Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Creating a Home

It always saddens me when I enter a home, and find a horrid mess.  
Clothes, toys, and stuff piled everywhere. Not a tidy or orderly square foot anywhere. 
Not a clean surface in sight.
A mere trail leading through to ...somewhere.  

My heart goes out to the husband who works hard all day and comes home to such a disaster,
knowing that his wife has not done her job, 
nor saw fit that he should enjoy the beauty and peace of an orderly home,
but preferred her agenda and comfort to his.

Imagine, if a husband went to work each day, but never did his job,
instead sat idly chuckling over facebook status', reading magazines, watching tv,
and making himself comfortable. 
 Likewise, when a wife and mother does not take care of her home,
she simply is not doing her job,
and her family pays for her laziness.
I feel great pity for the husband of such a home, and for the children. 

I will not beat around the bush, but will, as much as I hate conflict,
exhort women everywhere to maintain their home,
for the glory of God and the love of their family, 
as I believe the care of the home is of utmost importance 
and the lack thereof  reaching epidemic proportions. 

A great part of a woman's job is to see that the heart of her home is a peaceful sanctuary,
a source of contentment, acceptance, rejuvenation, nurturing, rest.
   What husband, if given a choice,
would rather come home to a beautiful clean home with the smell of dinner in the air, 
or a hovel where he must pick his way carefully past the heaps and piles
through the trail that leads to his room?  
Isn't it disrespectful to ask your husband to pay for a home for the family 
and then let it fall to ruins around your idle feet? 

We are to be good stewards of what God has given us. 
We, as women, are charged to be productive in the home. 
Yet, too many Christian women ignore these Biblical charges.

A slovenly wife can give her husband a bad reputation,
but a God fearing wife uplifts and ennobles that which she has, and he is praised for it.
  "She does him good and not evil all the days of her life." 
Do your best to make sure you honor your husband and children in this way.
Ask God to help you maintain a house that your husband is pleased to come home to.
Ask the Lord to show you how to make your home a safe haven that builds up your family- 
a place where creativity flows and communication is ongoing. 
Ask God to help you keep the house clean, the laundry done, the kitchen in order,
the pantry and refrigerator full, and the beds made. 
These are the most basic things that should not be overlooked.

Logically, they should be attended to daily. 
It is much more efficient to keep a house clean and orderly,
than to get it clean only to let it fall back to ruins and have heavy work to do again to clean it. 
Take dishes for example, washing a few three times a day is so much easier
than a whole giant pile at the end of the day when you are already tired.
How about laundry?  One or two loads a day does not take much of your time to care for,
but 17  loads once a week is enough to give anyone need for antidepressants. 

It is a biblical principle to do your work first, then seek the enjoyment and refreshment due you.
   Once you have done your daily housework, 
you've earned a cup of tea or cocoa and time to read your email or relax.
Keeping order in the home does not mean it has to be perfect,
but it should not be out of control. 

God is a God of order and beauty, therefore as his followers, our lives should reflect that.
An orderly home is a great joy and comfort. 
Keeping a home provides us with the daily work of our hands that satisfies and makes our sleep good.
  It also means we must die to selfish desires and  instead do that which should be done, 
both for ourselves and the example to our children.
As homemakers, we should be taking our role seriously, it is a daily job,
requiring daily work of our hands. 
If we are not building up our  homes, then we are tearing them down with our own hands, 
and the Proverbs calls that woman a fool.

Let us be about that which builds up, beautifies, edifies, strengthens, and enobles our homes.  
Our Lord has asked it of us, and our families will bless us for it.

27 comments:

Melissa said...

A very fitting and inspiring exhortation, indeed, Julianne! Thank you for this word-in-season. I loved your hypothetical husband, idling at his job. That puts our lollygagging in perspective, doesn't it?! You, through your blog, are a much appreciated sister-companion on the way. Thank you for taking time to blog, beautifully, here.

Mrs. M. said...

In the beginning of my marriage life, I used to look at my house as the biggest hassle that I needed to tackle.

But now....after all the trials I have learned and the understanding of my dear husband, our home is really a haven - a refuge.

The least I could do is make it beautiful.

