In my home there are words everywhere. Some are visible, some are hidden. Some are quotes, many are scripture. Some words motivate and encourage, other words guard or bless.
As a manager or "keeper" of the home my work is more than keeping a clean home and caring for the day to day activities, schedules and meals. Beyond the work of managing, I am also monitoring the heart of our home. Some say that the wife is the heart of the home and is some ways I suppose that may be true...but I think it would be more accurate to say that I set the stage and create the environment for the heart of our home. As wives and mothers the environment we create may be one of the most important aspects of our work.
"If momma ain't happy, ain't no one happy".....I've always hated this phrase. To me it has always evoked thoughts of a cranky, controlling woman who has to have it her way or the highway. Yuck. The fact is though, you can replace "momma" with any member of the family and the statement is just as true. The effect that a negative attitude has on the people around it is powerful. Have you ever noticed how even one sour person in a room of 10 or more can bring the whole room down? The atmosphere we create in our homes can either encourage or dissipate negativity. We send our family members out in the morning and over the course of the day they encounter many people and situations. When they come back home they can still be carrying that with them and bringing it right into the house. If your husband is in a particularly stressful season at work, the stress he brings home can be transferred to everyone in the house. If the perspective of Dad's home coming is "watch out, dad is going to be cranky" the tension will mount and when Dad comes home...his stress is then encouraged to stay, fed by the tension and apprehension in the home. But if the perspective of the home was "Dad has had a tough day today so lets try to encourage him when he gets here", his stress is melted away and doesn't have a fighting chance of sticking around. The home is a secure, united, sanctuary where all are refilled and refreshed to go back out into the world when it is time.
One of the ways that I nurture our environment is through prayer and scripture in our home. Most of the artwork on our walls includes words or scripture. The unseen is what has the most powerful affect though.
Years ago, when I was on my very first prayer team, I was introduced to prayer walking. The team would meet before, during and after a class at church. We prayed with the leaders, we prayed for the participants and while they gathered for dinner we prayed in the room where they would worship and listen to the nights speaker. While they listened to the speaker, we were in the rooms where they would soon meet in groups to discuss the evening topic.
We prayed for them as individuals and as groups. We prayed for the environment - that there would be grace and safety to be vulnerable, we prayed for their faith, their protection, for the work the Lord was doing in their hearts, for their conversations and for their leaders and families and the people they would encounter during the week before they came back for the next class. In some rooms we even prayed away the burdens that may have been left there from previous groups - grief and divorce care groups that met there earlier in the week. We covered a range of prayer and concerns I'd never have conceived of before. What I learned there, I eventually started to apply to my own home.
In my kitchen I would pray for our nourishment - that our food would be protected and that He would guide me to making healthy choices and meals for our family, but also that they would be financially smart choices for our budget. I didn't limit it to the food we ate....I would pray about His nourishing our family relationships, blessing the conversations and interactions that happened there. I asked that He would use meal times to feed our family spiritual nutrients as well as physical and relational nutrients.
As I folded laundry I would pray for the person I was folding for. When I made a bed I prayed for their rest and refreshment, their dreams, comfort and security. In the main gathering rooms I prayed over the relationships and the conversations that happened there. The social gatherings of friends and family...the conflicts between kids and tensions between spouses, the opportunities for ministry and joy and laughter.
Friends, I saw change. The Lord bends down to listen, He hears our prayers. (Ps. 116:1-2) I saw change in my family and I felt change in me. I saw arguing diminish and conversation replace it. I felt peace in the absence of tension. And people notice.... They can't put their finger on it, they can't identify what it is but they comment. "Your home feels so good." "Its soft here." "I love coming here, it's like a vacation." "I feel so at home, so welcome."
This is the work of the Lord. Flawed as I am I am not capable of creating that. Obedience to His prompting always results in great blessing.
What words hide in the secret places of our home? In the four corners of our property there are either rocks with scripture on them or a steak driven into the earth.
I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.
The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all evil; He will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.
He will love you, bless you and multiply you. He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, your grain and your wine and your oil, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock, in the land that He swore to your fathers to give you.
The main entrance to our home is our kitchen door....here people enter into blessing.
Blessed you shall be when you com in and blessed you shall be when you go out.
Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place - the Most High, who is my refuge - no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent.
Whether words are spoken at our kitchen table or not....blessing is present...
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be satisfied.
Our living room hides teaching and encouragement...
On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and those members of the body that we think less honorable we clothe with greater honor and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect; whereas our more respectable members do not need this. But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member that there maybe no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together with it, if one member is honored all rejoice together in it.
Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.
1 Cor. 12:22-27
Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.
1 Thess. 5:11
All over the house there are scriptures......the laundry room is not so subtle. On the main wall (painted red by previous owners) the first thing you see when you enter the room is Proverbs 31:10-31 in white, hand written in paint pen from one end to the other. On the cupboards printed out verses are taped that speak of controlling the tongue and what a wife should be. The freezer speaks of managing harvest well, the ceiling speaks of where a husband who has a nagging wife is better off...
A good deep clean of a house, goes so much further than the corners and the nooks and crannies that only we can see.........a true deep cleaning goes to the depths of the heart and then pours out the mouth, laying every negative at the feet of Jesus and leaving behind only the fruit of His spirit....love for those we encounter. For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Matt 12:34b It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth that defiles. Matt. 15:10-11
My kitchen window bears the lessons that need to change my heart or the focus my mind lacks. It changes as He prompts. A black permanent marker to write and a green scrubby to remove. So when I wash dishes I don't just see the yard but His Word. Bathroom mirrors often have a scripture or message on them....where ever the eye naturally rests....where we spend the most time standing still.....it sinks in. It encourages. It transforms.
The Word is powerful. For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12
Blessings for a clean heart, transformed mind and an unbridled passion for Him,