Homemaking. Such a layered word. A thought provoking, comforting, triggering, lovely, challenging, and complex word. Homemaking is also an evolving word, depending on the season of the year, the season of life, and the situations we individually find ourselves in. I would argue however, that the heart of homemaking is the constant unchanging fixture around which the act of homemaking revolves. This has been a comfort to me as I have struggled through the learning curve, the seasons of life, and my own personal shortcomings. It has been a comfort to know that so long as I hold onto the solidity of the heart of homemaking, then the moving pieces around it will eventually fall into place.
So, no matter the season you are in, or where you are starting from, the heart of homemaking remains the same. It is an aim to create an environment where people/animals within the home feel safe, nourished, and at peace. Some days this will include a perfectly clean living room, and some days it may not. Regardless, it is an intentional space where all who enter know that love lives there. It can be likened to a green house. In a greenhouse, there is shelter from the elements, nourishment, tending, and life. It is a place where one can breathe more freely and come into a little haven no matter the season around it. The heart of homemaking goes deep beyond the surface level of what we see, to the motivation and intention behind thought and action. It is not always about having a perfectly organized pantry (thank goodness), or a pinterest worthy meal on the table (though who doesn't love when that happens). Whether it's pulling a freezer meal out on a busy day made weeks before, or a dinner you've spent hours preparing on a slower day of the week, the heart of homemaking is your desire to nourish your family with the best that you can gather in the season of life you are in. It is about the attitude of gratitude for the food that the Lord has put before you, pushing through your flesh in moments when you just don't feel like it, and as a top priority choosing items and actions to achieve health and wellbeing for your family. It is about stewarding any blessings and resources you've been given with sobriety and purpose. Somedays this means learning new skills or brushing up on old ones, laying self to the side, singing hymns to bring your mind back to center, praying (or crying), and always coming to the Lord with our struggles.
I have learned over the years, that true cutting gratitude is the greatest antidote to any of my attitude issues in homemaking. Gratitude and discontentment will always cut straight through the surface level of things, to the heart beneath it. I can stand at the sink doing the dishes grumbling the whole time, or I can remind myself that the plates contained food and my legs retained the strength to stand there and get the job done. I can complain as I fold the pile of laundry, or I can be comforted that we are clothed and warm.
The heart of homemaking is a refinement and a sharpening of our character to retain more of the character of Christ. "For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” - Mark 10:45
My aunt passed away years ago after suffering for years from ALS, which took away her ability to walk and use her muscles. My mom and I used to go visit her often, and I will never forget when she said that she would do anything to just be able to do daily tasks. I have held this very close to my heart and bring it to mind often when I am tempted to grumble. I struggle with my own chronic health issues, battling stage 4 endometriosis for over 20 years now, and I am often reminded that all we can do is operate in the wisdom we have been given, pursue gratitude, do our best, and heavily rely on the Lord and His mercies. We can do all the "right" things, and life can still be very unpredictable. I know for me, I desperately need the Lord, His mercy, and His Spirit in everything.
Comparison can creep up on us and try to steal the joy of homemaking from us, and this is why it is so important to remember that everyones situation is different, and it is truly about the heart of why we are doing what we are doing that is more important than the act of what we do (or the perfection thereof). In my personal life, I have my struggles with my health, a home business, ministry, my family, and we live in the middle of the woods on a mountain with chickens and two outdoor loving dogs. I have struggled many days with the fact that my house does not look as tidy as other homes I see on social media. I have also battled with the whispers from the enemy that I am failing in some capacity, but the Lord always graciously sorts me out and lovingly convicts me in areas where I need to grow and be refined. You are not failing my friend, you are growing.
Have grace on yourself, and remember that those around you will not as much remember every dust bunny in the corner, but they will always remember how you made them feel. Keep pressing on my dear. From my heart and our home to yours.