Thank you for this post Julianne.

Mrs. M.

Wife in Training said...

My home is like that and it is very sad. I've had a very hard time getting started. I have gotten all kinds of very good advice and ideas. I just am having a hard time forcing myself to work on the house after I get home from work. At this point I need lots of prayer more than anything. Wouldn't mind having someone help me get it together. :-P

Anonymous said...

Julianne,

Wow! Convicted today from this post. We do not have trails, but certainly also do not have the fresh, clean, non-cluttered, inviting, peaceful home that I long for and that I know my husband and children would thrive in.

But how? A small, old singlewide mobile home we paid $500 for with exposed plywood floors and rotting bathroom can be cleaned top to bottom and still look terrible. There is no place to put anything. I have tried to get rid of non-essentials and still everything is dingy, dirty and cluttered.

Help! Please! I am so tired, and stressed and feeling so helpless. It seems that I have a one-track mind. If our big garden is in good shape and weedless, then the house is a wreck. If the house is clean, then the homeschooling did not get done. If we get our homeschooling done, then the house and garden is a mess.

My husband works hard to provide, but we are sinking financially. I feel guilty for not working outside the home and then I look at my dismal efforts at home and think, everyone would be better off for me to just go find a job. I want to throw my hands up and say forget it and run away!

Thank you for listening.

Hind's Feet said...

I'm a fool with multiple sclerosis who tries all day to clean 5600 sq ft and school seven children. I'm a failure. I can't even go up and down stairs with my multiple sclerosis, so I have no idea how clean the upstairs bedrooms are, nor what the laundry room downstairs looks like. My husband has been doing his own laundry, and my 10 year old has been doing everyone elses. Each day I put forth effort to be cheerful, work as hard as I am physically able, and not complain. I stay up hours after everyone is in bed to do the floors on the main floor. It takes me two hours to do just the kitchen, and we have tile or hardwood in every room of our house. I've been up since 5 am... it's now 11 am and I finally have the dishes and counter clean from breakfast and I hopped online to check e-mails before starting school for the day and someone had forwarded me this link. This must be how she feels about me and my house. I am a total failure and so discouraged.

Anonymous said...

Julianne -- Apparently you've never met a slovenly man. I simply don't care anymore. I'm tired of picking up chip and snack wrappers dropped purposely on the floor. I'm tired of cheerfully reminding about the machine oil on the shoes and the effects on the carpet that I just cleaned. And I didn't get the dishwasher unloaded . . . because I was trying to start the tiller. The more I do, the more I have to do. And the kids -- he didn't want to be bothered with those either, so there are none.

Please be a bit more understanding that not all of us are blessed. Alot of men don't deserve the respect or the title.

Julianne said...

Dear Hind's feet,
Firstly, my dear, there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. The voice that tells you that you are a failure is not from your loving heavenly Father.
Secondly, your husband has provided a wonderfully HUGE home for you, perhaps he could also provide you with a hired hand to help clean once a week.
Thirdly, just doing the math here, if you have 7 children whom are of school age, they ought to be a wonderful help to you.
Fourth, your description of your day does not sound like the idle sloth who is tearing down her home.:-)
Lastly, the Lord loves you so much! He has given you an ailment, and he does not mean to leave you helpless. I encourage you to go to Him and ask that He give you specific wisdom to manage your home within your physical limitations. He is so good, and will be faithful to answer your plea.
Blessings and hugs,
Julianne

Julianne said...

Dear Wife In Training,
Love the title, it speaks of your vivacious tenacity to learn and be teachable.:-)
You work, you go to school, you have a family to care for, so, that is equivalent to carrying two full time jobs plus school. Of course you don't have it in you to care for your home the way you would like! I implore your husband to help take up the slack while you are still in school.
However, the real problem is divided priorities, and that will remain a battle as long as you are working outside the home. To care for a home and family is a full time job, and is Biblically your first priority. I pray you will seek the Lord on this. He has been clear where our priorities should lay, but the world shouts loudly for their cause too. We must keep His word first, his way foremost, else we cannot walk His path.
In the meantime, perhaps some time management tools would help you juggle things. I will look up a cd I used to have and get back to you.
Tenderly,
Julianne

Julianne said...

