Update: If you are just joining us we are so excited to have you here with us. You can get up to speed by looking over these two past posts (here and here). You can view all of our posts for this study at the category Women After God’s Own Heart, found here. If your browser is not allowing you to view any attachments email me, and I will send them to you so that you don’t miss out!
The two chapters that we embark upon reading this week will most likely either be an easy read for you, or one that is quite difficult. I do not know how it feels to work full time, care for a husband and children, and maintain a home (and all that this entails). I know that it must be a difficult task, one that requires tedious planning and at times, heartache. I also know that each of us, as women, have our own trials and struggles and our own joys and triumphs. I know that I have experienced the feeling of knowing that all things are possible with God’s direction and blessings, which is why, although these chapters may be difficult for some to imagine successfully implementing, they are not impossible.
The home. A place that should be so dear to both ourselves and our families. Ben still mentions at times when we visit his parents (um…daily?) how nice their home is. “It just feels inviting and comfortable, you know?” is his usual comment. What a sweet memory that he has of his home, one where his church friends, and lost friends alike were welcomed to visit, stay a spell, eat, and laugh. A home with order, discipline, comfort, and praise. I hope that my children can reflect on our home in this manner one day! My home growing up felt the same way to me. I cannot imagine a greater blessing to a child, than that of loving, God fearing parents, and an orderly and inviting home.
Lets all keep in mind that our homes do not have to be 4000 square feet of marble and brick to be beautiful and orderly. I know a sweet lady who spent most of her life living in what most people would have thought a shack from the outside, pieced together with old uneven boards of wood and exposed insulation, but upon entering her door you found pleasant aromas of filling meals, sparkling floors that boasted many years of wear, dusted shelves made of makeshift scrap lumber, and smiles on everyone’s faces. Her home was tearfully simple, but it was clean and orderly and warm. Her rooms were always filled with children and laughter, her family couldn’t stay away! Our home is simple as well, and we have plans set for a future home with more space for more children and more fellowship with others, but being good stewards of our money we are waiting for God to show us the right time to embark on this plan for our forever home, when it will be a blessing, rather than a burden (quoting my dear friend Katie and Dave Ramesy). Until then, our simple starter home, although only 3 bedrooms large, stays organized, and inviting. I wake up smiling, thankful for its serenity and its existence. Whatever your current state of living, embrace it, organize it, and love it!
I am a huge believer that everything should have a place. It is of extreme frustration to me when Ben knocks at the door, covered in grease asking for an item and not being able to find it. I may spend lots of time organizing and reorganizing, then completely changing what I organized to make it more efficient, but our homes are very fluid places, constantly changing and evolving to adapt to the current state of our family. Do not think that anything is set in stone. If something is not working, by all means, change it up! Use your resources-Pinterest has wonderful organizing ideas, and so do your friends and family! Ask others how they organize something that is bugging you, they may have a gold mine of information for you! Form cleaning days with friends also to make it more interesting. Two can do much more than one! Spend a day with a friend organizing a room in their home in exchange for their help in your own. Spice it up! Kids are great helpers as well, and don’t feel guilty handing them a dust-rag, they love helping mommy!
Proverbs 21:5 speaks to the planner, saying that the plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance. You and I both know that planning ahead is beneficial. Having a set schedule, things set out, a routine is of the utmost importance. I often joke with people in saying that I will always have an aversion to breakfast cereal, because my Mom kept printed out chore lists (including both weekly tasks as well as daily tasks) for my older brother and I on the inside door of the cabinet where our cereal was stored. I would avoid that cabinet at all costs rather than see my chores in black text printed clearly in front of me! We were held extremely accountable for our list of chores and slacking was not an option. Once our duties were completed we were allowed to play to our hearts content, and believe you me, we had PLENTY of time to play, our chores were not hours and hours of exhausting labor, but rather a routine of upkeep, our own contribution to the order of our home (plus when you clean a bathroom every week faithfully, it doesn’t take very long, since it only has 7 days of filth layering the surfaces, rather than weeks or months!). If our chores went undone, we were punished for days or weeks, but not often did we disobey our list! We knew that our parents meant business! I joke with my younger brother now that he is older and tell him not to forget to make his bed, because Mom will not hesitate checking him out of school and bringing him back home to make it! All joking aside, I reap the blessings of this discipline that my mother taught me tenfold in my daily life. I keep my own chore list in my house, keeping myself accountable for daily tasks, only resting when every one has been completed. It is a routine that makes me happy, and keeps my family happy as well. We see that faithful friend, discipline, coming into play here once more! Training the heart to keep a tidy home, a faith filled home, an organized home, a home of God. My mother’s lessons helped me in college as well, where studying hours for a test, turning down dinner offers and fun adventures with friends was not a difficult thing to do, seeing as I had been trained to know that fulfilling the task at hand ranked above the immediate gratification that came with friends and invitations for fun.
Staying home more than we are gone may not be as realistic for some as it is for others. I know that I could leave my house once a week and accomplish all that I need outside of the home, but my mother in law, an interior decorator, has to leave her home multiple times a week to meet with clients, and shop for supplies. Our lives revolve around different circuits, but we can all, however, make the time that we spend at home filled with quality actions and resolve. We can keep order so that tidying up takes substantially less time than it would if our lives lay in disarray. One step at a time, towards our best, slow and steady, starting now!
1. Readings: Chapter 15 and 16 of our book (Pages 175-198): A Heart That Creates Order from Chaos & A Heart That Weaves a Tapestry of Beauty.
2. Activity: Make your own chore list this week to reflect your available time, and duties that need completion weekly, then implement it! Punish yourself when it goes undone (no snack before bed, no trip to Target….) and reward yourself when it goes finished. It will soon become habitual, a part of your life! Make a list for older children too, so that they can have some responsibility with keeping up the home, this is a great lesson for young girls as well-look at how my mother’s chore list has embedded itself in my life as an adult! Share this blessing with your young daughters, they will thank you later!
And while you’re at it, please water your plant too this week
3. Verse for memorization: Matthew 6:34
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
(NKJ-New King James)
Download for picture is here
This verse stand apart a bit from the readings this week, and I would have imagined that I would have chosen something reflecting God’s command for women to oversee their households or something of this nature, but as soon as I read this verse, I knew that I wanted to have it as our memorization for this week. This verse has such a direct tie with any aspect of our life. I also like knowing that we have verses tucked away to use as helpful advice for others during times of struggle in their lives and what better verse for us to pull out of our arsenal than this! It’s like a broad-spectrum antibiotic, it can cure a variety of heart aches! (My nurse is showing).
Tell us about your organization plans and lists if you want! We’d love to hear!
I am always available for questions, whether through email, or through the comments below. Happy studying!