the practice of {keeping house}

“There is always the danger that we may just do the work for the sake of the work.

This is where the respect and the love and the devotion come in — that we do it to God, to Christ, and that’s why we try to do it as beautifully as possible.”  - Mother Teresa

Long-time readers here would know I am not a fan of separating the sacred and the secular.

That somehow our work is menial, but our worship is magnificent.  Our work is also our worship, and this is exactly how it should be.  We offer this one-pieced life, all of who we are and what we do, to the Creator who intended we do so.

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Several years ago a friend commented to me  how stay-at-home-moms shouldn’t be involved in ministry outside of the home as a way of living.  Oh dear – what about all those lovely pastors’ wives who are raising families?  Sigh.

Within the same week, another comment from a different source was received:  Moms should seek to balance their {boring, mundane} home lives with outside interests in order to keep happy.  What’s the message here?

Naturally, I’m not knocking hobbies or outings, etc. and I personally live the ‘ministry outside of the home’ lifestyle.

I am suggesting however, that there is no need to enshrine and overly revere our position as homemakers.  This practice of keeping house, of making home is honorable and holy — and so are other vocations.  Our work can be our worship.

There is also no need to demean our work.

In our busy and full days, especially at different times of the year, we feel the rush and the piling up of home-keeping tasks.  Our tendency will be to become overwhelmed.  For laundry piling high is quite daunting {especially if you don’t appreciate the task…ahem}.

Yet, we have this wonderful opportunity to create a nurturing and nourishing home for our families.  To create space for quiet from the world around us, for rest, for community and hospitality….for life.

If we can first respect our keeping house as sacred, and give ourselves over to it with devotion and love, this mentality shift will change our outlook and our days.  While I do advocate keeping it simple with household chores,

I equally support viewing these tasks as a gift, not only a list of things to be gotten through.

If you are a stay-at-home mom, this practice of keeping house will consume much of your time.  Yes, be effective. By all means, learn to be efficient in ways which bless you and your family.

But, give yourself over to doing this all with a deep sense of gratitude.  With an awareness of all you have been blessed with, in spite of the piles and messes, and never-ending smudges by 3-yr olds who use peanut butter as finger paint on various surfaces.

Oh I’m sorry, that’s probably just our family.  But I am incredibly grateful to have said 3-yr old in my life.

Keep home with care.  With love.  With a sense of awe.

For truly, the practice of keeping house is a gift.

 

{other posts in the practice of series}

 

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11 comments

Brandi

I agree. Great post! Isn’t this how we attempt to teach our children to view work/chores….with a heart of thanks? Work is a gift from God and it’s good for us…..”whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for The Lord rather than for men, knowing that from The Lord you will receive the inheritance. It is The Lord Christ whom you serve.” (Colossians 3:23-24)

Brittany

Ah, just what I needed to hear this morning. Thank you so much! :)

Thanks for this post, Daniele! I was reminded of something similar over the weekend. I was weeding one of our flower gardens and complaining to myself that I’ve always hated weeding. Suddenly I remembered what a huge blessing it is to HAVE gardens to weed. I’ve lived in enough other homes and haven’t been able to garden.

Once I began thanking the Lord for the opportunity to weed, it completely changed my outlook. I couldn’t believe I could finally think of weeding as a gift!

Thank you for this! It truly came at a time I was needing to hear it. I’m a SAHM of five that I homeschool, ages 1-9. I know that I am right where God wants me to be, but I have been struggling lately with the knowledge that our home is supposed to be a retreat from the outside world and the attempt to tackle everything that needs done to make it that way. I will be praying for a mental shift in the right direction now that you pointed it out to me! Thank you again!~ Bobbie

I love the balance here, which is so often lacking in this topic. We should never diminish what we do as homemakers as though it is some kind of punishment or drudgery, but at the same time we don’t need to idolize it. Whatever I’m doing, wherever I am can be worship if my heart is turned toward God in my doing. Not easy, by any means, but what a worthwhile pursuit and how beautiful it makes a life when we can pull it off.

My heart says yes to so many things expressed here — thank you for sharing!

Thank you for this post! Your “clean enough” post has really helped me find some peace of mind lately with keeping my house in order with a new baby here and being a new mom. :)

That is wonderful to hear Alicia, thanks for sharing! Enjoy those new baby days, they are so precious. And congrats! :)

Felina

Thank you so much for this! I know I needed it for such a time as this in my life, I am so blessed to be a SAHM but I feel like I am failing miserably! I know my husband and children deserve so much better and tonight at church we just heard about “attitude adjustment” and I read this article and it’s confirmation. I need to change my thinking from keeping house being mundane and boring to knowing it is a my most important ministry right now and such a blessing!

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