“How does a homemaker care for her heart, so that she can maintain her home with a life-giving rhythm?”
So read the writing prompt from The Homemaker’s Club Instagram page I enjoy. I immediately thought of a Bible verse I had drilled into me as a kid in the Kingdom Seekers girls’ group.
“How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word. With all my heart I have sought You; Do not let me wander from Your commandments. Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You.” Psalms 119:9-11
Bam. Scripture. Blog post done.
Just kidding, I have more to say.
We live in a world where self-care is a buzzword. Everyone is deeply concerned with finding the time to unwind and relax. And frankly, living in such a tumultuous world, it’s not surprising that we go through our work days looking for the next chance to unplug from the chaos. But it is interesting that oftentimes self-care is more about disengaging with reality than it is about fortifying the spirit. Believe me, sometimes I just want to light a candle, slip into a bubble bath with a glass of wine, and listen to true crime podcasts until I’m all shrivelled up like a waterlogged raisin. But is that what my soul needs? Or are we confusing body luxury with care for the heart?
As Christian homemakers (and for me, a Christian homeschool, stay-at-home mom), there seems to be very little time for modern self-care. I think the only “self-care” I ever saw my mother engage in was taking a nap when she had a headache—a far cry from the luxury of a spa day. My house and kids swallow me up. Sure, I still have the same personality and the same hobbies (even if I don’t get to engage in them as much as I like), but I am often stuck in the same routine: make the breakfast, clean the kitchen, teach the kids, clean the house, make the lunch, clean the kitchen, fold the laundry, make the dinner, clean the kitchen, bathe the kids, go to bed. There’s barely time to complete some of the tasks I need to do, let alone do the things I want to do.
“Do you ever get time just for yourself?” somebody asked me.
Well, I have the 40 minute drive home from the grocery store by myself after my husband meets me there and takes the kids back home in his car. So in the 10080 minutes in a week, I have 40 where I’m not in Mommy-Homemaker mode.
Last week, I was blustering about how stressed I sometimes feel. I love homeschooling and feel like I want to do this forever, but I was EXHAUSTED and cried to my husband about all the overwhelmed feelings while the girls were in dance class. I kind of wanted him to suggest I go pick up a bottle of wine and kick back in the tub while he makes dinner. But he didn’t.
“When did you last have your devotions?”
There is nothing more wonderful and annoying than being married to a godly leader. I’m so thankful that he always points me back to Christ, but gosh, does he always have to point me back to Christ???
“Last Friday,” I confessed.
“Okay, you need to do that.”
And he’s right. To maintain our homes, we must maintain our hearts. To maintain our hearts, we must go to the source of peace, wisdom, and discernment. Our relationship with the Lord is critical for a healthy home. Remember, we are but stewards of what God has given us. If we are not transforming our minds in God’s word, how can we transform our homes?
So… how do I care for my heart to keep my home?
1. Bible reading first thing in the morning. The alarm clock goes off and I read my Bible. The girls are making their beds upstairs as I make breakfast, and I keep listening to the Bible.
2. Pray. A lot. I pray by myself in the morning. I pray with the girls a scheduled three times during the school day and then numerous times outside of the classroom.
3. I eat the foods that are good for me. This seems silly, but I am prone to anxiety and depression. Certain foods trigger these chemical responses (biggest example is sugar). If I allow myself to comfort eat and put my trust in carbs to fix my mental state, I deteriorate into a slob who is unable to keep her house and be a good steward of what God has given me. So I avoid it. Simple as that. Sometimes caring for your heart means caring for your body too.
4. And because caring for your body IS necessary, sometimes I definitely encourage slipping into the tub and relaxing your muscles. Physical self-care isn’t the only way we take care of ourselves, but sometimes we need it. Even Jesus slept in the boat when He was tired. Sometimes our hearts, minds, and bodies just need a nap.
It is easy to get to caught up in the routine of life that we forget to spend time with the Lord. Even our devotion time can become a routine, rote reading of Scripture to check it off the list if we are not careful. But cultivating a godly home requires the cultivation of a godly spirit. “A woman who honours the Lord shall be praised,” says everybody’s favourite Proverb. We must care for our hearts by honouring the Lord and by seeking Him with all our being.