Heart Pondering

The ponderings of one Christ-following mom on raising preschoolers

The two-part home November 21, 2009

Filed under: Books,Culture,Household — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 9:53 pm

My parents have lived in a suburban Boston town for 25 years; over the past decade it’s become among the area’s wealthier towns.  When my kids and I visited my family last week I observed a crop of newly erected McMansions since we were last there a year earlier- palatial houses that occupied nearly every square inch of their lots.  Huge houses like these have been on the rise for years but this batch was the most outrageous I’ve seen.  Some were perhaps 8000 square feet – yet likely housed a family with the average 2.5 kids.  Illogical. 

I think the reason the McMansions so struck me is that I’ve been pondering home life since my recent diligence revelation last month; what, I’ve been wondering, is “home” really all about?  For the past year God’s been working hard on me about the crucial importance of parenting intentionally every day; I’ve been focusing intently on all facets of childrearing ever since. (It’s why I started this blog.)  And I fully relate to Elizabeth Krueger (of Raising Gody Tomatoes)’s viewpoint when she wrote, “I set my mind diligently and consistently on training my children. I continued with the normal mandatory tasks of life such as basic housekeeping, laundry, and cooking, but ever as I did those things, I kept in mind that my children were my top priority, not a fancy dinner or a spotless house.”  Kids more important than household issues: check.  I’ve called this to mind a number of times.  But recently it occurred to me that attending well to childrearing is really not an excuse for a disastrous house or subpar cooking.

In my “part-time working mom reflections” post, I wrote: “We live in a society that values the marketplace far above the home.  But which does the Bible prioritize as more important for humans?  The home.  The home is where hearts are nourished, where character issues are most fully played out, where central relationships – including those with God – are primarily built.  For adults and children alike.” 

A home that honors Christ, as I now reflect on it, has two key components: a) godly, intentional childrearing and b) basic household order and operational harmony.  Item A I am and have been focused on, but item B’s a kicker for me.  That’s the reality thought; it’s a two-part deal.  Home is the central space in the daily life of our family, so how it looks and functions must matter.  Its appearance and systems – or lack thereof – profoundly affect every family member.  Perfectionism isn’t the goal or point in housekeeping and meal prep, attentiveness and earnest effort should be.  As Jennie Chancey says, “Home is too important to be left to itself; it is something precious to be tended, cared for, kept, and guarded.” 

I have lacked this vision of home, seeing it more functionally as just the place we eat and sleep and hang out in, but thankfully God’s been giving me a vision for what our home could be that is pulling me forward.  “The Lord blesses the home of the righteous” (Prov 3:33), and now I’m praying for His bless not just our home but also my efforts to make it, in Chancy’s words, “a balm that holds out refreshment and encouragement without pretension.”

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2 Responses to “The two-part home”

  1. clkinggraham Says:

    I’m with you- struggling to find a balance in home life and fulfill God’s purpose for my role as caretaker of my home. Finding the time to get it all done and still maintain balance and Christ-centerdness while all the while meeting my children’s needs- physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual.

  2. heartpondering Says:

    Thanks for the comment Courtney… and being able to relate.

    Just read this in a post called “Vocation” (see http://www.studyinbrown.com/brush-strokes/2009/11/9/vocation.html) that I found so relevant and compelling to my points…

    “for me, one of the greatest tragedies of the cultural upheaval that created the pressure for two-income families is not that women went to work, but that an entire generation (and those subsequent) lost the wisdom and knowledge of home-making: that ancient and powerful art. are we beginning now to feel its loss?

    a friend of ours who comes over often, says the same thing every time he walks in the door: “it’s so CLEAN in here!” and then he marvels over the smells of food cooking and puts his feet up and closes his eyes for a deep breath. he grew up without such simple comforts and so our home – in its very ordinariness – is a mystery to him…

    i do hope for a time when homemaking is known not just as a series of tasks to be ever-simplified and disposed of as quickly as possible, but as a true and wise art form; a time when all able families will consider having someone who gives more than a cursory attention to food and house and bodies as the most basic of life necessities.”

    Amen


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