“Family was God’s original organization scheme for society, and home was the laboratory where human beings could learn to glorify God through the work, relationships, and purposes of their lives. Home would be the place where love for God and commitment to His purposes would be passed down from one generation to another.” –Sally Clarkson, The Life Giving Home
I’ve never been a person who was particularly bothered by a few dirty dishes in the sink. I’ve always been of the mindset that time with family and friends is much more meaningful than standing over a sink of dishes, especially if all your loved ones are enjoying coffee and dessert without you in the next room. I’ve generally opted for the “I can get to that cleaning later” mentality. I’m not comfortable in total chaos, but leaving a little mess for a few days here and there has never caused me too much of a problem. And, while I still agree with the spirit behind the aforementioned ideals (people first over a perfect home), God has been gently showing me a different side of the story. What if maintaining my home actually opened the door for deeper family connection, allowing me to be more of a blessing to my husband and children?
When I think of home I think of somewhere that nourishes the soul, a place where you can be completely yourself. Home is the place that beckons to me after a long day out. It’s a place where I can throw on my sweat pants, fuzzy socks, and rock my messy bun (not the cute kind) and yet still be deeply seen and loved. As a wife and mother, home is also a place where I can create a little piece of heaven here on earth for my husband and children. God has given me the opportunity to start becoming more kingdom focused in the way I think about my homemaking. In serving my family, I am actually serving the Lord.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” -Colossians 3:23-24, NIV
Through the physical atmosphere I create between my four walls, I am showing my family how much I care about them. When there are clean clothes to wear and dinner to eat, I am ministering to them in a very tangible way. When their physical needs are met, I am then able to pour into them emotionally and spiritually, and they are able to receive from me because they are not physically deprived. Jesus was constantly meeting people’s physical needs first, and then blessing them with his spiritual teachings.
“Then Jesus called his disciples and told them, ‘I feel sorry for these people. They have been here with me for three days, and they have nothing left to eat. I don’t want to send them away hungry, or they will faint along the way.’…So Jesus told all the people to sit down on the ground. Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, thanked God for them, and broke them into pieces. He gave them to the disciples, who distributed the food to the crowd. They ate as much as they wanted.” -Matthew 15:32, 35-37a, NLT
Jesus’ example of providing for His followers is something I, too, strive to do. It is hard for someone who is hungry to hear even the perfect words of Christ—and so He fed them.
In Scripture, I also learn from the Proverbs 31 woman. She pays careful attention to the care and maintenance of her home and the people in it. This woman is not lazy. If she sees that something needs tending to, she tends to it. I think that spirit behind her work is not simply so she can have a perfect home, but because she knows that by tending to the home’s needs, she is actually tending to her family’s hearts.
“She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.” -Proverbs 31:27, NIV
This is the kind of woman I want to be. Although homemaking does not come naturally to me, I can become better at it through God’s help. By practicing good habits and implementing systems that work for me and my family I have already seen tremendous progress in this area of my life. In going to God in prayer about this, He has brought me great resources that have helped me in my journey. I’ve found wisdom through other women who are gifted in this area, read books, listened to podcasts, and even watched YouTube videos that have given me inspiration and information to improve the way I care for my home.
“By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established: through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.” -Proverbs 24:3-4.
Ultimately it comes down to this: my home is where I get to introduce my children to the love of God and the person of Jesus for the very first time. If the home I am creating is a place of physical peace and provision, then my children will be more available to receive the blessing of truth, goodness, and beauty found in a relationship with Christ. If quickly tackling a sink of dishes holds the added benefit of showing Christ’s love to my family, then I am more than happy to wash away; and with the appropriate system in place, this job shouldn’t take long at all. I’ll most certainly be able to catch the coffee and dessert before it’s over!
By: Erica Johnson
What can I change in our home’s atmosphere that will express love to specific family members?
Is there anything in my heart currently preventing me from pursuing deeper family connections?