Figuring Out Homemaking–How God Wants To Teach Us His Heart

What have I been given? What does it mean to make a home? Am I adequate to the task? What is it that God has given me, given me to work with, given me to be happy? Do I even see it all, know it all? Do I see what is right in front of me? I am jolted out of my daydream…”Mama, you gotta paint my finganailsth.” And I think it, and almost don’t say it, but then it comes out anyway, “Bella, I already painted your fingernails several times.” I remember how stubborn she was when I asked her to say thank you. “Bella, are you going to tell Mama thank you for painting your nails?” And I knew that I wanted something that she wouldn’t {couldn’t} give. I am not sure if it was her acting like the child, or me.

She is teaching me again. Here she is, she has come to me, asking to be served. Who else would need so much from me, demand so much, ask to be served this way, and give me the opportunity to learn what it is that God wants to teach me? Didn’t I ask Him to teach me patience? Didn’t I pray, brokenhearted over my wretchedness, “God, give me patience, teach me to be more like you, gentle and help me to understand kindness and how to speak and act with gentleness, meekness and kindness. Let my words be soft to them.”?
So I tell her, “Lay out your fingers like this”, and I grab the drippy red bottle. I see her fingers splayed out like my heart is splayed out, and in these moments He speaks to me, and Jesus says, “My body was splayed out like this for you, and my heart, open and exposed for the world to see, ached for you and for my Father. The blood that ran, ran for you, for these moments, so that you can have life, so that you can give to her what I have given you. Grace.” And I know that I, being the vilest of creatures that spat on Him on that sacred cross with my hateful heart, the heart that just wants to be left alone, and does not want to serve–it is I that He has come to save. In this light, the light of His gospel, it is not hard to serve. And yet, underneath all of this grace being shed, is a heart that is fearful and is afraid to ask the question, “How am I going to serve and be good, and be all of these things that You have called me to be, when my mind is battered and weary, and I cannot see straight, cannot think straight, cannot sleep, cannot feel normal?”

Husband has been gone out of town. I know that it will be late, and I know that he will be tired when I finally kissed him at the door. I know I will not see him, know that I will be busy getting the children to bed, that he will eat, take a shower, and finally fall into sleep that he desperately needs. So I am astounded at how much joy and satisfaction there is in my evening. I marvel at how God can change my heart. I do get a little stressed and I do forget and yell. But I guess thats where the grace part comes in, because we are all unworthy. I don’t let Satan win this round. To finally be in the place again, that I was meant to be, after so much sensless toiling over books, late at night, til my body felt it would break in half –my heart rings out and sings “YES” –this is where I find joy. The little nitch that God has created me to be in–the nitch of serving my family, of making a happy home, of creating a safe resting place, and gently (sometimes not so gently) teaching and guiding my girls. I feel Him calling to me, saying “Come up here, come up now, my Beloved…rest in my arms, and let me be your shephard. Let go of the things that you worry and fret over and let me lead you to the place that I will plant you and make you blossom with the fullness of all that I am”.

The girls and I clean and make home tidy, have supper at the table and play the “love game” as Ivy calls it, where you go ’round the table and each person says something they love about someone else, or why they love them. Lorna says, “I love Mama because….she takes care of us even when she doesn’t want to.”

These love games are hard for me, but very needed to scrape the dull surface and get underneath where the deep dark crevices are that need filling with God’s light. And it is SO satisfying–it brings me so much joy that they do this love-game without being prompted. A knock at the door, it is dark, and Husband’s shadow can just be made in the dim light and glare of glass, his hands full of gifts from family he’s been with. Candles lit, and towel laid out for his bath, he goes and we are left to the elation of the tearing and ripping of paper, and shrieks of delight. I indulge in their happy, glowy faces, and Bella saying, “Isth my baby!”

After we clean everything up, I lay the baby down and go to the older girls’ room and climb in bed with them. I have the book, “Stepping Heavenward” in my hand. Lorna says, with a frown,” What is that?” I read the cover to her, “Stepping Heavenward–One Woman’s Journey to Godliness”. She says “What does godliness mean?” “It means to be like God and this is one girl’s journey, or a story about how she became more like God”. “Oh”. I read the first entry to her, about Katherine’s birthday, and how she feels she is getting so old at 16, and about how she can’t be good and wants to be kind to her mother but just when she means to be good, the most awful things come out of her mouth. And when we are done, Lorna says,”This book is very interesting! I love this book! Can we read it together until the book is finished?” I say, with amazement, and a smile of satisfaction, “Yes, of course”. Amazement that she is so interested in “godliness”, satisfaction that she loves the book, amazed that my idea worked, amazed that she knows what all the words mean, satisfaction and wonder at how the moment I climb into the bed with them, just that simple act, opens the wild childhood closet of time, and they just talk to me, and I learn things about them I would not have known. This is so, so priceless.

