I must admit: I'm not a naturally good homemaker. Who really is, anyway?
If homemaking is simply shopping for home accoutrements, making pretty pillows (or pinning pretty pillows on Pinterest you intend to make), rearranging furniture, or baking cookies, then yes--I think we all would say we enjoy homemaking. But, if the real work at home involves laundry waiting to be put away, dishes that need handwashing, runaway socks that lurk about, meals that I love to make but hate to clean up after, and the ever elusive phantom dust bunnies that laugh at me from the corners of the house--then, the cultivation of a heart for homemaking is a paradigm shift and not a natural disposition.
Working in the home is just that. It's work. Our culture as seen in television would have us believe that staying at home is either the privilege of frolicking from the gym, to lunch with girlfriends, to getting pedicures; or, that it is a demeaning waste of intellectual giftedness. We rarely see an example, in our culture, of diligent homemaking-- let alone, with an inspiring attitude. And yet, the work of the home was not given to us as a burden, but as an honor and attitude of the heart.
In this month's chapter of Feminine Appeal, author Carolyn Mahaney peels back the layers of what it is to work in the home. Through biblical examples and biographical references, Carolyn helps us get to the heart of homemaking:
"Remember our ultimate mission in emulating the Titus 2 lifestyle? By 'working at home' we can present the gospel as attractive to unbelievers. Our homes can actually be a showcase for the gospel!" (p. 113)
Our adorning the gospel with our attitude and diligence in working in our home has everything to do with our motivation, our priorities, and our willingness to give our time to that which is truly a blessing to our husbands and family, and not simply for our own enjoyment. This is not formulaic, but an issue of discernment. If you struggle to sort through how to prioritize opportunities outside the home while balancing needs within the home, Carolyn offers great questions that can help you with that discernment:
"What are my reasons for considering this opportunity? Are they selfish or God-honoring?"
"Will pursuing this venture glorify God and honor the gospel?
"Is this an undertaking that will help my husband?"
"Will it enhance and enrich the lives of my family?"
"Does this endeavor hinder my role as caretaker of my home?"
As we each seek to respond by faith to the honor of diligently working at home, we can find great encouragement in this:
"Our houses need not resemble a page from House Beautiful magazine. Regardless of their size and style or our financial status, our homes can exude warmth and provide refreshment for all who walk through their doors. They should be pleasant havens for our husbands and children, sanctuaries where we offer care and hospitality to other Christians, and gateways from which we extend the gospel to family, friends, and neighbors." (p. 114)
Haven. Sanctuary. Gateway. What wonderful inspiration for what our homes can be. When Christ is the source and the audience....we can surely know the joy of such honor.