Why do we love certain houses, and why do they seem to love us? It is the warmth of our individual hearts reflected in our surroundings. — T. H. Robsjohn-Gibbings, quoted in Welcome Home
We all desire to make our homes a haven. After all, no woman wants a cold, messy, or critical home. Whether you homeschool or not, whether you are a mom or not, or whether you are a full-time homemaker or work outside the home, your role in the home is huge!
Is your calendar full like mine? Do you feel tense, rushed, and even panicked at times when you are running late? Do you feel that the rest of the family is feeling the same way? When I am tense, the rest of the family is tense. When I am crabby, my family is crabby right back at me. I want to have a peaceful home, and I have learned that it starts with me.
Proverbs 14:1 says, The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down.
What makes a home a haven? Is it having a well-decorated home that looks as if it popped out of Better Homes and Gardens? Is it a home that has massive amounts of toys, food to feast on, video games stacked high, and every movie imaginable to view? Is it a certain number of square feet, a separate bedroom for each child, or the neighborhood in which you live?
No. It is not the things we have or the things we do not have that make our homes a haven. It’s you, my dear reader; you are the key to making the home a haven.
Let me propose a challenge: Purchase an extra-large candle and light it every day in your home. I start mine in the morning, but you can start yours at dinnertime. Do what makes sense for your family. I often have a candle burning in my kitchen, the main hub of my home. Each time the candle catches my eye, I say a prayer for peace in my home. I encourage you to do the same — watch what God can do!
How to Make Your Home Sing
Edith Schaeffer wrote, “There is a charm in making music together which not only stimulates interest and creativity, but which breaks through whining and fussing and clears the atmosphere.”
Playing music is another way to bring peace to your home. I love to play classical and worship music daily, but we also enjoy upbeat music when we are cleaning or letting loose. As I light my candle, pray for peace, and turn on soft music, I am reminded to pursue using peaceful words in my home. I want to maintain peaceful relationships. There is no room for seething anger, tattling, criticism, and back talk when together we pursue making our home a haven.
Need music suggestions? Here are mine:
If You Know How to Play an Instrument, Play It!
In our home, when I sit down to the piano to play, the atmosphere completely changes. All whining and complaining disappear, and dancing and singing begin. This is what the book of Psalms is all about — making a joyful noise unto the Lord. So pull out your dusty instruments and start playing.
Sing or hum in the kitchen while you cook, in the bathrooms while you clean, or while you drive in the car. Force yourself to open your mouth and let your joy of the Lord be heard by your family. It will be contagious!
Strike Up the Band!
My typical morning includes a cup of coffee, a lit candle, piano music, and time in God’s Word. Your musical preferences may vary from mine, but whatever type of music you like, play it while you go about your daily tasks and you’ll find a smile on your face.
Use Peace-Filled Words
- Instead of raising your voice in anger, lower your voice to a whisper. Proverbs 15:1 says, A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
- Don’t let someone else’s anger make you angry. Stay in control of your emotions, and do not let the other members of your family dictate your mood.
- Remember, yelling at a bud won’t make it bloom. Your home will not blossom into a haven if you are not controlling your temper.
- Continue to pray for peace in your home. Never cease praying. James 5:16 says, The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
Cleaning Up Clutter
Managing clutter is a huge modern-day problem for homemakers, and it can turn a haven into a hassle. Here are some ways to tackle this problem:
Pick an area of your home where clutter collects, and put something there to contain it. For example, I keep a small basket at the bottom of our stairs to collect all the little things that need to go upstairs. Truthfully, I need one the size of a laundry basket because often we are carting up stuffed animals, books, toys, hair ribbons, my purse, shoes, and more. Put bins to catch papers in the kitchen, office, and family room. I also love using buckets to organize under my sinks in the bathroom.
Set a Timer
Set a timer for twenty minutes, grab a trash bag, and walk through your house, throwing stuff away. Throw away old magazines, broken toys, and papers. The rule is, if you haven’t used or worn it in a year, either give it away or throw it away. Clutter attracts clutter. If you are a pack rat, this is a challenge. Take this challenge; you won’t regret it. And trust me: you won’t miss these things! Things will never make you happy. Unused clutter only weighs you down.
