Monday, May 23, 2016

The Christ-Centered Home

We often think of Jesus' ministry as teaching to the multitudes, feeding the 5,000, teaching in the temples and synagogues, teaching on the mountainside or the seashore. But many of His most personal teachings were done within the walls of a family's home. His followers invited Him into their personal spaces, and He blessed them, healed them, and performed miracles for them.So it is today. When we invite Jesus into our homes, we will also be blessed and healed and see miracles. Best-selling author, Emily Belle Freeman invites readers to create a more Christ-centered home through a series of twelve stories featuring Jesus teaching in the home, including the houses of Zaccheaus, Jarius, and Peter and houses in Galilee, Jerusalem, and Capernaum.Freeman encourages families to experience a Christ-centered conversation, connection, and celebration. She writes, ''Maybe you could set aside one night every month for your family to discuss an attribute of Jesus Christ and a lesson He taught within someone's home. Then you could set a family goal that would allow your family to connect personally with that lesson, and you could end the evening with a simple celebration.'' Invite Christ into your home and allow Him to make your home a home of refuge, grace, and joy.

The Christ-Centered Home by Emily Belle Freeman offers examples of the Savior Jesus Christ’s teachings in homes he visited throughout his mortal ministry. The messages in each chapter are inspiring and accessible to everyone who wants to have more peace, love, and joy in their homes. For me, it was nice to have a reminder on how I can better approach things that I’m already doing to invite the Savior into my home, and a great motivator on things I could do better.

One section that spoke to me was the eighth month, which, by the way, I love that the book separates each thing by month, so instead of trying to make all the changes at once, you do it little by little to grow closer to the Savior. Anyway, month eight focuses on Forget Your Perfect Offering. The story of Jesus is his very first miracle in the New Testament when he changes the water to wine—change being the key word. The whole focus of the chapter is on how we sometimes forget that Christ has the ultimate power to change if we let him, though sometimes we don’t give him the opportunity to do so by the mistaken belief that we have to bring him a perfect offering first.

My favorite quote is one the author includes by Leonard Cohen, “Forget your perfect offering—there’s a crack in everything—that’s how the light gets in.” That resonated with me so powerfully. I have been known to drive my family nuts with my need to be perfect at everything I do—the perfect mother, cook, writer, friend, etc. Inevitably, instead of achieving perfection, things fall apart because I’m asking the impossible of myself and those around me. This message of change reminded me that it’s okay to not be perfect right now. Christ can, if I let him, help change my weaknesses into strengths, little by little.

Sometimes I want more of a life change like that seen in the story of the Apostle Paul. He saw an angel and became a whole new person, seemingly overnight. But then I remind myself that the Apostle Peter’s change was more gradual, but no less powerful. He went from not understanding the Savior’s teachings, to denying him when scared, to serving with unwavering faith and diligence, even to the loss of his own life. Both Paul and Peter experienced mighty changes in their lives, even though they came about in very different ways. I realized that all my endeavors may not be perfect right this moment, but little by little, with a lot of help from Christ, I can get better and one day achieve things that would be impossible on my own.

So, rather than drive my family nuts with my attempts to have a perfect offering right now, I think I and my family will be much happier letting his light in through the cracks that exist in everything we do. Rather than see those gaps as something broken and in need of fixing, I try to now see them as ways to let Him into my life more, to offer my humble and imperfect offering, and know that He loves me and will help me turn those cracks into something wonderful. 

How have the cracks in your life helped you feel the Savior's love?