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.
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.
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.
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.