And as I tuck blankets around little shoulders, so thankful that I can have this effect–that I can comfort and love–I think I see what it is that God has given and what it is He is saying. I see that I can open my heart to Him and receive His grace, His blood shed, love and cherish that cross, that blood spilled, and when my heart is connected to Him this way, then I can love my children this way as well. When I throw open my heart’s doors to Him in wild abandon, then He fills it with so much love to give, so much grace. And my heart is opened to my little ones and then serving isn’t hard, because I begin to crave these moments, when the scales fall off and I see that these moments are holy. And I see so clearly, He has answered me with His light, His Cross, His Word, His Gospel–this is how to make a home.

And I don’t have to be afraid.

#71 tiny red nails

#72 Mama needs a journal to write down thanks, and Lorna’s response

#73 how Lorna says, “I’ll let you have my journal—it’s small; i don’t write in it anymore. I’ll just tear out my secrets.”

#74 how when I ask her what kind of secrets these are, she says, “none of your business—that’s why they invented diaries—it’s none of anyone’s beeswax!”

#75 babies wet and clean wrapped in towels, skin soaked and shiny

#76 three little heads hiding under covers in the thunderstorm

#77 candles glowing warm and making home cozy

#78 story making eyes sleepy

#79 how a bedtime story can make any bad day seem good

#80 how when trying to ply a thank you out of Bella, she just looks at me wide-eyed, and says in an almost-whisper, “your eyes are big”.

#81 how I melt and forget about my adamant request, kiss her little rose lips

#82 how Lilly climbs like a little monkey up in a chair next to me and says “ooh-ooh” like a little monkey. Maybe she is a monkey. She knows how to get Mama’s attention and I love it.

#83 how Bella comes to me when i’m at the computer, and says “Mama, I wanna get in you lap and watch heppalump
(emphasis with a pop on the “p”)

#84 that she asks so sweet, that she wants to be held, because if not, i may forget to hold her

#85 unexpected gifts on such a normal, exhausting, base day

#86 joy on their faces and hearing their little excited voices

#87 Bella’s cute three year old lisp

#88 Ivy asking to take pictures with the camera while we read

#89 strap around her neck, camera in hand, making pretend she is a professional photographer, just like Mama

#90 posing with her book, already endeared to her because we share it together at night

#91 Lorna so tired from helping Mama and taking care of littles, laying her head and falling asleep on her pillow while sisters laugh giddy

#92 Christ’s body splayed out on that cross for me

#93 the blood that ran for me, and covers me, makes everything new

#94 how God is teaching me that His plans are grander than my plans

#95 that He is healing me, by helping me open my heart to His way

#96 this verse shared by husband: “Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.” Psalm 107: 8,9

#97 that husband was gone so that i could learn to serve, and find joy even in the hard, pushing through the angst moments

i am joining in the counting a couple days late, as usual, but counting still. to join in the counting, and to connect with other mommies, grandmommies, and singles who are doing the same, slip on over to Ann’s site with this button:

3 thoughts on “Figuring Out Homemaking–How God Wants To Teach Us His Heart”

  1. First, it’s all amazing – tiny red nails to a tired hubs returning home. You put this so well., “The little nitch that God has created me to be in–the nitch of serving my family, of making a happy home, of creating a safe resting place,” I heart this!!

    From your thank you’s I especially liked: #94 how God is teaching me that His plans are grander than my plans (amen Nacole – his will not mine, more of him less of me – thank you for this) (◠‿◠) I really enjoyed reading this. Thank you.

    God Bless and keep you and your family

  2. thank you, so much Craig. I really am humbled and grateful that you take the time to write down kind, encouraging words. I am just over here in my little corner of my little office, hoping to heal through writing, and hoping to touch or help someone along the way, because that really is the true healing, when we are able to heal others:) GOd meant it this way. your words meant so much. thanks! btw–i entered the She Speaks scholarship for conference in North Carolina! aggghhh! if you want, you could take a look at my most recent post (re-constructed from a previous one) and see what you think? learning to not be afraid, and just live life brave!

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