Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than an house full of sacrifices with strife.  Proverbs 17:1

It is not fancy, but still inviting. My kitchen in Mangalore, South India.

When you imagine how your home should be, what do you see? What is lacking? Should there be more discord, more fighting? More scurrying about, everyone to his own tasks? Think about your home through God’s eyes. What might He be looking for? What is He looking at? 

A wooden box of baby breaths. My husband commented on their beauty several times; how simple and how sweet.

My vision of home began with my mother, and developed from there. She felt home should be a refuge. I began there and further developed my image of a good home. A home should be a place of relative solitude. When I imagine my home, this is always a part of home. 

When I picture my home as I want it to be, here are key elements I see:

1. It is peaceful, with appropriate music playing in the background. 

2. I am reading my Bible and my grandchildren know this is important to me.

3. My home is comfortable, clean and reasonably tidy.

4. My home is always interesting, reflecting my creative side.

5. Beginning with my husband, others are pleased to be there.

This is what I have visualized. You may have never taken time to imagine what your home could be. Homekeeping may not be your thing, but if you are a woman reading this: Homekeeping should be one of “your things.”  God has suggested that we be keepers of the home. His suggestion was made strongly, more under the category of a command. To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, … taken from Titus, chapter 2. I propose to you that His suggestion was indeed a command and I remind you that His commands are not grievous, but for our benefit. If we are commanded to teach the younger women, then we must have some proficiency in the art of homemaking.

I have “not arrived,” but I have made efforts. Homemaking involves creativity and work. God allows you much freedom in how you manage your home, but does require that we do. I am reminded that the home is important and that keeping it is largely my responsibility. If we don’t know, how can we teach it?

An old jug filled with orange lilies, an everyday bowl filled with orange ranger cherries and a meaningful china candle holder with an orange bloom … voila! A vignette with what I already had. You can do it!

What can you do today? 

1. Have music playing in your home; easy for most of us. It is on our phones and computers and can be sent through speakers of varying type. If I am alone and it is cleaning day, I often choose peppier type music. Happy music. Interestingly enough, I found our daughter’s last CD motivated me to get busy. It is happy and encouraging. Journey On Ladies!

2. Begin your day in God’s Word. Bypassing this important step shows that you really do not believe in a God that can or wants to help you. Begin projects after seeking His wisdom. This is your room, Lord; help me to allow your Spirit to be evident here. Staying in the right frame of mind is easier than getting into it. This is a habit to develop too. I definitely need supernatural help here. 

3. Make your home a place that you want it to be, that calms your spirit.  Entire books have been written on this topic, but instead of wasting a day reading one, just begin. How does one eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Begin by sitting down in the place you like to read your Bible, where you like to be quiet and make that area what you would like it to be. Work out from there. That is how I do things, one segment at a time. Some prefer to get boxes and trash bags and tear through the house. Those days can end with weariness and the house being messier than it began. Bite of what you can chew and enjoy visual progress. Yes. The clutter has to be tackled, but not all in one day or one week. It never has to be perfect. I aim for calm and manageable. I love pretty too, so I aim for that too. 

Enjoy the old thing you inherited throughout the year! most old things were made to be used. This old crock was made for pickles, not roses. See how elegant the utilitarian can be.

Just a free comment here, reflecting a personal passion: Are your “pretties” inherited treasures? Get them out and enjoy them! One day they will all burn. Why keep them for your children that may not want them anyway? Don’t save all your good things for company. Let those you love most see what you love; share with your family. Allow them to enjoy your treasures. Get the good stuff out! 

4. Your home should reflect you, not Home Goods. Over the years I have acquired a lot of things to use and decorate with, but I create with things that please my eye, not HGTV. Make a home you love. Fifteen years ago, HGTV was painting everyone’s rooms red and today they walk into a red room and scoff at it. Styles change and I see beauty in most of them, but I have learned that I need to chose my favorites and hone them. I tend toward ivories, greens and clay colors. They work well together and you can easily add seasonal accents if you wish. But don’t do what I do. Look around your home; what do you favor? If you truly love red, use it! You will be less likely to tire of it. Using your favorite color well requires thought and a little creativity. Begin to weed out the rest. Become a curator of your own home. What pleases your eye? (Don’t forget to check your closet; that is where you will often discover what colors you really like.)

5. Don’t forget those you live with. Your home is their home too. Their tastes may be a little different than yours, but the need for a peaceful home is universal. That is how we were created. 

Were you to walk into my home this minute you might think I did not adhere to my own suggestions. But I do. Last night I emptied our car from a ten-day getaway and unlike many of you I did not put things away. The tidy home I came home to is rather trashed and not a grandchild in sight. I did it!

Time to get moving!

The house is quiet now; it is early so I sat down at my clean desk, to spend time with the Lord and with you, over my first cup of coffee. I will pour my second cup and begin to reclaim tidiness before it claims quietness. 

Our homes should not become idols, but their blessing requires responsibility. Give yours a little extra care today.

If you have been afraid that your love of beautiful flowers and the flickering flame of the candle is somehow less spiritual than living in starkness and ugliness, remember that He who created you to be creative gave you the things with which to make beauty and the sensitivity to appreciate and respond to His creation.  Edith Schaeffer