by Kary Martin
The Heartbeat of the Remnant, December 1998
Christian women readily admit that it is not God’s will for them to be the head of the home. Does that mean that their lives have little impact on their families because they aren’t in the ‘driver’s seat’? What is the role of a woman in her home?
I once heard a preacher give this quote and it really set me to thinking: “There can only be one head in the home and God has already appointed who that is: the man. In every Christian home that matter is settled. This does not mean that the woman is of lesser value, for there is also a very important role for her to fill. That role is to be the HEART of the home.”
In the physical sense, the heart is the most essential or vital part of our bodies. Once the heart stops working, nothing else can function either. If the heart is functioning poorly, the rest of the body suffers.
Recently I had a first-hand experience how THAT applied to our home! I caught the latest bugs that were going around and for several days I did nothing more than I absolutely had to. The rest of the time was spent lying on the sofa. What happened in our home? — I’m sure you can guess! In a very short time everything became disorganized and in a state of chaos. Dirty dishes piled up around the sink, clothes were not hung up or put in the hamper, toys were left scattered throughout the house, and Baby empties the contents of a drawer on the floor. And where’s mom? She’s lying on the sofa, feeling sicker than ever because everything is in such disorder.
That got me thinking jut how many things hinge on a mother. There seems to be 101 things that we as mothers need to look after. Our work is never done, we can always find something more to do! There are meals to prepare, groceries to shop for, clothes to wash, iron and mend, clothes to buy or sew, dishes to wash, windows to clean, spider webs to sweep out of the corners, the garden needs weeded, the lawn mowed, and ho, the baby needs changed again! There is freezing and canning and home-schooling. It also takes time to teach our children to pick up their toys, put their own clothes away, play nicely together, and THAT list never seems to have an end! Do you get the picture of this ‘super woman’ called Mom?! And amid all these things we need to look after, our attitudes and our orderliness and organization (or lack of it!) are are shining through bright and clear. It is amazing to watch how disorder in the home and negative attitudes feed each other. When my house is in a ‘state of disaster’, I start feeling discouraged and give in to other negative thoughts. Because of my negative, self-centered feelings, my heart is not into my duties and responsibilities. Then my children pick up on my attitudes and their actions are enough to drain any energy and ambition that I did have. And so the snowball grows ….
I have visited in a home already where the mother is a very disorganized person. She gives me the picture of a man who is drowning, but he can just manage to keep his head above water. It looks very doubtful that he’ll ever make it to shore. It takes all his strength just to keep his head above water, and he keeps paddling away. this poor, disorganized woman can just barely keep up with her workload. She is always finishing yesterday’s wearisome duties. Today’s work is piling up. She is so pressured from the busy-ness of the day that her interaction with the children is far from constructive. She gets the bare necessities done, but it is doubtful that she will ever have time to make a positive influence on her church, neighbors, children, or husband. Being in her home for an hour is exhausting.
On the other hand, I have observed homes where there is a whole row of children. Everyone is neat and clean, the children are happy, content, and well mannered, The atmosphere of the home is relaxed, cheerful and inviting. We have a pleasant evening visiting and leave their home feeling physically and spiritually refreshed. To me, this speaks volumes about the lady of the house. A lot of planning and work was done behind the scenes. A lot of things happened which only God saw.
And now, mother, perhaps it’s time to take a look at yourself. Study yourself in the mirror for awhile. I have 3 precious, little mirrors at my house who are constantly reflecting who I am and what I am doing. Are your children fighting and whining all day? I very much doubt that their mother is singing as she goes about her work. Are your children criticizing and finding fault with everyone and everything? Perhaps they have heard you doing the same. If you as a mother are moody, disrespectful, and self-centered, your children are likely to be much worse.
On the other hand, if your children are sweet, cheerful, and obedient, if your home is relaxed, peaceful and inviting, then praise God for His overwhelming grace and blessing on your life!
Dear sister, if you know in your heart that your home needs a major overhaul, or maybe you just need to ‘push the reset button,’ start in your own heart. Don’t try to straighten out your children before they can see those godly traits portrayed in your life. Take your ugly attitudes to Christ and allow Him to cleanse you. Beg Him to teach you how to be a virtuous, godly, orderly woman. Humbly open your heart to your husband; get his advice and suggestions. Get advice from older sisters, if possible.
Once your attitudes have been cleansed and changed by Jesus’ power and blood, then set about to bring order to your house. By God’s grace, keep your home in neatness and in order. Create a cheerful, pleasant atmosphere. Here are a few practical suggestions to get you started ….
1. First of all, maybe you just plain need to get rid of some things. The more stuff you have, the more potential there is for a cluttered house.
2. Do your work, let the children play, let the house get all messed up, but when evening comes around, always tidy up the house before going to bed. To me, it is a very discouraging way to start the day by waking up to a messy house. When I have to start the day doing yesterday’s dishes, folding yesterday’s wash, and cleaning up yesterday’s messes, I feel on behind all day. A little time spent in the evening will pay in rich dividends tomorrow morning!
3. Write things down so you can remember them. I have a calendar hanging by the phone where I write down doctor and dentist appointments, when the car needs to go to the garage, which day I signed up to take a meal to so-and-so, and the list goes on and on. I would be lost if I never marked things on my calendar. Also, keep a shopping list. Mark things down when you need to replenish your supply of this or that. This will have you a second or third trip to the store. Write notes to yourself and tape them in a place where you will see and remember to do a certain thing.
4. Teach your children to take care of their own personal items. Even a one-year-old can put his clothes in the hamper, his nightie on the hook, and his shoes on the shelf, if only his mother takes a few minutes each day to teach him. There is a secret at work for you here: when the oldest child has learned this well, he will help teach the younger ones. The younger ones love to follow the examples of big brother and sister.
5. Plan ahead, especially when you know you are facing a busy time. When company is coming and staying several days, I plan ahead by writing out menus for the duration of their stay. I make sure all necessary ingredients are on hand and then prepare on ahead as much of it as possible. This gives me peace of mind and allows me to enjoy more time with my company!
These are just a few ‘starters’ for you. I’m sure you will soon find other creative ways for an orderly home. It would be interesting to hear what you come up with!
In closing, here are a few verses for you to meditate on:
“Every wise woman buildeth her house, but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.” (Proverbs 14:1).
(Speaking about the virtuous woman) “Her children shall rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her” (Proverbs 31:28).
God bless each of you busy mothers out there. I know your job is not easy. I know that most of the things you do go unnoticed and unthanked, but continue to build your home for the honor and glory of God. “And let us not be weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap if we faint not.” (Galatians 6:9).