Why Your Home Matters … Even Though It’s Far From Perfect

Do you wish your home were more peaceful?

I sure did when all six of my kids were at home. Even when only two were left, it still wasn’t peaceful the way I wanted it to be.

You see I wanted everyone to get along and like each other. What I really wanted, truth be told, was for my children to be more like adults even when they were little, which is foolish because not even adults get along well, right?

Too much idealism clung to me for too many years.

Homes are messy because people are broken and sinful and full of flaws, which equals less than peaceful relationships and homes.

Ours was not a peaceful home, at least not the way I imagined or wanted it to be, but it was a stable and mostly healthy home because we kept the main things the main things.

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Those main things are:

-never doubting God’s good and kind sovereign control, even when it makes no sense

-always keeping forgiveness a real practice, even if you have to do it a hundred times a day, and

– remaining teachable, even when you don’t want to learn another thing.

I’m convinced the fine print none of us read when we get married and have kids is that marriage and parenting is God’s favorite school for adult education.  We think marriage is for us and we are for our kids. Yes, but only partially.

One of my mentors, long distance because I only knew her through her books, was Elisabeth Eliot. She said one time during an interview in her 70s that submission in marriage was something she struggled with every day!


I was shocked because I assume she’d have that one conquered by 70 something. But I was comforted that my struggles at 40 something were not unusual.

Pondering that revelation reminded me that learning to follow Jesus, learning to live the Christian life as He intends for me, is never done. Conquering any struggle will only happen in heaven.

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I’ve been reading Romans this week, which is such heavy-duty theology but so very good for us to read regularly. Paul wrote much about our “flesh,” the sin nature all of us were born with, that never stops wanting to usurp the Spirit of Christ who lives within. I’m finally understanding that my “job” is to not feed the flesh with thoughts of how right I am or how wrong my husband is or how unappreciated I feel because of my kids’ endless demands and rare thankyous.

My most important responsibility is to talk to God regularly, to give Him my heart in surrender, hundreds of times a day if needed, so that He can work the peace I long for in my heart. That’s where peace is most needed. In me.

My oldest daughter, Ashley, and I were talking as we drove home from a FamilyLife women’s event about how unpeaceful her home is, and rightly so; she has seven boys. Loud, sword fighting, nerf gun warring sons, the oldest ones now in the crazy schedule days of school sports, clubs and after-school activities.

Daniel and Andrew

She told me she is learning that real peace in her home must start in her heart even if it never reigns in anyone else’s.  If she is at peace, a moment-by-moment necessity, then she is less stressed by the ever-present chaos. She is also less likely to react selfishly to insults and is more likely to respond in grace when it’s needed.

Oh I wish I had been that wise when I was her age with one less kid.

Ashley is focusing on the main things.  And her house looks like it too, most of the time. She would agree. Her kids are learning what it means to forgive, to give grace and to trust God in all circumstances.

Her home matters because it is God’s intended birthplace for faith.  Your home matters too. Because nurturing those eternal relationships is the most important work a woman can do.

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13 thoughts on “Why Your Home Matters … Even Though It’s Far From Perfect”

  1. Your words have encouraged me today as i have felt inadequate as a mother ( and making up for it now that im a grandma). The struggle is real but so is the Peace of God that passes understanding. Thank you again for ministering to me and to remind me about Gods sovereign grace in any circumstance.

  2. This was good for me. I think it is time for me to go to another conference that you and Denise have. They were so good, and when I went I so wished that we could have gone earlier in our marriage. However, my 4 children are out of the home and they all have children that are in college or out on their own. But, being 71, I still allow them to cause division in our family. Or is it me that causeses the division because i do not have the peace in my heart that only God can give. Peace in the midst of the storm. I have known that peace and you are right I must go daily to God for peace…..Thank you Barbara

  3. Thanks, I needed to hear submission never seems easy whether to God or my husband. MUst keep on. THanks for the encouragement.

  4. Barbara, thanks so much for this. It’s exactly what I needed to hear. My idea of a peaceful home tends to be something like a quiet, clean, orderly. However, with a 20- month-old and a six week old, this isn’t my current reality and I’ve been arguing to myself that I can’t “feel” calm and peaceful with the house not being just-so. I needed the reminder that peace has nothing to do with our circumstances or how we feel, but rather is found in having our eyes set on the right priority, Jesus. I’ll be reading post again, I’m sure!

  5. Dear Barbara,

    I have just loved reading this post. I feel that articles like this are kind of like a ‘compass’… bringing me back to ‘true-north’ = Jesus.

    We have 3 boys (6.5yrs, 4yrs & 10mths), so my house is also, NEVER quiet and rarely peaceful. I struggle every day with the want for control and order… but I’m also learning every day to give those desires to Him, and to focus on the things that really matter.

    Thank you for your wise words and encouragement. I love listening to you on FamilyLife Today (podcasts), and look forward to reading more fabulous posts.

    ~ Rebecca

  6. Thank you Mrs. Rainey for a wonderful encouraging article I need it this morning. May God continue to bless and edify and build up one another through this blog. Thank you much

  7. Dear Mrs. Rainey,

    I cannot tell you how much I needed this post. I providentially stumbled across your blog tonight and it was exactly what I needed. A sweet reminder that I shouldn’t expect my little people and their responses to be adults. Pressing into Jesus and trusting HIM for peace and wisdom in each interchange and moment throughout my days has been my heart cry the past weeks. But I needed this reality check; the peace may only be in my heart, flowing out into the chaos to touch those around me.
    Thank you.

    1. Barbara Rainey

      So glad you found us! We hope you will sign up for more posts that are always intended to encourage women like you, especially moms who are investing in their children. Blessings to you, Barbara

  8. Thank you ETH. Yesterday, our beautiful home of 13 years went up for sale. I am submitting. This is hard. Our first home. The place our three children came home from the hospital to. So many wonderful memories. Tomorrow our first showing. Thank you for this note of encouragement. I appreciate the last paragraph so much as we take it one day at a time.

    1. Barbara Rainey

      I remember feeling sad when we sold our cute yellow bungalow where 3 of our kids started their lives with us. I would have stayed there forever if I could.
      God will guide and supply and most importantly He will be with you wherever you go, wherever you land.

  9. Wow. That was so inspiring and encouraging. It was once again the Lord giving me exactly what I needed for today. AND THEN to read that Ashley has 7 boys…….we have 7 boys! The oldest is 30. The youngest is almost 18. And even though only one lives at home with two coming home for the summer from college soon, I still benefited from your words about peace and the “main things” because being encouraging parents never really ends. We have raised our sons on Family Life Today and Focus on the Family. And the Lord has blessed us with 7 godly young men! But relationships can still be less than “peaceful” in all of our lives and to remain teachable is ever so important to remember…..in our relationship with Christ and with each other. My house may now have a much lower decibel level, but as you said, real peace must start in our own hearts, everyday, no matter what the noise level is! God is good! I’ll be passing this on to my boys. Thank you for the encouragement!

    1. Barbara Rainey

      How fun to hear from you and a big congrats on raising 7 boys to adulthood! I’m so impressed! What a gift God has given you.
      Thanks for commenting on my post. I’m still learning about nurturing peace in my heart even in these empty nest years. Blessings to you.

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