Why home is a good place


Asthma attacks and pneumonia had us at the doctor’s office a lot the past two weeks.

The nurse asks the standard questions directly to Hope.

“How are you feeling today, Hope?”, “Are you breathing better?”, “Does anything hurt?”

And then comes the question that I hold my breath for because I never know what’s going to come out of my little girl’s mouth.

“Hope? Is home a good place?”

“Wellllll,” she says thoughtfully.

“I didn’t like…”

She pauses. We wait. Oh boy, I’m thinking.

“I didn’t like the new rug on the stairs,” she says finally. “I wanted to go back to the hotel because I don’t like… I don’t like the rug … on the stairs now.” She hunches her shoulders.

“We lived in a hotel while the house was being deleaded this summer. They put a dull gray carpet on the stairs and Hope is none too pleased.” I explain.

“Oh,” says the nurse.

“But Hope, besides that, is home a good place?”

“Welllllll,” she says thoughtfully.

I roll my eyes.

“God comes down to our house. But we’re… we’re going to go to His house. And it’s better than our house.”

I grin at the nurse. Got that?


Later I thought about Hope’s words. I knew she was talking about heaven when she said that we were going to His house and it’s better than ours. We had a conversation about it once, but I didn’t know she’d remembered. But the part that got me, the part that she and I had never discussed is that “God comes down to our house.”

It reminds me of the Old Testament story where God tells Moses that he wants to save the Israelite slaves out of Egypt. He says, “I have surely seen their affliction… and have heard their cry… for I know their sorrows; And I am come down to deliver them…” (Exodus 3:7). I think it’s a foreshadowing of God in human flesh – the Savior – come down to deliver. He could have chilled in heaven and waved His pinky finger to perform the rescue, but instead He came down to do it.

This house is never as clean as I want it. Not even close. There is spilled juice on the floor, dishes in the sink, butter on the alarm keypad and laundry piled to the ceiling. And I’m so glad the walls don’t speak of things said and done within. The thought of the Most High God loving us so much as to come into this space and invade our homes and hearts is mind-boggling. Makes me embarrassed and grateful all at once.

Because we greatly need the joy of His deliverance, the comfort of His presence. Every moment.


At bedtime, Hope prays the same prayer: “Please let Daddy have a good day at Iraq. A-ah-men.”

“I have heard their cry: And I am come down…”


Rhema’s agitation is expressed through midnight antics. She strips, she shrieks, she turns on the light, she pounds the floor and kicks the door. Her brain cannot, will not slow down. But then finally, in the early morning, she settles into rest.

“I have surely seen their affliction; And I am come down…”

. .

Lonely nights give way to hectic mornings, and I check myself, and the ache is still there. It’s another long day and Hope is whining and I’m PMS-ing and I don’t know what to cook for their gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soy-free dinner.  And Rhema is out of sorts again, doing the limp noodle on the stairs, and I bend over and try to lift her. She head butts me, and the pain is blinding, and I think I can’t take it anymore.

“For I know their sorrows; And I am come down…”


Via skype, the husband and I talk over hard things – from MMR shots to moving details to us – all over a bad connection.

But He sees, He hears, He knows.

So we pray, because we don’t know what to do.


And God comes down to our house.


16 thoughts on “Why home is a good place

  1. So much in common, once again — the pneumonia (Rose), the blinding-pain injuries (courtesy of Joy’s teeth or feet), the mess of the house, the PMS. And God’s amazing presence.

  2. “This house is never as clean as I want it. Not even close. There is spilled juice on the floor, dishes in the sink, butter on the alarm keypad and laundry piled to the ceiling. And I’m so glad the walls don’t speak of things said and done within.”

    Hey umm ya been looking through my windows? I hope it all gets better soon and that Brandon returns safely and swiftly very soon. That you don’t have to move.



  3. Wow, ‘is home a good place’ is a standard question? That seems… invasive. Sheesh!

    I don’t know anyone who doesn’t feel the same as you do about the cleanliness, the imperfection… 🙂 Life is just so messy!

    • yeah, i’m not crazy about the question either. sometimes they ask ‘is home a safe place?’ i understand the need to ask, but can’t help feeling weird about it. and the other day when the nurse persisted in asking Hope the question twice, i thought, wow, Hope and i must look really bad today!

