I’m a stay at home mom, and I love every second of it. I can’t imagine having another job — and oh yeah, it is a full-time job. Plus overtime. I view my job as a homemaker as an honor. It was an intentional choice for our family that requires a great deal of sacrifice, not just a role I fell into out of laziness or passivity. It’s taken some time for me to realize how important my job actually is, but now, I am owning it. My deepest desire is to glorify God with my life. I wholeheartedly believe that is my purpose on this earth — to bring glory to Him through whatever I’m doing. I feel a strong call from the Lord to make the most of this role I’ve been given as a wife and mother; to partner with Him to love and serve my family in a way that visibly emulates Jesus. Getting there won’t “just happen.” It requires a dedication to studying the Word, growing in my relationship with Jesus through prayer, listening to Him, resting in Him, obeying Him, and being intentionally creative with the ways that I infuse Christ into the daily rhythms of our home life. At this point you might be thinking, “Cool, so, that sounds nice, but what’s that look like, practically?” Lemme let you in on a little secret... I. Have. No. Stinking. Clue. Like, I’ve been a wife for 3.5 years and a mom for ten months. I still have literally no idea what I’m doing. I am straight up winging it every day. Forreal. There are women much wiser than me, who have been doing this for much longer than I have, that I look to for guidance in this area. So, I read all the books. I listen to all the podcasts. Follow all the Instagram accounts. Pin all the things. Consider spending money on all the programs & tools promised to make my homemaking life more efficient but don’t actually buy them because...budgeting. In my quest for wisdom, I just devour content like Lorelai devours coffee. (s/o to my fellow Gilmore Girls fans!) Endless, endless amounts of content, in all its forms, available to me 24 hours a day in this media-saturated culture we’ve created. Inherently, none of these resources are bad. They can be such a blessing and genuine help to newbies like me.
The danger, though, is when we start to blindly trust these well-known "influencers" so much that we turn off our discernment. So, there’s this one book. And I guarantee that if you’re a Jesus-loving homemaker in my general age bracket, you know the one I’m talking about already. It’s basically THE book. The ultimate guide to cultivating your home in a way that points the heart of your family to Christ at every turn. And I was stoked to finally get this book. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good book. I think the intentions behind the material are pure, and there’s some awesome ideas + cool nuggets I’ve taken from it so far, but:
I’ve never felt so inadequate or unworthy as a homemaker as I have while reading this book. Just a few chapters in, I picked up on some pretty obvious, bold running themes tied to this author’s idea of what brings life to your home + essentially how to guarantee your kids will love you enough to want to come back when they’re adults. (Which, who doesn’t want that?! I know I sure do.) According to this individual, it’s seems like these rank at the top of the list: 1) lots of interesting, colorful (yes, specifically colorful) artwork + material things to beautify your spaces; 2) it’s gotta be clean, and there’s got to be a surplus of interesting music + literature to consume and discuss at any moment; and 3) FOOD. It’s literally all about the freaking food. And how it needs to be fresh, displayed beautifully, and always ready. My eyes just about popped outta my skull when I was reading an anecdote about the time this woman’s adult son came home & she dropped everything to whip out a charcuterie board and slice fresh meats + cheeses arranged with “whole grain crackers.” Like explicitly stated that. And how her son remarked, “Ahhh, this is why I wanted to come home.” LOL. Please hear me on this: If those are your giftings + they bring you joy, by all means, do that for your family. You slay, queen. But if you’re like me, whose favorite colors are black + white, definitely doesn’t have a library well stocked with classic literature, listens to Justin Bieber’s Christmas album about 99% of the time, and is extra proud of the fresh box of Cheez-Its I picked up for my guests, let me just flip this garbage on its head for you right now. Your family doesn’t love you because you mopped your floors. Your family doesn’t love you because you can engage them with riveting conversation about the inner workings of the Amazon rainforest restoration project (p.s. I literally just pulled that out of my head + I don’t know if it’s a real thing, so please don’t write me nasty emails). Your family doesn’t love you because you can whip up vegan, gluten free, zero calorie, zero fat, zero sugar, avocado zucchini black bean brownies at the snap of a finger. Your family doesn’t love you because your refurbished barnwood table with benches instead of chairs fits 25 people around it, k?! Your children aren’t going to leave your home + decide to not come back as adults if you didn’t have candles lit every single night. Your children aren’t destined for failure if you didn’t make them start practicing Mozart before they could spell their name. Your children won’t reject God just because you didn’t help them memorize a new catechism + passage of Scripture every week of the year. And even if you do it ALL by the book, dear friend, they still might. Because none of that stuff is the Gospel. Jesus is bigger than that. Grace extends farther than that. Love is deeper than that. Don’t you dare be fooled. All of that to say...I put down the book. And I picked up a better one. Which, if we’re being honest, I should’ve done in the first place. Because I know its guidance is trustworthy + true. “So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” -Philippians 2:1-4 This. This is what a truly lifegiving home looks like. As we think about the important job we have as homemakers, “let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith” (Heb 12:1-2). Learning how to be a better host is a totally cool thing to do. Interior design can be really fun. Organization might make you feel less stressed. And I’m all about keeping those candles on deck, too! BUT. It’s all Jesus, just Jesus, and only Jesus that fills a home with life. Not my striving, my systems, or my skills. “For [it is] by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Eph. 2:8-9, emphasis my own). So today, be at ease. Our most important task as a homemaker is just to simply abide in Christ. When we truly do that, He will do the work of pruning and bearing fruit in our lives, just as He always has (John 15:1-17). As we trust Him with our hearts, I’m confident the Holy Spirit will lead us in wisdom on all the other practical things. Our hope is not in productivity + creative activity. Our hope is in the Lord God Almighty. He is the true life-giver.