It was the middle of the night. As the lightning flashed and the thunder boomed, I heard another noise -- the nearly silent gliding of little feet. I raised my head off my pillow just enough to see the silhouette of my younger daughter standing hesitantly at the foot of my bed, trying to decide whether to wake mom up.
I waved my hand to tell her it was OK, and she climbed into bed with me, curled up in a scared little ball and rested her head on my shoulder. We laid there until the worst of the storm was over, then I sent her back to bed.
My kids will tell you that I'm not a big fan of having my sleep disturbed. They know that unless they are puking or bleeding or the house is on fire, there's not a lot of sympathy to be had from mom in the middle of the night.
But thunderstorms are different. I don't like them either. I understand the desire to have someone hold you tight as the storm rages, but my kids know that they will end up back in their own beds once the storm has passed.
It strikes me this morning that parenting our kids is a lot like seeing them through a middle-of-the-night thunderstorm. When tough things happen, our love provides a safe shelter for them. Then, we send them back out to face the world when the storm has passed.
Don't underestimate the importance of your home and your family being a refuge from the world for your kids. God is the ultimate refuge. He shelters us under His arms. Psalm 31:20 says, "In the shelter of your presence you hide them from all human intrigues; you keep them safe in your dwelling from accusing tongues." God shelters us from the hurts and the intrigues of others. He's the perfect example of what our homes should be like for our kids.
When storms rage in our kids' lives, they need a place to shelter. They need a place where they know they are loved. They need a place that's safe. Home needs to be that place for them. It needs to be a place where they can refresh their weary bodies and souls. It needs to be a place where love flows unconditionally. It needs to be a refuge.
We need to be intentional about creating homes that provide shelter and refuge for our kids. We need to make our homes a pleasant place where our kids know they can be refreshed and renewed. Is your home a refuge?