Book Information – The Lifegiving Home: Creating a Place of Belonging & Becoming
Authors – Sally Clarkson and Sarah Clarkson
Reading Challenge Book? No.
“As I do all of this, I am aware of the Kingdom coming. As I order and hope, fill and form, the Holy Spirit is renewing one more corner of the world. Here, in my room, the fallen stuff of broken earth is being formed back into love, into home.
There’s no place like it.”
– Sarah Clarkson, The Lifegiving Home
It is no exaggeration to say that I have been longing to read this book since I first learned of its impending release. I stalked it on Netgalley to no avail, and finally pounced on release day. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one waiting. Our local Lifeway sold out the day the book was released.
So, was it worth it? Well, the short answer is yes. This book is exactly the sort of resource for homemaking (home culture, really) that I have wanted for many years. There are many good books on there that touch on how to keep an orderly home, a clean home, a well-planned home where your kids won’t run feral, and so on. However, books on the real heart of a Christian home are few and far between.
When I saw that the Clarksons were working on a book about home, I sensed it would be different. I enjoy reading Sally Clarkson’s website. I’ve sadly never been able to make it to a Momheart conference, but her writing has touched me deeply and as I read her work, I think she is the sort of Christian woman I have longed for years to have as a mentor. When she writes of home, family, and motherhood, Clarkson gives practical advice grounded in Scripture and her own experiences, but she also reaches into the heart of what Christian mothering is all about. So, I had a feeling that this book would be one to reach deep into the heart of what homemaking and creating a home culture is truly all about.
I loved seeing that mother and daughter were pairing up to write this book as well. I’ve found so many great book recommendations by following Sarah Clarkson on Goodreads, her Read for the Heart: Whole Books for Wholehearted Families occupies a much-loved space on my resource shelf, and I enjoy seeing the world of imagination she’s building over at Story Warren.
The idea of pairing the mother who has spent years building a strong Christian home for her family and ministering to others seeking to do likewise with one of the daughters who grew up in that home works well. Sally and Sarah Clarkson each have distinctive and very different writing styles, but they complement each other well as one works through the book.
The book opens with several chapters thinking about home in a somewhat theoretical sense. The authors discuss in general terms what makes a home, why the concept of home has such power over us, how this creation of a home here on earth can help point family and guests to the God we worship and adore. It’s inspiring stuff and I felt refreshed reading it. Both authors intersperse their text with anecdotes about home, such as how their home culture played a role during time spent as missionaries in Austria (Sally Clarkson) or helped one discover a renewed awareness of what God intended the rhythms of life and relationship to look like (Sarah Clarkson).
From these opening chapters, the authors then walk us through a year of different home-related themes. Each month has its own area for readers to focus on, from delighting in the ordinary to passing on a heritage of faith to showing gratitude and generosity. The various chapters are packed with wonderful reading.
We get more Clarkson family stories, of course. Readers will also find ideas for incorporating these themes into their own homes. Ideas are presented in a very flexible way, so that readers can work things in according to the needs and personalities of their own families. After all, it is clear from the authors’ tone that they do not view the purpose of home as a place to follow a “one size fits all” list of rules. Instead we are exhorted to strengthen our ties to family and friends and point each other toward Christ.
Books that provide lots of practical advice on homemaking can be very helpful; I’ve enjoyed more than a few. However, The Lifegiving Home reaches deep into the heart issues involved in creating a home. It’s an encouraging, refreshing resource that made me feel inspired to go about my calling as a wife and mother with renewed vision and joy. If you’re looking for encouragement, I highly recommend it.