I love the idea of homemaking. Before I was married decorating small spaces and cooking where two of my interests – along with many traditional homemaking type crafts: sewing, embroidery, knitting, crochet, paper crafts – anything really. Early in our married life I had to use those skills as we lived in farm-workers quarters and then in a caravan. When we rented and then built a house I delighted in finding ways to make it welcoming without spending a lot of money. If I hadn’t become passionate about discipling families I think my blogging would have focused on homemaking. Except for the very intimidating example set before me.
When I read homemaking blogs I see a lot of Victoriana, alternative diet cooking, DIY renovations and upcycling, fresh flowers, soft inviting nooks with gentle lighting, flourishing veggie gardens! Reading these blogs, and comparing them with my heart to be a homemaker has made me think through ‘what does being a homemaker really look like?’ I think it does look like these blogs I read – for those who are writing those blogs – but it doesn’t look like that for me. It may not look like that for you either.
There are two aspects to being a homemaker
- Creating a physical space called ‘home’
- Creating an emotional space of harmony, peace, beauty
Creating a physical space called ‘home’
Peter and I want our home to be a place where our family flourishes. Secondly, we want our home to be a welcoming place for others. These two goals set the purpose of our home, which gives me a context for anything that I do in the physical space – the building – our house.
There are amazing ideas all-around of beautiful homes and we can be lured into thinking that this is what a beautiful home looks like. We can fix our hearts on such-n-such a look, or a certain chair or lamp, but if it doesn’t work towards your ultimate goals, then it is just stuff.
The environment in which you live will also affect how you create a physical home. We live on a farm, in the northwest – this makes for dust, spiders, geckoes, frogs, and heat. All of these affect how my home looks. As I flick through magazines there are some lovely ideas, but it either wouldn’t work or it would be too much work to maintain it. I love full vases of roses and other country flowers, but though roses grow up here, they are hard work, and they don’t last in the vase. Now it’s not that I can’t create a nice nook, or that I can’t have flowers in a vase, it simply means my environment affects the choices I make and I need to be realistic about that.
Another aspect that affects how we work out our goals for our house is the season of life we are in. I’ve had seasons where I have given the home minimum effort (babies and sicknesses), and other times where I’ve been able to give and make it shine. There have been times when money has been tight and I’ve recycled or been resourceful and other times when I can go shopping.
We need to be aware that it isn’t all about the house, even in the desire to make it a home, we have to balance so many things in our life, and our home is just one of those things. We cannot afford to let the idea of making home, override our other responsibilities and goals.
Creating an emotional space of harmony, peace, beauty
The second aspect of homemaking is creating an emotional space of harmony, peace, beauty for my family. I can’t help but think of Proverbs 21:9 “It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife. (Other versions use the word nagging, brawling, or contentious – not a nice picture!)
My attitude creates the atmosphere of the home. What’s that going to be?
The Bible tells me more about how to be godly in my homemaking, more than it tells me how to be a homemaker. As I walk to be more and more like Jesus, as I seek the fruits of the spirit, and love others as Jesus loved me – I will create a home – an emotional space of harmony, peace, beauty.
The things that we let change our attitude, that in turn change the atmosphere in our home are
- Disappointments – when things aren’t as we expected we can let the disappointment of ideals overwhelm us or turn us bitter. We need to turn our hearts to Jesus and come to a place of peace ourselves.
- Busyness – we can get busy with many things, but one caution is not to get busy with the physical place of home, so much that we don’t have time for the emotional place of home.
- Distraction – this is when we focus on the wrong things – it may be a project, a book, the internet – and then we suddenly realise we’ve lost time, and we get all tense about trying to catch up.
Ultimately the thing that can change our attitude – from a messy one to a peaceful one – is to focus on Jesus. One thing I do when I find my heart getting out of whack, is to put worship music on. As I go about my chores and responsibilities, my heart is worshipping God – my attitude has to change!
A house is made of walls and beams
A home is built with love and dreams
~ William Arthur Ward
Is your house a home?
What aspects needs a little polish? The physical building or the Emotional side?
Can you think of one thing, just one, that you can work on this week that would improve your home?
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