Last week on the way home from our family vacation, I ran into a well-known chicken joint to grab my husband some breakfast. As I was waiting for his order, I noticed there was something written on each employee’s nametag. Looking closer, I saw a sentence that began with these three words under each person’s name: My passion is…
I thought this was the sweetest thing. Here they are—many of them working perhaps their first job—and they have been encouraged by their employer to be proud of their passion.
A few months ago, I felt a stirring in my heart that God wanted to remind me of the things I was passionate about. I felt an urgency to reevaluate some of my priorities and write down the things that I truly love, one of which is the home. For years after stepping out of a vocational ministry position, I prayed for God to provide another opportunity in “ministry.” You see, to me, if ministry didn’t fit inside the confines of what I had known, I had a difficult time seeing that I was accomplishing anything for God. Isn’t it sweet when the Lord so gently meets us where we are and reminds us that whatever we are doing, we can do unto Him? That our very life can be an offering. That the mundane can be vastly influential. That the things we see as ho-hum tasks or a job that just paid some grocery bills, really can become worshipful and life-breathing. Isn’t it just like our God to turn our everyday life into our passion?
For me, the home has always been a passion, even when I was unaware. My husband is a homebuilder, my mother is a decorator, and I am a wife, a mommy, and a homemaker who just so happens to also run a little residential real estate business. Throughout the years, I have had the privilege of being surrounded by some fascinating women who have taught me a great deal about creating homes that reflect Jesus. In a world of materialism and competition, it is important for us to get back to the basics of what is truly essential to creating loving environments for our family and friends. Here are just a few practical things today that I have learned about making our homes a haven—a place of rest and refuge, of shelter and safety, of worship.
Dedicate your home to the Lord.
When we built our current home a few years ago, my husband took a permanent marker to the foundation and wrote out some lyrics to a worship song along with two Scripture references.
My neighbor took a picture of that foundation block before it was covered up. She delivered it to me in a frame as a housewarming gift, and you can bet that it has it’s own spot on one of the bookshelves in our living room. It is a spiritual marker for me. A marker that reminds me that we have dedicated our home to the Lord, and that we trust Him fully for provision and protection. It reminds me of God’s answered prayer, His perfect timing, and His faithfulness in leading us as His children. This of course makes me think of Joshua leading the Israelites through the Jordan. The Lord had instructed Joshua to take twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan.
“And those twelve stones which they had taken from the Jordan, Joshua set up at Gilgal. And he said to the sons of Israel, ‘When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, ‘What are those stones?’ then you shall inform your children, saying, ‘Israel crossed this Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed…that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, so that you may fear the Lord your God forever.” Joshua 4:20-24
I once heard of a family who was building a home who invited their church family to come over and each write a prayer or word of blessing upon the framed walls of their home.
Have you dedicated your home to the Lord? If you haven’t done this, ask God to lead you to the perfect verse in His Word to claim over your home. Then have that verse framed or written on a wall in your home, as a memory point for you. A spiritual marker for you to remember His goodness, and to continue to trust Him for His faithfulness.
Create a morning routine.
I am a morning person, but my children happen to be like super morning people. If I begin my day with them waking me up and incessantly asking for things (juice, breakfast, Daniel Tiger, etc.), my day—let’s just be honest—begins with the potential of me becoming annoyed in the first five minutes of my eyes being open! So for me, my day starts best downstairs, out of bed, even if it’s five minutes before they rise. This does not happen every single day, but I can always tell the difference.
I have come to learn that my kids need consistency as much as I do. They have their juice, enjoy some playtime (while Mommy makes coffee), and then we sit down for breakfast and Bible study. There are mornings when I have their attention during our Bible reading and mornings when I do not. They are still small, so I have learned to extend some grace. I do not want our Bible time to ever become rigid and forced; therefore, I ask the Lord to show me how to sculpt appropriate Bible time for a two and four-year-old. And then I trust Him to work on their little hearts.
“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7)
Have you established a morning routine? What works for you and what does not? If you find yourself struggling to find your groove, ask God to help you! He will guide you and you will soon feel a change in your mornings. The goal I have found is to create mornings that are consistent yet calm. I don’t know about you, but I do the absolute worst when I have to rush through my morning.
