I grew up in a middle class home, complete with two parents and a dog. Home meant safety, enough food and plenty of love. My parents held to the adage that good fences made for good neighbors, so we had high fences and polite neighbors.
A single family detached home seemed to be the ideal. Everyone in the suburbs wanted one. Raised to crave space and safety I dreamed of my own home someday filled with good things – love, books, plenty of food and a comfortable bed.
Somewhere in my 30s I became a wife, homeowner and then a mother. Our home included love, books, food, beds and babies all safe behind our locked doors and child-proof cabinets.
Eventually we moved to Burundi, homeland for my husband, children and the larger side of my family. In order to pursue our work we’d need help from our African aunties to watch the children during long days and frequent weekends. But they lived in Mutakura, a poor neighborhood, a precarious place for my young children to be playing.
I struggled with the notion of my children spending so much time in an unsafe environment. I thought of the poor sanitation and people so poor that maybe they’d steal the clothes off my kids backs or shoes off their feet. I feared kidnapping or other abuses they could suffer in a neighborhood crowded with impoverished, uneducated and unclean people.
I wanted my children to be safe at home. And my concept of home included an understanding of safety foreign to so many in the world. I wanted them behind a high fence to ward off any contact with danger.
But in what must have been the gentle nudge of the Spirit, I let my children go to Mutakura in the care of their beloved aunties. If God cared for the families of that community, and I believed that He did, then He’d care for my children among them. So I let them play, eat and sleep there. Among a gaggle of cousins and friends, playing with a soccer ball made of rags, my kids made this their second home.
Read the rest over at SheLoves Magazine today, where we’re exploring the theme of HOME this month.