So, after I wrote my first “house musings” post — filled with various ramblings about dreams & plans for our house — I realized I wasn’t quite done with my thoughts.
As a stay-at-home mom, I spend a lot of time in our house. A lot. The majority of my “living” takes place in our house. So as I go about my day, with my little girls by my side, I have a lot of time to think about houses and homes and decorating and colors and, really, how it all intertwines with my faith.
I meant what I said on this blog’s About page —
I am a Christian passionate about my faith & relationship with God. For me, being a Christian is a life-style, a way of living, not just one aspect of my life, but a relationship with God which defines & informs & directs my thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, and decisions. What I mean is, what type of spouse, child, sibling, worker, etc., I am is being determined daily by my faith in Christ. It is all-encompassing to me. I am constantly in a process of change, and I truly want what is most important to me (my relationship with God) to be reflected in all areas of my life–even in all my craft endeavors! I fail everyday, but I rely on God to transform me as I walk through this life with Him.
— and it is true of how I want to think about my house. I want my relationship with God to define, inform, and direct my thoughts & beliefs about having, maintaining, decorating, and living in a home.
So what follows are loosely connected thoughts about home + faith, or, better– how my relationship with God shapes my view of having a new (to us!) home.
I believe it is okay to pursue beauty in the home, in decorating, in art, in painting, styling, and on and on; I think it is part of walking out what it means to have been made in the image of a creative, artistic God. I think it’s okay to even enjoy! have fun! delight! in making a house into a home and all that it entails.
I love many of Edith Schaeffer’s thoughts from The Hidden Art of Homemaking:
“If you have been afraid that your love of beautiful flowers and the flickering flame of the candle is somehow less spiritual than living in starkness and ugliness, remember that He who created you to be creative gave you the things with which to make beauty and the sensitivity to appreciate and respond to His creation.”
“A Christian, who realizes he has been made in the image of the Creator God and is therefore meant to be creative on a finite level, should certainly have more understanding of his responsibility to treat God’s creation with sensitivity, and should develop his talents to do something to beautify his little spot on the earth’s surface.”
“It is true that all men are created in the image of God, but Christians are supposed to be conscious of that fact, and being conscious of it should recognize the importance of living artistically, aesthetically, and creatively, as creative creatures of the Creator. If we have been created in the image of an Artist, then we should look for expressions of artistry, and be sensitive to beauty, responsive to what has been created for us.”
“There are various art forms we may or may not have talent for, may or may not have time for, and we may or may not be able to express ourselves in, but we ought to consider this fact-that whether we choose to be an environment or not, we are. We produce an environment other people have to live in. We should be conscious of the fact that this environment which we produce by our very ‘being’ can affect the people who live with us or work with us.”
I have journaled pages and pages of personal thoughts of the kind of atmosphere I want to create in our home. This is different, in my mind, from the types of things I said I wanted my house to “be” like in my previous post. I may, later, devote a separate post delving into a little more detail about atmospheres and whatnot, but I will say now: I want our home to be a haven, a refuge; a safe, comforting, warm place for our family. And while furniture, decor & colors can help with that, in my mind, ultimately, it’s not WHAT we have in our house, but WHOM. I so desire to create a home that reflects the presence of God — “God is in their midst!”
My favorite quote on this is from one of my favorite books on education, Educating the Wholehearted Child by Clay & Sally Clarkson:
“…your first responsibility as a parent is to lead your children to the life-giving presence and reality of Christ in your heart and home. Your desire should be to implant a longing in their spirits for God that can be satisfied only with the water and bread of life in Christ. No matter how good your church may be, a few hours each week cannot create the longing for Christ that God has uniquely designed you to impart to your children. You are to be the primary life-giving presence of Christ to your children, through his Spirit living and working in your life as a Christian parent and through his Word, just as Christ imparted life to those who came into contact with him: ‘The words I have spoken to your are spirit and are life.’” (pg. 45)
This is what Rust & I greatly desire! How can your home BE such a place? –A place where people experience the peace & presence of God, or a place where they can begin to find rest in Him, or a place where the heart can begin to open up to that longing for Him? Again, I have so many further thoughts on this I would love to delve into in later posts.
Rust & I prayed when we moved in that we wouldn’t lose sight of the precious souls living IN the house in our excitement to do stuff TO the house. The atmosphere of our home — a place of peace, love, acceptance, joy, and generosity — is way more important to us than the right furniture, the perfect color, or updated everything’s or anything’s. If we aren’t actively cultivating these qualities, and asking Jesus to fill us more and evermore with His likeness so we can reflect those qualities (because, honestly, we know ourselves–they aren’t going to last long in our own try-hard, do-it-myself strength) to our girls, then what we do TO the house doesn’t really matter. Because who wants to live in a trendy, eclectic, perfectly decorated house of strife? of impatience? of stinginess or nitpickiness or hopelessness or despair?
I pray I become a woman who cares more about nourishing souls than painting walls; that I pursue pouring into my girls the good, deep things of hope & joy & generosity & contentment, than demonstrating a shallow obsession with Pinterest & decor; and that I show them that I am woman who needs Jesus to transform me into the very things I want so much to be reflected in our home.
More thoughts to come!