Titus 2:3-5

The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Keeping My Home

It is February already. This is going to be another busy month. This month will also see me celebrate six months of living here in Florida. The first six months has gone by quicker than I could have imagined. The first year of our marriage seemed to last for eternity while we were separated by an ocean. Now we have been living together as husband and wife long enough to become some what settled in our routines.

As I think about the time we have had together I am thankful. I am also aware that I am not yet all the wife and homemaker I should be. For the last few weeks I've been struggling with fatigue. Rob hasn't noticed much difference in my home keeping, but I have. I am aware that there are days when I have to remind myself to rejoice in washing the tile floors. Doing such a chore means I am here with my husband. We have a home for me to clean. I have the mobility to clean. There is much to rejoice in when washing tile floors. It is my joy and privilege to serve my husband by keeping our home.

So how do I get through the days when I find it difficult to find the energy to finish all that needs doing?

My first strategy, no matter how I feel, is that I have a list. My general weekly list is on the refrigerator door. It is split into the five days that Rob normally works, and the work is split between those days. At the bottom I also put the tasks that are done daily. This is only a list of the tasks that are done every week. We have a large home, and this allows me to pace the regular chores across the week, so everything gets done properly and regularly.

My next strategy is to have projects. I currently have several, all requiring different amounts of physical or mental energy. When my regular chores are done for the day I can then pick a project to work on. At present my projects include: priming and painting the downstairs bathroom; sewing a new church dress; cross-stitching a picture for my mother-in-law's birthday in April; restoring an old steamer trunk Rob inherited from his grandfather and completing the illustrations for a book I am writing for my niece's birthday in March. Some of these projects require physical energy. Some require mental focus. Then a few require less of both for when I am really weary.

Along with chores and projects I am learning I have to guard myself from committing to things outside the home. Before I even arrived my husband and I had committed to my volunteering at our Church school's library. I only go one day a week. It is tempting to increase the time I spend there, as it is a big job to reorganise an entire school library. However we both realise that one day a week is all that I should be doing. Ideally I wouldn't even do that, but we made a commitment and we will see it through for this school year. There are so many needs amongst the women in our Church. I am often tempted to take on more commitments than I should in ministering to these women. However I am learning that good is not the same as best. I am instead trying to be of use from my own home. I am willing to serve in any way the Lord requires of me, but look for ways to serve that don't take me from home. This can range from cooking meals for a family when the mother is sick, to counselling a woman in crisis. It can be opening our home in hospitality for overnight guests, or just for a family meal.

I have always believed that it is the wife's place to keep the home. I have spent thousands of hours since I was a teenager learning how to be a better keeper of the home. The theory was never a problem. The reality is more of a battle that I ever thought it would be. It is a battle against laziness. It is a fight against indifference. It is a war against a society that thinks keeping the home is a waste of my gifts and talents. Yet if anyone would ask my husband he would not hesitate in saying that it is worth every fight, battle and war. It is worth it when he comes home to a clean, neat and peaceful haven. It is worth it for dinner to be waiting on him as he walks in through the door at night. It is worth it when he gets to be greeted by a content and peaceful wife who is always happy to see him.

Keeping my home is the best way I can serve my husband. Keeping my home is essential to serving and glorifying my Lord and Saviour. Keeping my home keeps me at peace. Keeping my home helps me to build contentment in my life. Keeping my home is my work and my pleasure. keeping my home is what it means to be Rob's wife.

I am blessed that I can stay at home to keep our home. I don't have to go out into the world every day. I don't have to spend my life surrounded by messages that breed discontentment and unhappiness. I rejoice that I have a husband who understands and enjoys a wife who stays at home.

Praise God that His ways are always best.

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