Dear anonymous,
Financial stress can be do depressing and overwhelming, this I do understand. As God fearing women, our role is to uplift and ennoble all that we have, be it a single wide trailer or a large expensive home. You are in the right place, the home, it is your God given dominion, and you can save your family more money by staying right there and being frugal than in most any job.
I had to laugh at the house vs garden vs school, we all identify! :-) Time management could possibly help you keep it all together, by breaking your day into blocks, you give time to school, another block to home care, another block to gardening, say 3 hours each, leaving you with 3 to 4 hours of free time each day. I doubt that you work in the garden for 12 hours a day, or school or home care for that long either, so there really is time for all of it, the life God has entrusted to you. I encourage you to seek Him for specific answers to your space issues and your financial struggles. Pray for carpet or bathroom flooring, a raise, ways to cut costs at home, et. He is the God who provides for all our needs.
May you be blessed with grace and peace today, dear one.
Julianne

Julianne said...

Wife in Training,
This is a cd that really helped me:
"24 Hours is All You Get", by Susan Bradrick, available at Vision Forum
also, a book titled "More Hours in my Day", by Emily Barnes.
blessings,
Julianne

Hind's Feet said...

The huge home is not a reflection of our current income. We cannot afford help. I would love to downsize, but my husband would view that as discontentment with my lot. My oldest daughter has numerous physical and neurological health issues and needs much care. The others help as they are able and help with keeping things tidy, meals, farm animals, etc, but the work is never done. I am daily seeking the Lord for answers to our situation and have been for years. We constantly have guests in our home and at our table... and to think one of those friends found our home lacking and considered me in need of your post just hit a bit hard. Today is just a rough day (remembering the death of my son) and I should probably just not be online. I'm sure I'd usually find your posts encouraging, so I'll revisit on a better day... I'm normally not one who feels "less than" by challenges like your post today. I'm usually excited to see what the Lord can teach me, and what He is doing.

Anonymous said...

wonderful post. i'm printing this one out. and starting in the master bedroom, as Auntie Leila suggests.

(pssst...I love you too, Hinds.)

Birdy

Julianne said...

Dear Hind's Feet,
I am so sorry both that you feel judged, and for your grieving mama's heart. I would not blame you for being a bit off all week around the anniversary of a death. I do hope the next time you stop by that you are uplifted and encouraged. You have a lovely family and to me, your home sounds like a welcoming and happy place. Do not lose heart.

Julianne said...

Dear Slovenly's Wife,
I am sorry you have felt judged, it was not my intention at all. My aim was to teach and exhort women to do their best in caring for their homes.
I really do know of such men, and I also know that our commands from scripture as far as what we are to do and be are regardless of who we are married to. Titus 2 does not say to respect our husbands if they are worthy, it just says to respect, period. I hear the hurt in your voice and I only wish you may know the our dear heavenly Father has the answers, and that life need not be lived in bitterness. I pray blessings upon you and your marriage...with God, all things are possible.
In Hope,
Julianne

Sharon said...

Thank you. This is so timely that I found this now. I just shared in my Bible Study this morning that I am having trouble juggling my responsibilities, and this only reinforces what we talked about...after God, husband and home come first.
Thank you. This will be printed out and put in my "Home Management Binder" I am creating to help me survive! (and we don't even have kids yet!)
Have a blessed day!

Hind's Feet said...

It's been four months since he passed away in utero. Yesterday was my (un)scheduled c-section date. I'm feeling much better today, thanks.

Birdy, I'm fairly sure I know what bird you are, and I love you too. ;)

clevsea said...

Hi,

This is helpful. I'm leading some Christian women in a discussion on Prov. 31 and I am asking you if I can copy/paste this article? I would fully credit you.

It goes along nicely with what we are discussing.

Let me know. I think it would be well-received.

Your friend you've never met,
Clevsea

Shara said...

We seem to split the line between the two. Our house is clean, but lived in. Often we do the nitty gritty detailing in spurts and keep things "picked up" the rest of the time.

Sadly I can say that I know one marriage ended in part because of a slovenly wife. Heart breaking because the husband felt like he worked to provide and no matter what he provided she wasn't willing to care for it. My heart still breaks for both of them. (No, this wasn't the only problem for them.)

