Micah’s been in the hospital twice this year. No one just loves being in the hospital (although our children’s hospital is amazing!) so as soon as they start talking about sending us home we all start getting restless. Micah wants to sleep in his own bed. That sounds pretty good to me too. Micah wants to see his little brothers. That also sounds pretty good to me. There’s nothing better, no matter how tired you are, than stepping onto that elevator knowing that you are heading home. Down to the parking garage to see the car that Micah’s been questioning us about since he didn’t arrive in it. Then everyone’s belted in, the adults are looking for caffeine, and we’re marking off the three hours home.
Being in the hospital is exhausting. Nobody sleeps (well, Justin does), people are constantly coming in and out, and the stress level ishigher than the usual going on walks to the playground and reading books together. Both times after we’ve gotten the boys in bed, we’ve collapsed on the couch for a few minutes and talked about how good it is to be home. We’ll go through the house and pick up random things and straighten everything out but the suitcases- because really, they will wait. Then we are lulled to sleep by exhaustion and comfort under the covers of our own bed.
Home matters so much that God said someone needed to be in charge of it. And He assigned us women- the nurturers, the life-givers- the task of making a house into a home where people could come alive.
A home is more than four walls. It’s more than a roof or a refrigerator of food. Home is a growing place, a learning place, a safe place. Home is where you have a place.
You aren’t in charge of your home because you can’t do anything else. It’s not that God called men to mighty works and someone had to clean the toilet so He made women. Esther probably didn’t clean the palace when she was queen. Women in wealthy families in the times of the Bible had servants. Women in the Bible did other things, had other callings.
You aren’t even in charge of your home because you shouldn’t do anything else. Priscilla, Lydia, and Deborah’s legacy in the Bible isn’t their homes. The Proverbs 31 woman bought property and made things with her hands to sell. She was a maker.
She was a maker for other people and for her people. She made girdles and she made bread. She was a maker of a home.
Making a home is more than cleaning the floors. You could hire someone else to do that. Your kids can do that. Your husband can do that. It’s more than making dinner. Ditto to all the above on that too.
But making a place where people feel accepted and loved and pushed? That’s the real effort. Keeping your finger on the pulse of the individual needs of your family requires attention and love. Getting up in the night with children and staying up late dreaming with your husband about the future and praying over the souls of your people is the real work.
-You cook the food because souls are also nourished in dinnertime discussion. Also because we are less grouchy when we are well-fed.
-You wash the clothes so our bodies are covered and we learn to respect ourselves.
Or you pay someone to do the first things so that you can be devoted to the second.
It’s not a tick-tock, watch-the-clock, check-off-the-list day. It’s planning and having priorities and then changing the tasks to meet the needs of the people. It’s accepting the season of life you are in and seeing your home as a greenhouse and not a museum. The messes, the toys, the books all have a purpose. And the caring for them, together as a family, bonds us in the repeated work of life. We learn about God and what He says even in those mundane things.
The real work of the home is the people: taking them where they are, caring for them, loving them, shaping them toward what God has planned for them. It’s teaching worldviews and debating current events over breakfast, helping neighbors, practicing instruments, and learning skills.
It’s the training for the life we want to have and that we want them to have.
Home matters. That’s why we are supposed to care for it.