Almost every time I walk into my neighbor’s home, she has classical music playing. With two teenage boys, you wouldn’t exactly expect her home to feel calm, but it does! In the moments when I feel the most tension with little ones, I have found that turning on some quiet worship music helps me to refocus my attention on Jesus the most. We can create a worshipful environment in our homes by choosing music that will minister to our hearts.
“Then David spoke to the chiefs of the Levites to appoint their relatives the singes, with instruments of music…to raise sounds of joy.” (1 Chronicles 15:16)
Is music a part of your everyday routine? When you are reaching for some calmness or joy in your home, never underestimate the power of good worship music. It will impact those who enter your home, as well.
Don’t ignore the spiritual in the essentials.
My mom has always told me to take out the trash every day. “And when you empty out those trashcans,” she says, “empty out the trash in your heart before the Lord.” So, I empty out the trashcans each day. And almost every afternoon during naptime or at night after the kids go to bed, I walk the trash outside to the big green trashcan at the bottom of the driveway. And when I’m intentional, I think through the day and reflect on the things I need to confess to the Lord and repent of. The ways in which I didn’t live up to my calling. The ways I let the enemy wreak havoc on my thoughts. The ways I failed to have compassion or show grace to someone in my life. And as I walk back up the front steps, I let the Lord minister to my heart and thank Him for hearing me and loving me regardless. Because He so does.
“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” Colossians 3:17
What are some ways you can incorporate worship into your daily tasks? The Holy Spirit will meet us and minister to us wherever we are. Even in what we consider the basic, most meaningless tasks.
Make your home about your family.
When we built our home, we had a little tiny office designed off the kitchen. My husband planned to do a built-in desk for each of us in the space – one on each wall. Two and a half years down the road, that office has remained part office and part play area. After seeing the idea at my sweet friends house, I opted to forego the built-in desk and make one of the walls a chalkboard and added some hooks to display their artwork. It may not look quite as chic as originally planned, but it’s a special place for them to play. Making your home about your family does not have to be expensive. Just think through what matters to your family, and showcase it. If you have a blank wall, buy some inexpensive frames and showcase the children’s colorful artwork or their favorite bedtime songs or nursery rhymes. Put their special blankets in a basket in the family room for them to curl up with. Make a craft space. Don’t be afraid of toys. I used to have a train table as a coffee table. I have upgraded and now I just have two huge baskets under my coffee table with my kids’ toys. Create memory points within the four walls of your own home that make it special for your family. I am learning (key word: learning) that it’s not about perfection—it is about making a house a home. I have spent enough of my kids little lives chasing after them cleaning up. Now I sort of just let the mess happen and clean up when I have a free moment or when they go to bed. Part of making a house a home is embracing the season you are in and making your home fit around it.
“She looks well to the ways of her household …” (Proverbs 31:27)
How can you incorporate into your home what is special to your family? Pray and listen to what God would lead you to create, and then do so with joy!
Make your home welcoming and comfortable for others.
I have discovered that when I am intentional about preparing for company, I can enjoy the visit so much more. When I am rushed and unprepared, I get overwhelmed and I am sure the tension can be felt by others. We want our friends and family to come into our homes and feel relaxed and served. I have a friend who always bakes something small when she has company. Another friend of mine always has a good smelling candle burning. Pour some coffee and sit down with your company, allowing yourself to enjoy the visit. Pray for your visitors before they come, asking God to bless your time together.
“Practice hospitality.” (Romans 12:13b)
How can you intentionally make your home welcoming and comfortable for others? God can use the time spent at your home to minister to the hearts of your visitors.
Incorporate prayer into your daily tasks.
Lastly, pray throughout your day. While sorting dirty laundry, bare your heart before the Lord and pray through the heavy things on your mind, surrendering them all to Him. Pray for your husband and children as you fold their clothes. As you tie those shoelaces for the twentieth time that day, pray for where God will lead those little feet. Thank Jesus for His cleansing power as you wash all the dishes, and pray for those who need Him the most in your life. As you prepare dinner, ask God to help you to make wise choices that will nourish your family.
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
When we focus in on our prayer life, our minds are renewed and our hearts are redirected to Jesus. We can then focus on the things in our homes that are important to our family’s spiritual wellness.
Father, thank You for the gift of home. Please show us ways that we can practically and worshipfully create a place that reflects Jesus, to our families and to others who come through our door. Whatever we call “home” during this season of life, we know it is temporary and that we ultimately will one day dwell with You into eternity in the home You have created for us.