The rain is coming down in our corner of the Pacific Northwest. I look out at the steady downpour, at the bare trees outlined softly against the gray sky. Inside our warm house, I pause to thank God for the sound of my children’s voices, the heat gusting from the vent, the lamps glowing softly against the gloom outside. I am blessed.

Every once in a while on a day like today I catch a glimpse of a young person outside and I am swept back to my own teen years with too much time on my hands and no one at home.

I remember those years. I remember walking down streets and being on the outside looking in; seeing families through the windows of a house, laughing and talking. I remember.

I remember the loneliness of a world where parents began believing in the lie that quality time was more important than quantity time, where teachers asked us to call them by their first name, where the superintendent of schools got drunk at my neighbors wedding.

I remember wishing that someone would take charge, that someone (anyone) would care enough to say, “No” and “I want you home by ten p.m.”

We were the first generation of “latch-key” children. They gave us a name and reassured themselves that it was good for us to learn independence but it was really parental abdication. It was awful.

I sit here in my warm house full of the sounds of life and I think about those children who are longing for a home. They fill the dorm rooms, the coffee shops and, yes, the streets. They are full of bluster and talk about their “freedom” but, inside, they long for someone who will wait for them to come home; who will welcome them in.

I strive to encourage Christian women in the challenging task of creating a home; because it doesn’t stop with our family, there is something far greater at stake. Perhaps your home and mine will be a little reflection of the one we will live in some day. May we welcome them in.

“In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.” John 14:2