Saturday, June 27, 2015

Learning to Love Homemaking

Thank you all so much for your caring and encouraging comments on the last post! You all are such a blessing . . . thank you!
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This post came to be after a dear blog reader asked a question awhile back in a comment about learning to like and enjoy certain aspects of homemaking . . . her question got me thinking more about how to cultivate a love for homemaking and hence, this post! (which is kind of an expansion of part of my comment reply to her) . . .

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When I was a little girl, I loved having things clean and organized . . . to the point that I would get up in the night to line my shoes all up in a straight row . . . and when we would visit friends or even acquaintances' houses, I would ask if I could clean them!

My Mom tells the story, though, of one day coming into Leah's and my room, and it was a disaster. She asked us what happened and my response was "I don't know, Mom, I just don't care anymore." :) 

Thankfully my Mom (and Dad) didn't let me keep that attitude! My parents strove to instill a work ethic and a love of work in us, and we grew up helping clean, cook, garden, work outside, take care of animals, and more.

Though, it wasn't until we began learning about godly womanhood when I was in my teens that I really began to love homemaking, realizing that it is a part of the beautiful role of godly womanhood that God has given to us, and a significant part of being a wife and mother if I should ever be blessed with those roles.

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"Older women . . . encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, workers (or keepers) at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands so that the word of God will not be dishonored." Titus 2:3a, 4-5

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As much as I love homemaking, though, there are still those tasks I don't love to do . . . I can't even say that I particularly like the task itself (ironing and scrubbing out the shower come to mind!) There are also those days, too, when it sounds more pleasant to curl up on the couch and read or work on a fun project, or things like that, instead of putting into order the messy kitchen . . . or conquering the mountain of laundry . . . or tidying up the disorderly rooms . . . or any other number of things. And there are those days when it is a struggle to have a joyful, servant heart while doing these tasks.

Can any of you ladies relate? :)


So how do we cultivate a love for homemaking even when we don't feel like it?

Here are some things that I have found helpful, and I would love hearing anything that you would like to add!


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Remember that homemaking is a part of the beautiful role that God has given us! Whether you are a wife and/or mother, a daughter in your parents' home, living in your small apartment . . . wherever you are, God has a special role for you to fill. At times it may seem very far from special, but it is indeed a beautiful and important part of our role as women.

Another thing that helps me is when faced with doing a task I do not feel like doing, to remind myself . . . "this is part of what I love! So put a smile on your face and enjoy doing this!" It may not seem like much, but just this simple reminder is quite a help!

Remember also that doing these tasks is a wonderful and important way to show love to our families (or those we open our home to) by providing a clean, comfortable and happy home, good and healthy food to eat, clean clothes, and much more. Keep in mind, though, there is a difference between doing a task grudgingly and doing the same task with a joyful, happy heart and countenance!


And most importantly, remember that doing these tasks is a way to serve the Lord. As He says: “whatever you do, do your work heartily as for the Lord” . . . each dirty dish washed, each load of laundry done, each floor swept, can be done for Him. As we serve our families through doing these household tasks, we are loving God and serving Him! Isn't that an encouraging truth? And again, these things also communicate love to our family. It shows that we care, that we value them, that we want to bless them.

Remember to also pray! Asking God to help you have a heart of love, service and joy towards Him and your family. Praying for hands willing and eager to work and to serve those we love.

All of these relate to the condition of our heart, and there are some practical things that we can do to help us as well. One is to simply beautify . . . if doing laundry is hard for you, or dishes are the tasks that you struggle with, put something by your washer, dryer, sink, etc. that is typically something that brightens your day or warms your heart . . . a fresh or artificial flower arrangement, your favorite candle, a family photo, or something like that.


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"She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness." Proverbs 31:26-27

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Something else that I like to do is to make or get pretty Bible verse cards/pictures and put them in places where I can see them regularly. Perhaps by your kitchen sink you can hang up some verses that would be an encouragement to you and that you can meditate on while you wash dishes . . . or in the laundry room hang verses that remind one to "work with [your] hands in delight" (Proverbs 31:13.)

Sometimes the verses may not necessarily even relate to work or having a joyful heart, but can simply be a help and encouragement to you in other areas of life. At one point back when we were milking, I was struggling with a certain character aspect in my life and made some small, handwritten verse cards that related and hung them up above the milk stand. Then during milking time, I worked on memorizing them, thought about them and how they could be applied to my life, etc. This was really a help and blessing to me!


And sometimes just having something like music helps! Some nights after dinner when Leah and I look at the seemingly insurmountable mountain of dishes on the kitchen counters :), we say “it's a music night!” We'll get the CD player, put on a CD of gospel music or something like that, and then listen to it and often sing along while we do the dishes. Sometimes we end up having so much fun together that we wouldn't mind if there were even more dishes!

