“Something Smells really good! My husband, Jeffrey exclaims every Friday night when he walks in the door. Most weeks, he has been around the world and back and when he walks in that door, I want him to feel that he’s really home. What he doesn’t realize is that what feels very casual, is, in fact, quite deliberate:: The music is playing, all the lights are on, there are flowers everywhere, and chicken and onions are roasting in the oven.
I didn’t always know how to make a home. It took time and lots of experimentation. Over the 38 years we’ve been married, I’ve tried everything, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. But I’ve evolved a style that seems to work for me: big sofas for a nap on Sunday afternoon, comfy reading chairs with good light and a view out the windows for daydreaming, great CDs piled up by the stereo, and my favorite old videos next to the television. I like knowing that there are new magazines on the coffee table, delicious French teas in the pantry, and bath bubbles next to the tub.
A good home should gather you up in his arms like a warm cashmere blanket, soothe your hurt feelings, and prepare you to go back out into that big bad world tomorrow all ready to fight the dragons.”
This description is written by Ina Garten in, Barefoot Contessa At Home. Her description of home evokes all kinds of pictures in my mind, and I hope in yours, too. This is what I would love for my home to feel like. I want my family and guests to feel like they are wrapped in a warm blanket, and comforted by all the things that touch their senses when they walk inside my home. How does that happen? It happens by intentionality, deliberately thinking about how to add that warm coziness to our homes.
As we continue our review of the book, A Woman after God’s Own Heart, by Elizabeth George, we’ve come to the chapter about having a heart that makes a house a home. The opening paragraph’s description here of what home should feel like is good, but oh, as believers we need to add another element to our home, and that is the presence of the Lord and the love of Christ. The home that is warm and inviting is this way because it is a Gospel-centered home. The love of Christ is what motivates us, and his Word guides us. How do we do this? Proverbs 14:1 that says, Every wise woman builds her house, but the foolish plucks it down with her hands.
Who is responsible for making our house feel inviting, warm and a place where we feel loved, accepted, and at rest? That person is you and me as the wife, or as the female person in that home. It is our responsibility.
As the woman, we create the atmosphere in our home. Elizabeth reminds us that even as we set the thermostat to make our home warm or cool, we do that relationally as well. If we feel things are “cooling-off”, we mindfully do things to warm it up. If there are cold shoulders or cold feet, we give a good word that makes the heart glad, and we remember that A merry heart makes for a cheerful countenance. Is this always easy? No! It takes humility and fellowship with God for us to be able to create this kind of atmosphere and environment. If things are heated up – tempers or words, we are the ones that bring in the cooling, soothing words like a soft answer that turns away wrath. Proverbs 15:1
What are the things that we will be doing if we are going to be building a refuge? Our home ministers to our family more than we could ever imagine. Elizabeth shares a memory about a very stressful time in her husband’s life. Everything had been piled on him in one day and at the end of an exhausting Workday, he arrived home saying to Elizabeth, “Oh, Liz, I knew if I could just make it here to our home, everything would be okay.” Does our family know that everything is going to be safe and inviting when they get here? This isn’t talking about a home that is perfect, but a home that is like a hospital to heal broken hearts.
In order for us to do this, we have to avoid the negative. The positive part is the building, but the negative part is the one who pulls it down with her hands. To pull it down means to destroy it or to ruin it. How can a woman pull down their own house?
- She can do it by causing damage through working destruction. If she has anger out of control, it throws, it’s slams, and it rips. Anger out of control speaks words that kill.
- She can do it by passivity. We simply fail to work. The foundation of our home erodes because of our laziness. It may be neglect or forgetfulness, or by not spending enough time at home. There’s also the problem of too much TV, or too much time on the Internet. We’re spending too much time looking at our phone. If we are women after God’s heart, we will have a desire to build up, rather than tear down.
How do we do it?
1. Understand that wisdom builds. A wise woman will understand that she is on assignment from God and that this is a lifelong endeavor. We will never get to the point where we have completed it. Every day we must be building. That’s what wisdom does, it builds and builds and builds. We avoid any attitude or action that does not build. Stop and think about what you have done today in your home. Have you built up your home with your words and your actions and your intentionality? Or have you torn down by your words or your lack of care for your home? If that’s the case, hang on because there’s hope!
2. Decide to begin building. It’s never too late to begin or to start over again. Satan would want us to believe that we’ve blown it and we might as well give up. But we can begin anytime and that even means today! Think about it, just reading a post like this, or reading Elizabeth’s good book could be just a little push that you need to begin again. Begin by making a positive decision to do your work in the home willingly and with all your heart. Our attitude is so important! At the same time, make sure you are stopping any habits that would tear down and destroy your home.
3. Every day do one thing to build your home. Elizabeth talks about reading an article entitled, Ten good reasons to make your bed. She had struggled with this. When she read that making your bed improves your room by 80% because it’s the largest piece of furniture in your room, she realized making this a habit could just change everything in the bedroom.
Make a list of things that need to be done…adding something, making a repair needed, setting up a spot so that your area can be a refuge. Do you need a lamp somewhere? Do you need a soft pillow for the back on a couch? Do you need to replace your sofa so that you have one that is inviting and comfortable? Make a list and then pray about it and add those things a little at a time.
You may also want to deal with an attitude that if it is transformed by God, could make a huge difference in the atmosphere of your home. If it’s discontentment, you will learn contentment in your place of prayer. If it is anger and frustration, you will find peace through God’s Word.
In this one verse, God gives us wisdom that can create a beautiful, inviting a home that will last a lifetime. A wise woman builds her house but the foolish plucks it down with her hands. Look in your heart and your home and ask yourself if you’re being wise or foolish. Ask the Lord to show you which woman you are. Psalm 33 :4, 11 says For the word of the Lord is right; and all his works are done in truth, The counsel of the Lord standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.
God wants us to make our house a home, and we don’t have to do it alone! He will be there to help us every step of the way.
Which of these areas do you need to work on with God’s help? Write it down and then pray about it every day. Your family life depends on it!
4 thoughts on “A Heart That Makes a House a Home”
A heart that makes a house a home…”how bad could that be?” 🙂
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Mine isn’t in the Hampton’s but I would say it’s a “good home” – just like “good vanilla!”
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Your barbecued chicken looks delicious – I went searching in your recipe file for the recipe! Is it the one for Grilled Chicken? Thank you for this inspiring post.
Thanks, Kathi. I don’t think I’ve ever posted my recipe for barbecue chicken. I basically mix up ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce and garlic powder and spread it on the chicken after it’s pretty much done. Maybe I can do a post on this in the near future! It’s so yummy!
I’m glad this post inspired you! Let’s keep on building!