Sunday, November 18, 2012

"Home"making

I am doing quite a bit of hosting over the next few days-- a bridal shower, then family Thanksgiving dinner. As a result I have spent the last few days 'prepping' my house...cleaning, polishing, arranging, setting, fluffing. And somewhere along the way I lost my joy.

I came to the painful realization that my focus had switched to how things appear to people who don't live here, as opposed to kindness to the ones who do. It got me started thinking about the purpose of my 'homemaking' and 'home keeping.' I realize many reading this work outside the home and your division of labor looks different, but in my family my husband works hard outside the home and I am the manager of what goes on within.

When we were married, I pledged to my husband that I wanted our home to always be a place of peace and rest. That's easier said than done with four pets and three 8 year olds, but I try. The fact that the kids are in school has given me a renewed ability to focus on order and tidiness, but as I began to anticipate them coming home for a 10 day break I realized that a part of me was struggling with the disorder and chaos it was going to bring to my relatively quiet daily life.

What started as really good intentions--creating a refuge for my husband and children from the world--became about my need for order and control. There is so much of life that is unpredictable, I have come to embrace the security I feel from being in control in my home. It is such a slippery slope.

Realistically, I am not about to give up and allow things to turn into a pigsty around here. I don't think my husband or children would appreciate that at all. I have, however, come to the conclusion that there is a lot of room between hypervigilant housewife and a dirty, disorderly home.

I want to model hard work for my children. I want them to remember that I served in this way...but I don't want them to resent it. I also don't want to allow the Enemy to twist my once pure motives into greedy/self fulfilling ones.

I have been pondering all afternoon how to pull that off--and I keep coming back to love, joy & grace. I am thankful for this reminder to pause and check my heart. (Better at the beginning of a week long break than at the end, right?) Is my motive about service and love or a selfish need to 'have it together.' Is this drudgery that causes me to resent the very ones I set out to honor? Can I hold myself to a standard of grace rather than perfection?

As I was praying through a lot of this today I came across this quote.

"Nothing can bring a real sense of security into the home except love." Billy Graham

It reminded me of the old favorite 1 Corinthians 13...and the corresponding thought: Without love I am just a nagging wife, a grumpy Mom, a house slave. That is not the best me. So today, I choose love...even if it means a few piles and dirty footprints. What my children will remember more than how my home looked is how they felt when they were here.

5 comments:

Jeannie said...

Jen,
Thank you so much for this post. It was a timely word for this fellow homemaker who often loses her joy in the midst of creating a nice holiday for those she loves most. I am sure I will reread this several times this week. You have spoken my heart in written word here. God Bless You!

RobinVZ said...

I can relate. I snapped at my husband last night for leaving a pile of mail on the floor. Wow. Not how I intended to act. I often let my desires to have a well kept home keep me from having a well kept relationship with my family. Thank you for the gentle reminder!

Myrna Wilson said...

I just found your blog and am so grateful! After being married for almost 11 years, we're finally being blessed with our first baby in a few weeks.

We're on assignment for work in the Middle East, so always looking for inspiration on navigating mommyhood 8,000+ miles away from our dear friends and family.

http://wilsonfamilyproject.blogspot.com/

Debra said...

This post spoke to my heart. I was pondering how best to thank you for it, when I read Jeannie's comment (above). Basically, she wrote EXACTLY what I am feeling!! So... Thank you to both of you.

Kari said...

I loved this and needed to hear this today in the WORST way. I am going to refer back to it all week long - maybe two or three times a day! :)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Kari