At the heart of the matter, though, is again, love for God and love for family . . . a heart not focused on self, but on our parents, siblings, husbands, children. A heart that joyfully works at the tasks to make our houses homes and havens for our family. That out of love for our families and our Savior, seeks to have the atmosphere of our homes centered around Christ and warm with joy, love, caring, laughter, peace, and everything that can bless and enrich the dear ones that call our houses 'home.'


". . . only the spirit of Christ in a household makes a truly Christian home . . . There are some fields of grass from which in summer days rises a sweet fragrance, although not a flower is anywhere to be seen. But when you part the tall grass and look down among its roots, there, close on the ground, hidden under the showy, waving grass, you see multitudes of small flowers, modest and lowly, yet pouring forth a delicate and delicious aroma filling all the air. There are homes in which there is nothing remarkable in the way of grandeur or elegance, yet the very atmosphere as you enter is filled with sweetness, like 'the smell of a field which the Lord hath blessed.' It is the aroma of love, the love of Christ shed abroad in human hearts." (Homemaking J. R. Miller pg. 231-232)

21 comments:

  1. Even though I am much older I still struggle with homemaking. There are four women in this family and sometimes it is almost impossible to get someone to help. I keep trying and fail so often but maybe one I shall achieve the aim of a mess free home. At this moment the house is horrendous. Mum and my oldest girl are takinga 7 day cruise and leave in an hour or so. The day they return my youngest foes on the same cruise. A few days after thatmy eldest daughter and I travel to Melbourne so she can attend a linguistics conference. She is a little scared of being alone in Melbourne which amuses me as she has travelled to Europe three times by herself and a city in her country frightens her.

    This brings me to my point. That I have a few windows to make a difference while our home is less crowded and I hope to make a difference! Pray for me. Thank you.

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  2. Beautiful post, Sarah!

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  3. I find that music helps me get through the chores...and it's such a good feeling to look at a pristine room when finished!

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  4. Wow, you have learned much. How to dig deep when things are challenging and keep going : )
    We all have days where the tasks are not what we want to do...I like your suggestions, all of them. Music lifts the heart, I find!
    Interspersing favourite tasks with least liked is good, too. I expect you do that already.
    It was a lovely quote you shared, about the sweet smelling field flowers!

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  5. AnonymousJune 28, 2015

    I, like Suze, am much older than you and I must admit that for all my life I've seen the doing of household chores as a necessary evil. I used to rush through most chores just to get them done so that I could spend time on other things. (Although I always loved sorting & organising.) However, maturity has opened my eyes to the truth of what you are saying. Unfortunately, in the past few years, because of increasing pain, it has been discovered that I was born with deformed hips and a slightly twisted spine. I've had three major operations since March 2011 to try and relieve pain. Since an operation in December 2014 I've been in constant pain and permanently on crutches.
    This has been so very frustrating. It seems that now, ironically, when I see the value and satisfaction of homemaking, I am physically unable to do so!! This is very hard for me.
    My most recent operation was on 18th June and I am recovering quite well. It remains to be seen if it has been successful in relieving my pain to a point where I can function normally.
    All this said to make a rather simple point - I wish I'd learned earlier about the contentment homemaking can bring. I've wasted time and health through ignorance. At the age of 56 I feel so very old and regretful. I hope someone reads this and learns from my experience. However, still praying for a FULL recovery! :)
    Kate

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  6. Anon,

    I pray that you have a relief from pain and disability. I have osteo-arthritis, gout and osteoporosis. I understand hip and back pain. It and the resultant stiffness makes cleaning that bit more discouraging. God bless. Perhpas when you recover, and do give yourself time, you will slowly but surely rearrange and enjoy the fruits of that.

    Suzan

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  7. I loved your thought-provoking post, Sarah. It's got me thinking too!

    One thing that helps me out is finding inspiration through reading things like the Little House books, and then sort of imagining myself into it as I work. Part of me is mopping the floor in Sydney while another part is doing it out on that beautiful old prairie with Ma and Pa, Mary, Carrie and Grace :) Imagination helps a lot, and connecting with history. There are some great BBC documentaries where three historians work a farm for a whole calendar year in the way it used to be done - Victorian Farm; Edwardian Farm; Wartime Farm. I get lots of inspiration from those as well. And then there's always Sarah's blog! Various other books inspire me as well, particularly the ones I read as a child and young teen, and dreamed over.

    Another thing - lots have mentioned music, and I find listening to audiobooks while I work helps as well.

    But these are surface 'fixes'. I think the main reason people become dissatisfied with home making comes from tapping into the worldly culture out there that convinces people that the home is a place of restriction, and that by always thinking about their 'rights' and what they 'deserve' means they've learned to only focus on what they don't have instead of what they have. "I deserve better than this," they are taught to say. It's the current philosophy of the world. Colossians 2:8 is such a wonderful verse - 'Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.'

