Last night I was able to sneak away for a few moments. It wasn't far just a few steps from the rest of the house to the comforts of my bedroom. Everyone seemed occupied doing something (or so I thought) and I was hoping to grab a few moments to spend quietly. I put my pajamas on, pulled back the comforter on my bed, gathered my notebook, bible, prayer journal, and a large stack of books. It wasn't long before my time was interrupted by a curious child or two.
Of course, I still didn't get much written down on paper but again had another opportunity to think about what I want my home to reflect. My home is in motion, continually changing with constant activity. Like so many other women, I feel some days like I have reduced myself to nothing more than a maid, chef, administrator of the family calendar, bookkeeper to the family budget, organizer of all things big and small, and the official chauffeur. The world would have me believe my work at home is monotonous and something anyone could manage. After all, it doesn't take brains to wash dishes, vacuum floors, and fold laundry. But this view of homemaking presents us with the physical structure alone and leaves out the heart of what takes place within its walls.
Too often I have reduced the meaning of my home to a chore list. I fail to see the incredible role and the influence I have been given and the value of my own work.
Much of the noise and craziness of daily life in our house does come from the banging of dishes in the sink or the hum of the washing machine. But there is more going on than meets the eye. Why are the dishes dirty to begin with? Because our family has just finished a meal together, discussing and laughing over the day's happenings. Jennie Chancey in an article from 2004 titled, The Labor of the Home says this:
"The day to day cleaning, scrubbing, washing and putting away come because there is life in our house. People live here, learning, growing, and praying together. More to the point, sinners live here, all of them in need of daily grace, instruction, exhortation, and encouragement. Sinners make messes, and I don't just mean the Cheerios on the floor or the muddy prints on the wall. I mean the messes of hurt feelings, broken promises, "forgotten" tasks, words spoken in anger. Here is where the real labor of the home is found - the labor we cannot afford to neglect. Unwashed dishes aren't going to rise up in revolt by nightfall, but a fool left in his folly can do damage for generations."
I am often distracted by so many of the things that are needed to be done in order to keep my home in motion, that I don't always take adequate time to look at the "real" messes around me. So, I ask myself where are the biggest messes? What child needs instruction in what areas? Who needs encouragement? How can I more effectively point them to Christ? It is not a monumental task that takes deep theology and articulate speech. It comes through the simple daily things we encounter as we go about our day.