A Heart toward home...
"Similarly, teach the older women to live in a way that honors God. They must not slander others or be heavy drinkers. Instead, they should teach others what is good. These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God."
The role of a woman in setting up and maintaining home is one that seems to me to be significantly presented in the Bible. The lifestyle of Biblical women was largely domestic, focused on providing support for their husbands and children. Exacerbated by a lack of technology, household tasks like cooking, cleaning, child rearing and possibly growing food to sustain their families kept women occupied for most , if not all of the day. One thing is clear, however: home was the centre of their world. Even with our modern advances, keeping ones home running like well oiled machine can take all day; full-time home-makers know what I'm talking about.
Fast-forward to today, with feminist ideals being rampant and the effects of the Industrial Revolution having created a culture of women being immersed in employment outside the home(including myself), I often wonder if I TRULY have a heart toward home. As an architect and Interior Design Consultant I spend so many hours working on other people's homes. I feel real passion for making their spaces beautiful, inspiring and serene havens within which their families can thrive. Yet, my job demands so much of my time that I barely find the mental space to truly turn my heart toward my own home.
Today was a simple day in which I embarked on a little outing to a few home goods stores (Dwellings Trinidad & Ashley Homestore) to inspire myself with some ideas for making our home more peaceful and beautiful. What really made it special for me the fact that mummy finally agreed to come with me (she's never been to either location). Couple that with the fact that my friend's mum, Sarah-Jane Carter (a real-estate agent) was on site giving tips on staging homes for sale on behalf of 1 on 1 Realty, the setup was almost too good too be true!
The showrooms were definitely not short of eye-candy and I felt like a kid in a toy store.
What always strikes me about showrooms is how much care is put into making everything attractive to entice buyers. Every arrangement screams "EFFORT". There is an art to staging a showroom, and there is an art to beautifying your home.
Why spend money and time to purchase trinkets and ornaments, and pretty place-settings for home? There is inspiration in beauty, there is love in the attention to detail of a person who wants to make their home the best and highest for the ones that they love.
Preparing a fabulous home doesn't have to break the bank either. Our first visit was certainly of the high end variety, but all it really takes to prepare a beautiful home is the right heart-position toward the art of home-making, and a good eye.
An unexpected benefit of today's trip, though, was how bonded I felt with my mom, and also my friend and her mom. This made me realize that the above passage from Titus shows an interesting benefit of having a heart toward home. The passage shows that God intends for women to have a sense of camaraderie around home, and the vocation of home-making; there should be transference of knowledge and best practices across generations, and a reminder to young women about the value of the vocation that is investing in home. I had such a great time hearing the mothers talk about the items that caught their eyes, and how they recommended that they be incorporated into decor. Some of the questions that they asked the sales clerks revealed years of experience in dealing with the practical challenges of maintaining a home- I was enlightened while witnessing the transactions in progress.
I was enamored by the enthusiasm of the mothers while they chatted excitedly about what would work where, and how they anticipated that entertainment would benefit from the addition of certain items. Their enchantment with the decor seemed to extend beyond selfishness (which was another subtle lesson). So much of the home-making I see among people of my age demographic is linked to upstaging others, and linked to self exaltation about who has a higher end apartment than who, or whose home is more Instagrammable than whose, or who can stage the latest and greatest Youtube home tour video. These ladies cared about beauty, and quality and ambience, but it was linked to the beauty and quality and ambience of happy experiences with their loved ones. They spoke about sitting with their husbands for coffee, or having friends over. It was so other-centred that I felt both humbled, and instructed. The entire experience took me to a much more noble place in terms of my heart toward home.
Anyway, for all of you ladies who have been inspired, and prodded by the Holy Spirit to pay more attention to your domestic calling, I hope that this blog post inspires you to make the best of the home you have: for God, for yourself, and for others.