Sunday, January 13, 2013
How to Keep a Beautiful Home
I know you need encouragement. I know you need it because I need it too.
And so these words do not come to you from a mother whose children are so grown up that the memories of their younger years have grown dim. That place we will all arrive at one day-- when all that remains are the warm fuzzy recollections of childhood.
I say it to you as a mama whose child flushed an unknown object down the commode last week resulting in bizarre methods of bathing and plumbers with muddy feet tracking through my house. I say it as a woman who sometimes feels like discipline is an exercise in futility, and a mom who just dicovered an artistic "masterpiece" on the playroom wall. The artist's tool of choice? Permanent marker.
And knowing all this I can share with you what you already know, but what we all need reminding of:
A woman's home is only as beautiful as her heart is.
It doesn't matter if your floors are clean and dust cannot be detected on your shelves. If you are seething inside, bitter and resentful toward your children for being, well, children, your home will be ugly. Neither does it matter if you serve them healthy meals and set them down to a lovely table with an elaborate centerpiece. If you join them wearing a bitter face or have a "woe is me" attitude, that is a reflection of your heart, and your table is revolting. Better is a dry morsel with quietness, than a house full of feasting with strife Prov. 17:1
Raising children is hard work. It just is! We cannot control many of our circumstances but we can control how we react to them, and how we react to them determines the atmosphere of our home.
We can choose to see the annoyances of our children, the sins they commit against us, the creative ways they mess up our stuff--as opportunities. Opportunities for:
Shaping The Arrows
Got an angry toddler or a boy who is behind in math and/or the self-control department? Got a sassy girl who doesn't act like Pollyanna (more like Pippi Longstocking?!)? We can see the conflicts as opportunities to pull weeds in the gardens of our children's hearts, where God will one day (by His grace) reap a harvest of fruit. Therefore, these tough and sometimes exhausting issues are actually mercies of God, alerting us to the fact that there is a weed we need to pull. What children struggle with at two, they will struggle with at twelve and they will struggle with at eighteen. Mothers of littles must do a lot of weed pulling--it's a job that has lifelong consequences.
Growth in Ourselves
We can also see these challenging moments as occasions to grow in grace and refinement ourselves. The Lord wants us to depend on him not our own strength. When things are too hard for us, that is the point we will lean most heavily on Him. Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Cor. 12: 9, 10
Every hard moment I have during the day (or night) is an opportunity to receive the grace of God in my time of need, but I have to be willing and open to that. As much as it hurts sometimes, as a Christian I should want to have my sin nature addressed. And in a house full of children there are going to be plenty of opportunities.
Even as busy moms who have crumbs that seem to permanently reside in the kitchen chairs, we can still have lovely homes if our hearts are willing. Fresh paint, colorful adornments to the walls or fancy furniture will not be what make it beautiful. Give me some glass with fingerprints, carpet strewn with Legos and a fridge that has seen better days anyday...along with a mama who is filling the rooms with joy, laughter, love and peace knowing she is being faithful to the noble task of mothering her children well. Now that's a beautiful house.
PS: Does anyone know how to remove permanent marker? :)