My goal for our house it that it be a home...a place of reasonable order that we can live in and our family isn't ashamed of.

Thanks for the post. It helps me to revisit from time to time what my priorities are.

Julianne said...

Dear Clevsea,
What a wonderful name! Yes, you may print, I am glad it could be of use to you.
Blessings
Julianne

clevsea said...

Thank you.

The Yahoo group is:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/OldFashionedChristianHomekeepers/

where we support each other in Prov. 31 & Titus 2 and we're Old Fashioned (like you--smile) and Christian too.

Thanks again,
Clevsea

clevsea said...

That article is so good and it has been well accepted at the Yahoo group that I had asked permission to share it with.

Not to be greedy but I now ask permission to paste it at a smaller Yahoo group that I manage and to paste it at my blog too.

I really think this message is so very needed.


I will include some thoughts that I shared today:

I agree with the premise of the article and have often
reminded the groups that I run that we have priorities.

The Lord (prayer, Bible reading, worship, etc.)
Our husbands
Our children
Our homekeeping
Loving our neighbors
Living our REAL lives

Then, after all that is handled then we can email.

That's why I'm never upset by a quiet group.

Yes, our conversations here are important and for MANY including myself it is a type of fellowship that I cannot get in real life. That makes it worth signing in each day. To get support and to give support.

Housework is not the priority *over the time with the Lord* and with people but there are times when married women cater to their on-line friendships over the
needs of their families and their responsibility to cook and clean, etc.

Some of my on-line friends have actually died. Some of them have lost their husbands. I can't imagine the grief any of us would feel if we were emailing that last 2 hours of our lives or our husband's life.

Again, email is great. It brings us in contact with like-minded friends and I do appreciate it. But I also appreciate what Juilanne wrote; that some of our
husbands work hard to get us a home and then we don't keep it up to a level of normal sanitation. That seems like a bit of an insult to the very one who worked
hard to earn the funds to buy the house. We don't have to be perfectionistic. We just have to be thoughtful.

And.......if......we are too sick to clean then YES, the Lord and the
husband know this. If we have sick children that need a lot of special care then the Lord understands it.

The lady who wrote the article has about 7 children (can't remember the exact amount right now). She homeschools. She cooks. She lives an "off-grid" life. She lives a very old fashioned life.

I hope the article doesn't bring grief and condemnation to anyone who is physically incapble of doing house work. But if you are able-bodied and given to laziness then let the article do it's work on you. Be mad. You'll get over it.
Use your anger to energize your cleanning experience--- laugh.

The truth hurts sometimes and we all (including me) need a little kick-start to remind us that our husbands work hard and I know mine isn't giggling at his facebook page because he doesn't have one and if he did he would not have time to check it because he is a hard-working man.

I can't even compete with his energy level BUT I can remind myself that I am his helper. NOT his "do-every-thing" person, but his helper.

This whole thing is a matter of perspective. Get going if you are lazy and making excuses. Slow down if you are a perfectionist. Re-priorize if you are an email maniac. And much more.

Thanks,
Clevsea

Anonymous said...

This blog was a TOTAL discouragement to my husband and I. We have been through many things over the past while that have stopped my ability to care properly for our home. My husband is not such a hurtful man as to make me feel like a lazy slob. But he understands why things are the way they are and he loves and accepts me and our home regardless of how they are. My children are young enough that they are unable to help with our home in a manor such as yours or others mentioned above. From all of your blogs I have read this one is very discouraging and feels like a slam on me as well as my husband and our home. Yes maybe for some this is a wake up call. But for my family it was discouraging.

Gina said...

Oh Julianne! Thank you for being brave enough to share this truth. This is so little taught these days. I think women are afraid to teach this truth. And yet Titus 2 tells the older women to train the younger women to be "busy at home". You are a beacon to all of us as we are hearing the opposite message in our culture today. I LOVE this reminder and the vision that you have shared. Thank you for being willing to not only cast vision, but to even admonish your readers! I know you are not judging, but rather hoping to inspire those who are willing to be taught. I think I will go put a load of laundry in now... LOL :)

Julianne said...