    For me, homemaking is a bit different from most I think, because I live alone. Homemaking can seem a little selfish when you're doing it only for yourself! But knowing beyond a doubt that this is the place in life God has prepared for me (at least up till now and perhaps for all my life) makes it easier to have joy in it. I'm working part time now - three weekdays working, two weekdays homemaking (or doing whatever else comes up). It's a beautiful life.

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  8. Such a beautiful and inspiring post! I loved the quote you closed with. And your counted cross-stitch scripture is lovely!!

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  9. What a lovely post Sarah my work colleagues think I'm mad when I say I enjoy ironing!! I find this is my time to listen to some gospel music & just switch off from everything else maybe that's why I iron "everything" lol x I have always enjoyed homemaking although it doesn't always go according to plan when the grandchildren descend upon me!!!

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  10. Dear Sarah, is clear that to you you the Gentleman has put strictly between ourselves in order that you use us as inspiration. It is admirable that a person so young woman as you it uses as inspiration all those who surround you and to all that across your blog we follow you, you and your family do an exemplary work, and especially you have an interior force that is your faith, congratulation for being such a wonderful person. I am useful to wonder if there exists some JR's book Miller in Spanish. I would like to have someone. An embrace. Mari Carmen

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  11. It can be a struggle sometimes, Suze! And the more people in the house, the messier it can get and the harder to clean sometimes, too. :)

    It sounds like your daughters and Mum are going to have a lot of fun adventures! I have been praying for you that you will have an opportunity to accomplish what you would like to. It's too bad we live so far apart . . . I would love to come on over and help!

    P.S. Thank you for sharing your understanding and encouragement with “Anonymous” in your second comment! It was kind of you!

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  12. It does, Elizabeth! And I can so relate to that good feeling. :)

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  13. Thank you for your kind comment, Alex! That's a good idea to intersperse favorite tasks with the not so favorite ones. I actually hadn't specifically thought of that so thank you for mentioning it!

    I am glad that the quote was a blessing! It's one of my favorite homemaking ones. :)

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  14. Welcome to my blog, Kate, and thank you for sharing all that you did! I love hearing from those older than I and being able to learn from their experience. Thank you for the reminder about contentment in homemaking and remembering to not waste our time (it can be easy sometimes to do the opposite!) I am sure others besides myself appreciated your wise words. Even though you wish you would have learned these things earlier, with having learned them now, you can be (and are!) a blessing as you help younger women who may be struggling with the same things. Thank you for that!

    I am sorry to hear that you are struggling so much with pain and health issues! I will be praying for you . . . for both relief from your pain and prayerfully a full recovery. I was glad to hear that you are recovering well from your most recent operation!

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  15. Thank you for your kind comment, Rena, and for sharing those wonderful ideas! I sometimes get inspiration from books like that, too. :) (And your comment about “Sarah's blog” made me smile :) – glad it could be inspiring!)

    That's a great idea about listening to audio books while cleaning!

    What you shared about the heart of the matter is very true . . . our culture around us does indeed do about everything it can to turn our hearts away from the home, to make homemaking look degrading and restricting, and to turn the focus to satisfying our own wants instead of serving and loving others and our families. Thank you for sharing those important points!

    I appreciated what you shared in your last paragraph! Sometimes I can even have that feeling start sinking in . . . yet as you shared, God has us in the places we are for a reason and in that is great joy! And yes, it is indeed a beautiful life. :)

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  16. Thank you, Sarah! I am glad that it could be an inspiration to you!

    And thank you for your kind comment on the cross-stitch. :)

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  17. Thank you, Marie! It's good someone enjoys ironing! :) The way you described it makes me wish I liked it more. I think next time I'll try listening to music while doing it . . . for some reason I haven't done those two together yet!

    Reading your enthusiasm about homemaking made me smile! And yes, plans would have to change sometimes when your grandchildren come to visit. :) I can just imagine how much they must enjoy going to "grandma's house"!

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  18. Thank you so much, Mari Carmen, for your sweet comment!

    I looked to see if I could find a Spanish version of JR Miller's book “Homemaking”, and unfortunately, I wasn't able to. Hopefully you'll be able to find one! It is a very good book.

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  19. Sari life is ensuring that some things have to be done. I found our laundry room flooded yesterday. Mum will be cross that some of her quilt supplies are now in the bin as they had become mouldy because of a slow leak. Now I have procrastinated long enough and need to do some work. God bless.

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  20. Oh no, Suze! Sorry to hear about the flooded laundry room! Hopefully the clean up will go quickly and smoothly . . . and maybe if the quilt supplies dry out they'll be salvageable?

    Hope your work goes well!

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Thanks so much for your comment! Each one is read and enjoyed. :)