This morning my mind has been busy pondering my role as wife and homemaker. Oh, how I love being in our home, taking care of our apartment, caring for my husband, and preparing for our coming baby! There is no job I would rather have than this one! The Lord is continually teaching me, stretching me, and showing me plenty of areas in my own life that I need to work on. Who would have ever guessed that a housewife would have to learn and grow in simple ways? Isn't it supposed to be an "easy" job? That's at least how the world tends to view it. Yet, oh how wrong that view is! Being a homemaker and housewife is a job that requires planning, preparation, perseverance, patience, and a peaceful joy in each menial, daily task! Speaking of daily tasks, the following is what the Lord has been showing me about the importance of the small things I do, or don't do, in our home.
Two days ago, I had spent the day out going to my midwife’s appointment, looking at maternity stores, getting ideas for our coming baby; I went grocery shopping for the week; I came home, baked a new recipe for dinner, and had candles burning and fresh food when Kyle walked through the door of our home after work. When my husband is greeted by a warm smile, a hot dinner, and a clean house, there is an almost immediate sense of calm and rest that comes over him. He is able to enjoy his evening at home, even if he’s had a stressful day at work.
However, yesterday, as my husband walked through the door of our home, I saw a different scenario. I noticed the sigh in his eyes and his tired quietness that spoke volumes to my heart. I was quickly convicted! Instead of having a clean home, I had spent the day working on a sewing project that I had wanted to accomplish. There was piled up laundry on the back of the couch that I had been too lazy to put away, sewing materials stacked on the kitchen table (which I did at least stack before he got home! Haha), the ironing board standing in the living room with more sewing materials on it, dishes piled in the kitchen sink from dinner the night before, and I’m in the middle of slapping some beans, lettuce, and tomatoes on corn tortillas for us to quickly eat before heading back out the door to our church community group. Now, my gracious husband is always quick to hold his tongue and not judge or critique me. He is so very understanding and compassionate. Yet, even then, a wife knows when her husband is disappointed.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I notice such a drastic difference between the two days! Granted, every day will be different and some days are busier than others. Also, there is nothing wrong with sometimes having to throw together a quick meal or work on a special project. What I did realize and learn from this is that if I had just taken about forty-five minutes before Kyle got home to pick up the living room and do the dishes; our home would have been much more welcoming and a place of rest for my husband, even if we were eating bean burritos for dinner! Yet, in my mind I had been justifying that fact that at least I was showered, with makeup on, and had stacked up the sewing stuff before he walked in! If that’s the standard I was placing on myself before my husband returned home, how sad for him!
I have been reading in a new book, “Heaven at Home: Establishing and Enjoying a Peaceful Home” by Ginger Plowman. I was reminded of the important role that I play as wife and soon-to-be-mother. She states: “The woman sets the ambiance of the home. If Mom delights in the role that God has ordained her to fill, she sets the stage for the other family members to do the same…. If Mom is uptight and stressed-out over the responsibilities and realities of life, her tension will rub off on the attitudes of her family. If she is neglectful of her everyday duties or negative about the problems that life brings her way, her attitudes will be reflected in the thoughts and actions of her husband and children.” (pg. 19)
I think those of us as wives can tend to underestimate how much of an impact we actually have on our families. I know I do! It’s so easy to get caught up in the mundane things of life and become board with cleaning, cooking, and keeping the home (on top of countless other duties we attend to during the week). Yet, when our motivation to do these things is to first and foremost honor and glorify the Lord and secondly our husbands, what a great blessing this will be to our family! What husband would not love to come home to a wife who is peacefully fulfilling her God-ordained role and duties? Now, obviously, we are not perfect! Even Ginger Plowman says: “How do you keep your focus on making your home a haven when you need a haven too? You absolutely can’t do it in your own strength… You can do it only when you rely on the strength that Christ works in you, the love that he supplies, and the perseverance that the Holy Spirit provides.” (pgs. 39-40)
Our husbands do not seek perfection in our homes. They do not expect for everything to always be “just so.” (At least mine doesn’t. He knows that is not a reality for me. Haha…) However, they do seek a wife who is graciously, submissively, and joyfully fulfilling her role and consistently striving to keep their home in peace and order. A number of years ago, before I was ever married or close to being married, a godly, young married friend of mine encouraged me with these words when I asked about how to get everything done to please my husband. She encouraged me that not every day you are able to actually have things perfect when your husband walks through the door. However, it is wise to ask your husband what would specifically bless him the most to see as he walks in. Some husbands don’t care if the home is a little messy from kids, as long as there is a hot meal of the table. Yet some husbands would rather help prepare dinner with their wife, or play with the kids while the wife cooks, but wants a clean home when he comes in. Or there might be something else that specifically encourages a husband that he will be glad to share with his wife if she only asks.
Knowing what blesses my husband when he comes home, a clean house, has been helpful for me to remember. I know what to work on each day and what should be my focus during the late afternoon, soon before he arrives home. Even as a child, I remember my mother would have my brother and I start picking up our rooms at 4:30 to prepare for the arrival of my dad coming home from work while Mom was busy in the kitchen cooking away. Little did I know that God was using those many years of watching my mother prepare for my dad’s arrival as a training ground for my own home and marriage!
Most importantly in all of this, as we seek to honor our husbands and to keep our homes, we must stay focused on Christ and remember that we are not doing this just for a pat on the back or to receive praise from our husbands. We are doing this to bring honor and glory to the name of Christ. Ginger Plowman says: “True beauty radiates from a woman who gracefully walks the path designed for her. To walk the path of God’s will is to show others the beauty of Christ.” (pg. 23) What could be a better picture of the bride of Christ than to see a woman in her home, joyfully fulfilling her role as she seeks to honor and please her groom and serve him with joy?