home. IF our children pour all the hand sanitizer down the drain and fills the bottle with water, we have a choice of how we can handle the BEHAVIOR. It is not the child we are to redirect… it is the behavior. Our words can redirect or wreck just in the way we use them.

Giving Mercy in the midst of a bad choice can make or break our child’s spirit. I don’t claim to always make the wise choice in this situation. I do have times when I am tired and words pour out that tear down instead of build up which turns into my problem not their’s. It is critical we confront the behavior giving our children a reason WHY it wasn’t a good choice and giving them mercy to make a better one next time. Again, isn’t that what we hope in Jesus each time we make a bad choice? I sure do!!!

Mercy is compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm. 


E: Excellence {Colossians 3:23}

Excellence is a very high standard but if you don’t shoot for it, you will always settle for mediocre. When I taught school, it was critical I expected the best in my students and they usually rose to the occasion. It is called the Self-Fulfilling Prophesy meaning a child will meet the exact expecations we have for them. If you think they are little brats, they will surely prove you correct. If you think your older children are self serving, you will certainly get that exact attitude. Children believe themselves to be whom you think them to be.

Our expectations have much to do with how our Home will feel. Striving for Excellence does not mean perfection in the least. There is only one perfect One and we are NOT Him. We set the bar and encourage our children (and ourselves) to be the best God made us to be… {thanks Brian Holland for this great life truth!}. Galatians  6:4,  “Let  everyone  be  sure  to  do  his  very  best,  for  then  he  will  have  the  personal  satisfaction  of  work  done  well  and  won’t  need  to  compare  himself  with  someone  else.”  (LB) 

The excellence I am describing is not one accomplished in comparing ourselves to others… it is one that comes from inside because of our example, Jesus. We are to spend our whole lives becoming more like Him. I often ask myself and my children if we are being Jesus… meaning are we sharing our most excellent selves. It is very much a high bar to set but one that is critical to Sanctuary.

Excellence is the quality of excelling; possessing good qualities in high degree.


Home: {The place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household.}


Home with my Parents: Our first impressions of home come from our beginning. I was SO very blessed to be raised in home filled with love, care, and security. Back in my day there was a very healthy dose of respect and fear of our parents and we DID just that. If we were meeting expectations, our home was more likely to be harmonious. I think my first realization of just how amazing Home felt was going away to college and longing to be back with my familiar and safe haven. Turning the curve at the top of my road and seeing my house was the best feeling and I was thankful for the love found there. I’m thankful to my mom and dad for giving me a HOME to come back to… even now as an adult.

Home with my Children: The first time I realized just how precious Home was as a married adult was bringing Savannah, Amelia, and Rosemary home from the hospital. Strapping that tiny baby into that humongous carseat and praying we made it home safely was a scary moment. Once we pulled into the garage, Home was Sanctuary where they would be cherished, loved, and protected.

THEN we went to China to bring home our children who had experienced their HOME ripped away from them. Can you even imagine the damage and trauma that caused? It has effects for years and maybe even into adulthood. I have yet to live it with them but it is ALL the more important for me to strive for Honor, Orderliness, Mercy, and Excellence. It is with them Intention becomes the most important part of creating Sanctuary for them. I have to model and show so much more to them that came completely natural to our big girls. I don’t take this responsibility lightly and pray about it every single day. Make me the mom my children need to lead them straight to You Jesus!!!

Home with Jesus: This world is NOT our Home so it will never meet all our expectations. We will always have a longing feeling until we meet in Heaven. We have SO much to look forward to and live for. 2 Corinthians 5:1: For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. NLT. What a beautiful promise!!!


You may your own ways of creating Sanctuary and I would LOVE to hear about them! Please leave a comment.


And don’t forget if you have a Story to Share about adoption, family, home, or homeschooling, please click the button and write! I would love to share a story a week if someone feels led. Blessings to all!

In closing, Home is not where I set my feet or the building I walk in to…

Family Photo

it is the people I share life and love with. THEY are my Home and I will cherish this life with them creating as much Sanctuary as we can this side of Heaven! I love you all!!!