Busy, tired woman, hang in there! You’re doing good eternal work in your home. God sees. And His presence with you is quietly building meaning and value, even if your days feel hidden.
How do I know and how can you be sure?
“Mommy, I like going to Miss Kitty’s house,” my young son shared from his car seat on the ride home. When I asked why he answered confidently, “Because it’s warm.”
I was surprised by his answer.
Miss Kitty was a dear friend, a classy energetic woman in our small church who was widowed at age 58. I expected my 4-year-old to explain, “…because she’s nice,” or, “I like her cookies.” Instead, this profound answer from my little one told me he sensed something intangible, something eternal or transcendent in this woman’s home.
My little Benjamin felt and understood this single woman’s warm welcome, her kind acceptance of rambunctious kids, her engaging interest in our family, her heart of kindness and love for anyone who crossed her threshold. My child helped me see in that moment the value of making the right kind of home. How our home felt was more important than how it looked.
Like a novice air traffic controller thrust into duty at the world’s busiest airport, I often felt stressed and inadequate for the unceasing needs of my children, and sometimes my husband, too. Needs swirled around me like a thousand incoming airplanes from babyhood through teen years. I never had all the answers. How could the chaos of our home be creating meaning and value? I often wondered.
Titus 2:4-5 describes one of the duties for wives as a worker at home, which means in Greek, “to fulfill one’s household duties.” One of those duties is the constant work of creating order out of chaos. The futility of this endless duty doesn’t mean God isn’t present and at work.
Most of Jesus’ life was spent in obscurity, which tells us those years were not insignificant. God was present and working even though nothing was recorded for us. Therefore, our obscurity at home as women is not without value for the Creator.
This phrase means Christian wives “should fulfill their duties at home; they shouldn’t avoid working at home.”* You are the air traffic controller of your home, ordering the chaos, establishing the routines of eating, sleeping, togetherness, all of which mimic God the Creator’s work on earth.
You don’t have to do all the work personally. If you can afford a cleaning service, a food service like Blue Apron, or regular babysitters, go for it. This verse is not against help for wives and mothers! But what you shouldn’t delegate is what makes your house a home. That is the building and development of relationships with God and with one another.
The woman-wife-mother of Proverbs 31 gives us a glimpse into what a worker at home looks like. And because it’s a chapter in the inerrant Word of God, it’s more than just a nice story. It is approved by God Himself.
This woman’s story is the summary of her work:
-growing little people into adults who love God and understand His authority in their lives;
-cultivating a marriage that reflected the Trinity,
-celebrating the joy of God’s plan for husbands and wives, and
-modeling for all who watched the pattern that works for a lifetime.
Hers is the making of a house into a home and a home into an embassy that welcomes family, friends, and strangers over the years to learn more about who Jesus is. This kind of home is what my little son described as warm. This is the kind of home that will ensure that your family, your people, are loved well, too.
Running a business, tending and/or supervising gardens or a farm, working or leading a local charity for the poor are just three of the jobs in this Proverbs 31 woman’s resume. Yet it is clear from the entire passage–which begins with a description of her marriage and ends with another description of her children and husband–that all her outside jobs, missions, and responsibilities are in the context of her first priorities: her marriage and family. This woman’s life and all its radiating rings of influence begin at home.
Part of her epitaph reads, “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also and he praises her.” I can tell you with certainty: children and husbands do not praise a mother and wife who did not devote the best of her life, her love, her prayers, her energies to these people God gave her to love. This love, in cooperation with His love, develops her husband and children into more Christ likeness little by little, day by day.
So how did this woman do everything listed about her?
First, she acknowledged true ownership of her homestead. Ownership implies control. My house belongs to my husband, Dennis, and me. We bought it and have paid for it over the 35 years we have lived within these walls on this little piece of land. As owners, we can do with this structure as we please. If we want the exterior painted fire engine red, we can paint it. If we desire to do nothing to improve it: repair broken windows, replace missing shingles, or pull weeds that grow aggressively, that too is our choice.
Beyond maintenance and upkeep, however, is a more important choice I have as a homeowner. Do I recognize God as the provider of my home? Did He, in His great kindness, give us this place to live? If “every good and perfect gift is from above, coming from the Father…” then the answer is yes. Therefore, as His followers and His servants, we have given our house back to Him.
This is how the woman in Proverbs 31 rightly prioritized the multitude of her daily tasks. The real secret to this woman’s virtue, success, prosperity, and praise is found in the benediction. Proverbs 30:30, “A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”
This woman had her heart in the right place and kept it there for decades. She is a photograph of Psalm 1. “Blessed is the person who walks not in the counsel of the wicked…but her delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law she meditates day and night. She is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that she does she prospers.”
There is a vintage term that is out of favor today. It’s been frowned upon as inferior. Disdained for its old-fashioned hints of Victorian prudishness. Kicked out of our everyday lexicon. Even I fell under this modern way of thinking until I started working on this post.
The term is homemaking. And homemaking is the art of making a house a home.
Homemaking is the worker-at-home skill that turns a house into an incubator that feeds a family and others with eternal food. It is the art of creating beauty in relationships. It explains why meticulously professionally decorated residences often feel cold. They are void of the Spirit of Beauty.
The key to developing the skill of homemaking is giving your heart, home, and daily tasks to Jesus every single day. Ask Him to make your heart like His. Our widowed friend, Miss Kitty, lived a life surrendered to Jesus. It was His presence in her that greeted us every time we went to visit. She was a woman who feared the Lord.
God’s intention for a woman’s work in the home is that within the physical structure He has provided she learns to walk out her Christian life, her faith in the daily duties, disciplines, and feeding of bodies and souls. Day in, day out. Bedtime story after bedtime story. In sickness and in health. Home is where she learns to walk in the power and obedience of the Holy Spirit. Home is where she sees God at work and becomes His friend. Home is where she learns to trust His good order.
Here she serves and guards her piece of Eden well.
May you embrace this small phrase of biblical definition–worker at home–with a prayer of thanksgiving to God. And may you fear the Lord your God all of your days, for then you will become like the exalted Proverbs woman in God’s eyes.
And may you remember your home is not your own. If you belong to Jesus He wants ownership of your home as well. I hope you like me you want Him present in your home, His home. I want to steward this place for what He desires to accomplish here. I want my home to be His embassy, His residence in this land.
In truth we belong to another time, another place, another king. This earth is not our home. Just like the American Embassy waves the flag to declare safety and comfort within, we need signs and sounds and traditions and attitudes that declare our home is an Embassy of the King.
Will God look at your home and say, It is MINE?
Will you give your home to Him, invite His Holy Spirit who lives within you to make your home His home?