      • I can only imagine the horrible things I would have said as a kid that might have inadvertently gotten my parents in trouble. I mean, don’t all kids think that various parental rules are a kind of abuse at some point? 😉

        I still remember my sister going out into our rural backyard after a silly argument with my mother, and yelling just to let off steam. A neighbor called the police and the policeman just did not want to believe my embarrassed (12 year old) sister that she had just been yelling because she thought it was a good way to vent. (I can only imagine the sound must have carried around the mountain valley, as our nearest neighbors were not so close by at all.)

  4. I feel your weariness, I feel your sorrow. My socks are sticking to the floor in the kitchen and I only have enough energy to call the dog over and hope she will lick the floor…

  5. I’m torn…

    I am so thankful for Hope’s responses that testify to Truth. I’m so thankful for a wife and mother who teaches my daughter the truly valuable. I’m so thankful for the gift of a very verbal daughter who lights up a room with her responses.


    Sitting where I am sitting right now and doing what I’m doing right now as I type, I can’t help but be disturbed by the question…and the second question. Since I’ll be home shortly, I will get to be at the next appointment and make sure the inappropriate is not asked.

  6. I have to agree. I don’t know if I’ve ever had any of my kids asked that question. Sure they look for bruising, etc but explain it as ensuring they’re developing normally with the expected fall bruising…other than that….never. Ever. Strange. Then again, J doesn’t articulate much (so they wouldn’t ask); my 3 year old (who’s really 5) might have an answer this year; my 2 year old…is 2…and a boy…and might not even decide to acknowledge the question.

    I love her answers though. As always your writing is beautiful and inspiring.

    And some time I’d like to talk with you about Rhema’s LKS. Do you know what percentage of spike and waves she’s at during her sleep (laughable, I know…I should say, during the time she’s supposed to sleep but doesn’t because her brain refuses to allow her that one little bit of respite).

  7. Thank you Jeneil for always illuminating truth! I’m hip deep in Exodus right now with Beth Moore’s Tabernacle study. He does come down and by Chapter 16 in the wilderness He leads them with the pillar of cloud. They must simply get up out of the tent into the Light to gather his provision and grace in the form of manna. That Bread of Heaven was given according to need–and there was always enough–as there is for you, my dear head-bonked sister…i’m forwarding this to my group:)

  8. We’ve never had that question posed to us – I think I’d bristle, though I suppose I understand why it’s asked. I love where you and Hope went with it.

  9. I’m so thankful that He dwells in our undone homes and hearts.
    My guy obsesses about heaven and I’m sure that we’ve given a few people a scare when he says, jumping up and down,”I can’t wait to go to heaven” in a “we’re headed there right after we do the grocery shopping” kind of voice!

    P.S. GFCF pancakes (can be made with ground flax soaked in water to replace the eggs as a binder) have been a lifesaver supper at times.

  10. And God comes down… to do what he came to do… make his dwelling among us.

    He’s come down upon me this week; I’ve never needed him more. The ramifications of my chemo are kicking in, and I’ve never known such anguish. I’ve clung closely to the cross of Christ and reminded him of his promises to help me, heal me, carry me, be with me.

    He’s been right here…

    Please be assured that on my sick bed, I’m thinking of all my friends both far and near, who are walking their own roads of suffering and pain. You have surely been close to my heart.

    I love you, sister.


  11. Lexi says, “Tomorrow is always fresh with no mistakes in it!” Also, I pray that Hope will feel better and please keep teaching her about the Lord. We are with you everyday, we hope you feel better.

    Jenee says, We’ve had that question and in a general sense really appreciate their asking. You and Hope were awesome, this post is so transparent and awesome, thank you for contributing to the healing of all of us through your stories of God’s mercy and grace!

  12. I am de-lurking to respond to those who are uncomfortable with the question. Bless the nurse for asking! This was a lovely, age-appropriate way to talk to a child. She is helping to teach Hope that she has a voice in her own health care – and you can bet she knows how to distinguish children’s goofy and wondrous replies from signs of distress. So many times, when we hear of an abused child, we wonder, “Why didn’t someone see the signs? Why didn’t they do anything?” Well, this is one way that “they” see the signs. Our momentary discomfort as parents and guardians is a small price to pay for the vigilance of teachers and health care providers over the mental and physical health of ALL our children. Indeed, through these servants, God comes down to take care of all his children.

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