If you and I were getting coffee today, I’d probably ask if we could drink it on my couch while my littlest babe sleeps. That’s the time I can most focus (on anything, really) and the time I simultaneously do a trillion things. But if you were coming over, I’d have worship music playing on our TV, hot coffee from our Ninja (that I’m totally obsessed with and can’t live without, by the way), and my house would be messy.
Yes, messy. There are a few occasions in which my house is actually clean, but don’t let those times fool you. There wouldn’t be any underwear on the table or anything (HOPEFULLY), but there is just mess in our house, like I’m sure there is in yours and every other human’s under the sun. I read an amazing book once that said you should purposely leave a bit of mess out so that your guests feel more comfortable in your home. And I love that for so many reasons, the biggest one being that I get to be lazy and call it “being a welcoming hostess”. ALL I DO IS WIN.
Anyway, you’d enter through our front room- a room I’m not totally sure what to do with. Then into our kitchen- a long, awkward galley kitchen with white walls and black cabinets. And finally into our living room with a couch so big you could live on it. And we do. You’d see some remnant of a house project being done, toys and dirty socks on the floor and old carpet that is dying to get burned and replaced with something lovely. That’s our home. We bought it almost 6 years ago right before my eldest daughter, Ella, was born. It was a fixer upper then and it still is today. There are some seasons that we do tons of projects at once and other seasons when we just don’t. We are firm believers of living within our means and not purposely going into debt. So when we have saved enough money for a project that is when we do it. As I write this, it’s my birth month and all I want for my birthday is to do all the things. So as I sit here and look around that the mess our house currently is- I couldn’t be more excited. House projects are my love language.
I should mention that I never actually liked this house- not even when we bought it. I was 8 months pregnant, the market was perfect, buying a home would actually save us a ton of money at the time and that’s exactly what we needed. We had made an offer on another home that we were in love with, only to find out the sellers had accepted an offer from someone else an hour before ours was submitted. Looking back I’m glad we didn’t get that house- it was more yikes than ours for sure. But there was never anything “special” about this home, it was just in good shape and in our price range so we bought the dang thing.
Recently I’ve had such a huge itch to move the heck out of here and get a better/bigger/prettier house that we’d really want to invest in and potentially live in forever. We’re not at that stage yet, though, and so I’m making the decision to suck it up and make this house everything it can be. Contentment has always been a struggle for me and here I am- facing it head on. As I was fantasizing about moving out and waving my final goodbyes to this place, I was suddenly struck with sadness at the thought of leaving the place my baby girls were born and raised. I’m not typically the sentimentally-attached-to-things type, but thinking of leaving suddenly gave me pause.
Of course our home is just a place we live and do life in. And of course wherever we go together will be “home”. But it got me thinking on what our home really is and what pillars we want to establish inside of it.
I want my home to be a refuge:
A place that we all feel totally safe in. I want my husband to WANT to come home because it’s his favorite place to be. I want my girls to love “stay at home” days because all their favorite people and things are inside these walls. I want to create a space that is physically safe, emotionally safe and spiritually safe. A place where any person of any background could walk through our door and tangibly feel the love in this place. I want the love to be so thick in here that you could cut it with a knife. But like why would you want to.
I want my home to be overflowing with peace.
There’s so much chaos in the world, isn’t there? So much stress at school, work, running from activity to activity. And to all that we say this: no. Not like we just shut ourselves in our house and never do anything- of course not. But against my do-everything-at-a-million-miles-a-second nature, we prioritize relationship over everything else in this house. If I’m being honest, I’d rather prioritize cleanliness over everything but I have a husband who is nicer than me. His calm, soothing demeanor is a reminder to me to calm the heck down everyday and learn to just be with the people you love. My pastor did a teaching once on how Jesus was a Peace Maker, not a Peace Keeper. He said that He wouldn’t pretend like there was peace if there wasn’t. And I really liked that. I want to be like Jesus and I want my home to be His home. We MAKE peace in this house and I freaking love it.
