"If the God you believe in as an idea doesn’t start showing up in what happens to you in your own life, you have as much cause for concern as if the God you don’t believe in as an idea does start showing up. It is absolutely crucial, therefore, to keep in constant touch with what is going on in your own life’s story and to pay close attention to what is going on in the stories of others’ lives. If God is present anywhere, it is in those stories that God is present. If God is not present in those stories, then they are scarcely worth telling." ~ Frederick Buechner

25 February 2013

Making Home Beautiful

A couple years ago, I read a book that made me think twice about housework. I don't remember the title of the book or the author. But she (I'm most certain it was a woman; after all, how many men do you know who write books that involve housework?) talked about how keeping the house is an act of worship and love.

It is doing the beautiful work of creating a haven for our families, a small glimpse of heaven on earth. It isn't just about keeping a clean and tidy home but about filling it with kind words, good smells, scrumptious food, lots of hugs.


Honestly, doing the chores is the easy part for me. The hard part is having a cheerful heart while mopping up the dirty little footprints on the kitchen floor right after I've just finished putting the cleaning supplies away. Looking at the growing stack of folded laundry and gladly putting it away myself instead of grumbling about my husband's priorities. Giving gentle kisses instead of impatient words, joyful laughter instead of angry shouts, uplifting smiles instead of pointed looks.

Oh, those looks. I grew up with plenty of those. They withered my spirit whenever they were directed my way. I don't want that in my home, for my family.
But while I work on being a beautiful person, I can do small things to create a beautiful dwelling place for my family.

In this day of over-sharing all over the internet, it's easy to get caught up in having a magazine-cover-worthy, perfectly coordinated, classy-but-trendy house. Interior decorating has taken a whole new turn with the creation of Pinterest. I thought it was bad enough when all those shows began popping up on TLC and HGTV. Don't get me wrong ... I was a huge fan of "Trading Spaces" back in the day. But these days, they have taken "over the top to an entirely new level." Multimillion dollar closets? A second, vacation home in Europe? Really, do normal people live that way?

The thing is, we (my family) are not magazine-cover-worthy, perfectly coordinated, classy-but-trendy people. We want our home to reflect our interests and values. We want it to be a place where people feel welcome and comfortable, not one where they walk in and ooh and aah over the decor or how hip and trendy we are (or aren't, as is the case). We want it to reflect the divine grace that covers our broken, imperfect, God-needy lives.

One of the reasons we loved this house when we saw it was that it wasn't pristine and flashy with all the *bling* of a brand new house.

It felt like a home.

Of course, it's always good to set aside time for this -->

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