Homemaking is a lost art. One which we, this generation of Mamas, are reclaiming! What is a homemaker? You may be picturing Ma Ingalls here- me too! So many Millennial Mamas are peeling back the pages of time and stepping back to simpler days. Days when laundry hung on the line and bread rose in the warmth of an open window. We are traveling back in time without ever opening our front door.
They say that home is where your heart is, but for us, home is where everything is. It’s where we gather around the small table spread with homemade goods to swap tales at the end of each day. It’s where we sprawl out on the living room rug surrounded by math blocks and glue sticks for school every morning. And it’s where we tend to chickens, water plants, and explore the same backyard that lends wonder, magic, and endless earthworms to us over and over again.
Our home is our happy place. It isn’t about the house itself, it’s about the atmosphere we’ve created here- let me rephrase that- it’s about the atmosphere God has created here- using me. A simple homemaker. But what is a homemaker?
We moved into our current home almost five years ago. God had brought us here after nearly four years of praying and waiting (not always so patiently) for a home of our own. Homemaking was all new to me. In fact, the very word was new to me. I love to decorate, and right away I took to hanging lace curtains, ironing floral napkins, and moving and re-moving every frame and every vase a million times until everything was just the way I wanted it! But there was something missing. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it for a while and Hobby Lobby and TJ Maxx (although filled with things I wanted) didn’t quite seem to have what I was looking for..
It wasn’t so much a missing piece or a piece of art that tied the room together. There was a feeling that was missing a feeling you only get when you come home.
What is a Homemaker: The Heart of Homemaking
Despite all the flowers, antique teacups, and handmade pillows- something was a little off. I thought at first that maybe it was that the house looked too much like me and didn’t seem to reflect my husband’s style enough. One lap around the store with him picking the decor put that theory to rest. Let’s just say if it were up to him we’d have “modern art” (you know the type where people take a photo of a trash can and call it “art”) and iron sheep statues all over our home.
I was relieved when my sister told me that the home should reflect me since I was the homemaker. Homemaker. I think that was the first time anyone ever called me that, and I was determined to find out what it entailed! As it turns out, homemaking is an art and while polished floors and well trimmed hutches create a nice canvas, it is not the focal point of the painting.
What is a homemaker? A homemaker is the one who crafts the feeling of home. A homemaker’s touch transforms a room from four walls to an oasis. An interior decorator can beautify a space, but a homemaker shifts the entire atmosphere. Her kitchen is functional and meets the needs of her family. Her bed is adorned with more than starched sheets and throw pillows, it is a haven of rest. Because a homemaker doesn’t just make a building beautiful, she makes it feel like home.
Crafting a Home Culture
Tsh Oxenreider penned an incredible book “Organized Simplicity.” I had picked it up by chance at McKay’s for a mere 60 cents. I don’t know to this day whether I found it- or it found me, but that book has been the backdrop to so many noble pursuits. Someday I hope to thank her in person for taking the time to write it. In her book, she mentioned writing up a mission statement for your home. That’s genius! We do this in business, in school, and in nearly every other facet of life. We define purpose, plan, and expectation everywhere, so why wouldn’t we in our homes?
I ran the idea past my husband and he was all in! We took a couple days to pray about our mission statement and we both came back to the table with one overbearing word on our hearts: Peace.
A Presence of Peace
Neither of us- my husband or I- had grown up in particularly peaceful homes, so the prospect of peace existing within our house filled us with a joy that no amount of decorating could ever bring. We wrote up our statement and began crafting the peaceful presence we wanted to portray. But peace isn’t something you can buy on Amazon, and no amount of Feng shui is going to create it. We craved a peace only God could give.
Peace isn’t a crackling fireplace or soft music playing in the background. Real peace exists regardless of circumstances. Real peace can coexist with the chaos of late night dinners and babies screaming after refusing to nap. True peace hangs around even in the presence of stomach bugs, labor pains, toddler tantrums, rough days, and stressful moments.
It’s the harmony that exists in marriage, and vowing to love one another no matter what. It’s the love between two people that overflows onto chubby cheeked children. True peace is the unity between siblings even when they have had all they can stand of one another. And that kind of peace only comes from the Holy Spirit.
Peace in a home is much harder to acquire than a new piece of furniture. And it takes work to maintain it just like anything else. Everything gathers dust and loses its shine when left uncared for. So how do we as homemakers keep such a presence alive in our homes?
Well first thing first- as always, is prayer. Prayer is the only way to invite the Holy Spirit into your home and it is the only way to fully keep Him engaged there. Second, and this is the hard one, but I promise it gets easier over time: choose peace.
A mother sets the atmosphere of the home. If mama is happy and peaceful, everyone is happy and peaceful. If mama is anxious or upset, it translates over to everyone else, even if you think you are hiding it well. (I speak from experience, far too much experience..)
When your husband doesn’t help with the kitchen or the baby even though he was doing nothing more after dinner than playing on his phone: choose peace.
In those moments when your kids are arguing for the one millionth time over the same silly little thing: choose peace.
When the laundry covers the kitchen table and the dryer is beeping with another huge load and all you want to do is go to bed: yes, even then- within your own heart, choose peace.
The Job of a Homemaker
Choosing peace is by no means my default setting and time and time again I fail and have to come back with an apology. But choosing peace is choosing Jesus. And guess what? He knows what it means to be a homemaker. He was the Word at the beginning that lavishly and colorfully decorated Eden. And He knows what it means to see peace disrupted in the home He created. And, even now, He too is making us a home as we speak and no doubt filling it with His presence, with His peace. Mamas, He knows what it means to be a Homemaker. If He held His tongue on the cross to bring His children back into His home, then surely He can teach us to do it in our marriage and with our children. Mamas, let’s be more like Christ!
As with all things, when we allow Jesus to pour into us, we overflow on to someone else. Four years ago we started praying for and pursuing peace in our home, and the past couple of years the overflow began to show up. We witnessed a close friend receive salvation on our couch late one night (I’m so glad our kids got to experience that!) We’ve had another friend stop us to tell us that they feel the presence of God in our home, which is a far greater compliment than any aesthetic I could ever create. Another told us that he felt that some of the greatest growth he had ever had in his spiritual life took place around our kitchen table.
These are experiences I could never create through design or any other element of my own. Only God and His Peace can fill a home with such divine experiences that they live on in our hearts and minds forever regardless of where we may go.
The Beauty of the Homemaker
Being a homemaker is a noble profession. It is so much more than curating pieces or sewing slipcovers. It is pouring out yourself- redesigning your mind and emotions to create the atmosphere you desire in your home. I’m sure we have all heard the saying “Home is where your Mom is.” I think there is so much truth to that saying. Mothers are the heartbeat of the home. When we rise to this noble calling as the homemaker– no matter where we live, where we go, visit, move, or reside- our husbands and our children can rest easy- because wherever we are, home is.