Organize Clutter Spots
List a few of the spots in your home that make you visually stressed because of all the clutter. Now organize them with hooks and containers, or move it all to a drawer, closet, or the trash can. Work on cleaning up clutter. Throw things away.
Deal with Spiritual Clutter
Oftentimes we have spiritual clutter that weighs us down. First John 1:9 says, If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Pause for a moment and ask yourself, “What sin have I not confessed that is getting in the way of a peaceful home?” Now confess it. All of us carry the stain of sin. At any moment we may sin again… and often we let ourselves off the hook too easily. We justify our sin by saying things like, “I’m just discerning, not judgmental,” or “I’m just truthful, not rude,” or “ I’m just sharing prayer requests, not gossiping.”
The earlier in your life you confess sinful strongholds, the better. I encourage you to root out those sins now before they become habits. Do not get cozy with sin. Repent daily. Free yourself of spiritual clutter.
Create Family Nights
J. R. Miller says, “The richest heritage that parents can give is a happy childhood, with tender memories of father and mother. This will brighten the coming days when the children have gone out from the sheltering home, and will be a safeguard in times of temptation and a conscious help amid the stern realities of life.”
In our home, I’m the family night coordinator. If there’s going to be a game night, pizza night, movie night, or a social happening, it’s because I planned it. I’m guessing I’m not alone in this. Growing up, my mother did a great job of creating fun family memories. They weren’t complex or over-the-top, but they happened! They happened year in and year out, and now the memories of those fun moments give me security, comfort, joy, and a bond with my family that will never be broken.
A wise mother knows how to have fun and how to be tender. She knows the healing touch of her hands. Jesus used His hands to touch and heal many. There is power in the gentle expressions of love through warm embraces and cuddles.
Mark 10:16 says that Jesus “took them [the children] in His arms and blessed them, laying His hands on them.”
Bless your family with tender, physical love.
The Art of Cooking
God created taste buds, the sense of smell, and the eye that is drawn to beautiful things. To please our senses, He created crunchy green peppers, fuzzy peaches, juicy watermelons, sour lemons, and sweet potatoes!
Cooking should not be thought of as drudgery but as an art. It’s the coming around the dinner table that blesses the souls of our families. In Luke 11:3, Jesus says to pray, “Give us each day our daily bread.” In America, we are so blessed we rarely have to ask God for our daily bread, but we must remember to give thanks for our food. Bowing our heads as a family in thankfulness to God is a gift we give our children and a memory they carry with them into adulthood.
I remember when I was a child, shortly before dinner would be served, a loud beeping sound would come from the kitchen phone. In the olden days, when a phone was taken off the hook, it would beep very loudly at a fast pace so you were alerted to put it back on the hook. Well, my mom took the phone off the hook on purpose because she did not want our time around the table to be interrupted. She guarded our family dinnertime.
Children and teens who eat a family dinner tend to get better grades, are less likely to do drugs, have healthier eating habits, and communicate better with their parents… and yet baseball coaches schedule practice right in the middle of dinnertime. What do we as moms do? We have to get creative! We need to move dinner to a later time or we have to say no to obligations that stand between us and our family time. We must not cave in and abandon the tried-and-true practice of eating dinner together. It truly is important.
Edith Schaeffer says, “Food cannot take care of the spiritual, psychological and emotional problems, but the feeling of being loved and cared for, the actual comfort of the beauty and flavour of food, the increase of blood sugar and physical well-being, help one to go on during the next hours better equipped to meet the problems.”
Alexis and I connect over peeling potatoes and cracking eggs. She loves to stir a pot of soup or pour the ingredients into the mixing bowl. She enjoys making meals appealing by pulling out fancy napkins and china alongside me. We don’t have to have guests to pull these things out; we make our home a haven when we treat our own family as worthy of these special touches.
Let’s bless our families this week with special surprises from our kitchen! And while the candles are lit and the music is going, take your husband by the hand and slow dance cheek to cheek — the children will love it! Grab them by the hands, too, and swirl them around. Have fun together as a family as you walk with the King!
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In what ways do you try to make your home a haven for your family? In what areas do you struggle? Leave your comments on our blog. We’d love to hear from you!