Dear Totally Discouraged,
When one is unwell AND has little ones to care for, one might be blessed to seek help from a friend or another woman in the church, just what the body of Christ is for...to come along side us when we are in need or struggling. I encourage you to check in with your pastor's wife and see if there might be someone in the church who would be willing to lend you a hand until you are feeling better. It may be a blessing to the volunteer as well as you. Surely that would encourage you when you're not up to it. I had just such a need once, and was so blessed by an older woman who came and loved on me when I was in bedrest with a pregnancy, what fond memories I have of her outpouring of love to me in my need. Just a thought.
Tenderly,
Julianne

Hind's Feet said...

I'm a few days further and feeling much better, and more encouraged, by this blog post. Frankly this is the type of encouragement I do need. Friends who tell me it's okay to let things slide, I have life rough, etc, etc, are NOT an encouragement to me. Not truly.

I do wonder if Totally Discouraged has a church family that will come along side her. Many do not. One winter I was snowed in with a newborn, in poor health, and my husband and oldest helper were away on a trip. I was unable to plow our 1/2 mile driveway, did not have my needed medication and other supplies and we were without power or heat for days. The power finally came on and a lady from church called and asked if we needed anything, I told her all our needs, and she said "okay, well, I'm glad you're okay... call if you need anything" and she hung up. I just about giggled wondering what she'd do if I called her right back and said "we need..." :D

Last when I was in the hospital after our stillborn son was born and I had hemmoraghing and had emergency surgery to stop the hemoraghing, and the doctors worried for some hours that I had lost too much blood, a lady from church contacted me to see if I could bring meals to another friend who had her (living) baby the same day I had mine. She was already home from the hospital and struggling. My children were home alone, grieving their brother, and scared I would die... but no one from church reached out... except to ask me to help another they had no time to help.

For me these are things my grandmother would say "For this we have Jesus!" - He is our encouragement... and I hold fast to the hope that in the grand scheme of eternity I will have a completely different perspective on the (small?) trials we have now. I've been one of those people to give, give, give at church serving in the nursery, sacrificing my husband to serve at church when he was sorely needed at home, bringing meals to the infirm, opening our home to those in need...

Yet I've never been thrown a baby shower, never had anyone help with my babies, meals, or home after birth, or with my children when I've been on 3-7 months of bedrest with five of my children.

I think this must be because I am unlovely and unloveable... but I know that Jesus does love me.

I ache so for Totally Discouraged. I wish I could come to her home, fold her laundry, mop her floors, make her a nice snack or an iced tea, and take care of her littles for a bit, while she simply rocks and snuggles her littlest one. I hope she does have a sweet church family to come along beside her... But I think those churches who truly love in this way are rare.

Huisvrou said...

Julianne.....
Oh my! The Lord sent me to your blog today.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Please can you remind me to clean up every day? I need someone to check on me, otherwise I simply fall back to bad habits.

Anyways, just wanted to say, Thank you Lord, for sending me here today.

pistolsnprincesses said...

I think it's wise to remember that we all are at different phases of life and may not have all the same opportunities that others do. I myself, having four small children, have to choose daily between spending time with my kids and taking care of the house. There are times when the dishes and laundry just have to wait because my kids need me to sit and be with them. The perfectionist in me struggles with this but the mom in me knows that my kids need my time and attention more than they need a perfect house. I just wonder if the tone of this post was too much of a general statement, not taking the differences of family life and situations into account. I appreciate the reminder to work first and play later. I admit that I'm not faithful to make that the rule of my day. I also appreciate that my husband is gracious enough to recognize when I've had a busy day with our children and didn't have the time to keep up with the house or get dinner started early enough. I do look forward to the day that our kids will be old enough to help more and I am training them now to be able to do household tasks. But that training also takes time. Maybe the next time you encounter a home like the one you described you could take into account the situation of the wife and the stage of life she is in. And maybe she just needs a friend to come and help out every once in awhile. I have had the help of family and friends many times, sometimes offered and sometimes requested. It has been a huge blessing to this momma of four little ones. I do thank you for the gentle reminder and the encouragement.