When I was a young parent (well not so young but let’s say a new parent) I scoured books searching for parenting tips and techniques. I can remember once reading something to the effect that “by now you should recognize your baby’s cry” and thinking, “Oh no! I have no idea what he’s crying for when he cries. I must be a terrible mother!” As time went by, however, I gained my own sense of mothering and by the birth of my third son had made enough decisions to be comfortable in my own “mothering” skin.
Nonetheless, as my boys grew older I would still, on occasion, find myself in the middle of a situation where my gut said one thing, my heart said another, and the books all had their own diverse opinions. One of these issues was the space my children called their “bedrooms.” Specifically I wondered to whom did the space justly belong. Was it mine because I cleaned it and helped earn the family income that both furnished it and kept it warm in the winter and cool in the summer? Was it theirs because they were special creatures who needed their own “space” as an affirmation of their special-ness? And if it was mine, could I rightfully impose my rules of cleanliness and hygiene upon said space or was I supposed to allow them their “freedom?” If it was theirs could I still impose my rules of cleanliness and hygiene at the risk of causing them permanent damage because they had nothing to call “their own?”
Truthfully, I wanted to know that regardless of whose room it was, I could impose my rules of cleanliness and hygiene. Once the boys were all teenagers this became a paramount concern of mine. Ultimately I decided, all on my own, that the room was mine in all connotations the word could take on. I owned it, I imposed rules upon it, and yet I was still a loving and caring mother to allow my children to occupy its space.
When Christ tells us that he is preparing a room for us in His Father’s house he is, in a heavenly sense, providing that same thing we loving provide our own children: shelter against the elements, protection from the world, comfort in times of distress, and peace for our souls. When we reside in His home, in the rooms prepared for us, we will know that they are His and only by His graces are they offered to us and do we occupy them. Indeed, it is His house, His rooms, and in His generosity that we will have a space to spend eternity. And somehow I am sure that all the rooms will be spotless!