I want my home to be full of joy.
Laughter everywhere. There was a hard season of my life back in college where I don’t remember laughing- like at all- for months and months. Then we got two new roommates and all we did was laugh. Joy is a necessity in my life. I need it, I crave it, I want to spread it. We fight for joy in this house and have ridiculous “rituals” of getting the sadness out. Just this morning Ella was having a meltdown about going to school again and she asked me, “Mom? Can you pull the sadness out?” I smiled because about a week ago (during another one of her meltdowns) I told her that the reason she couldn’t stop crying was because there was some sadness in her heart and we needed to get it out. I pretended to hook my finger deep into her heart, around that sadness and “struggled” for a bit to rip it out and throw it out the window. She laughed and laughed. So when she asked me this morning I thought to myself, “Yes. We will defeat sadness with laughter.” And I wrestled that sadness right out the door.
I want our walls to tell our story.
Where we’ve come from, who we are and where we’re going. I’ve taken on the challenge of making all our decor meaningful and getting rid of things that just aren’t. Now, this is super hard for me because a) I’m really not that sentimental and b) I just really like pretty things sometimes. Just because they’re pretty. But I want the things on our walls to remind me of the truths I so desperately need- every day.
These are all beautiful ideals, aren’t they? Like who doesn’t want these things?
The truth is- I can have these. If I work hard for them.
I don’t know about you, but I really struggle in my thought life. One bad day, one too many pairs of socks left on the floor and I begin to spiral. So much so that a pair of dirty socks can lead straight to the thought, “That’s it. I’m out of here for good.” It’s crazy how fast our thoughts can lead us places, isn’t it? And this is where the hard work is for me right now- taking every thought captive. If I’m going to have a home that is full of everything I want it to be I have to WORK. I have to tell my negative thoughts to shut the heck up and get out of my house. I have to actively serve my family even when I don’t feel up to it. I have to cling to hope and all the promises Jesus has given us. I have to claim His victory in our lives every day and I have to remind myself of this when I feel otherwise. Creating a safe, peaceful home is holy business, friend. And Satan wants nothing more than to stop you from doing it.
If you were sitting with me on my kid-stained couch, I’d set my coffee down. I’d definitely tear up as I told you all the ways we’ve had to fight against chaos, disunity and depression. I’d tell you about our years of struggle after struggle and I’d tell you how I’m still not great at it now.
And then I’d tell you that I partnered with Satan way too many times. I partnered with the thoughts he fed me, “This marriage was a mistake”, “You two will never agree”, “Your daughter has all your flaws and that’s your fault”, “Things will never change”, “You’re a failure and you never finish anything”… the list goes on and on my friend. I’ve partnered with those lies in my thoughts, my words, my actions and in my countenance towards the people I love most in the world. I’ve even partnered with him in judging other people for doing the exact same thing. What a freaking jerk he is. Such a bully.
Maybe you’ve been in that place too. Maybe you’ve been stuck in a thought spiral that you just can’t shake. Maybe you’ve even partnered with those lies and have been led to believe that they are actually truth.
They aren’t, friend.
What job is more important than raising functional human beings? What job is harder than staying in love with a human full of flaws (like, ahem, EVERY human). Creating a spiritually, emotionally and physically safe home is exhausting, isn’t it? It’s serious work. And Satan doesn’t play fair. But the good news is this: you don’t have to play at all.
You are a powerful woman, friend. Yes, you. You were created by a powerful King and if that powerful King lives inside of you? You are unstoppable. Flick Satan off that shoulder like the tiny flea he is and WORK IT, GIRL. Set your home’s goals, work towards them and don’t you dare give up- you can do this. Like for real- YOU CAN DO THIS. God has given you unique jobs that He chose YOU for. If He thought someone else could do a better job, He would have given those things to another person. But He didn’t. He chose you. And you can do this. Whatever your season looks like- single, married, parenting, whatever. He chose you. When Satan comes a knocking just don’t even answer. If we give that guy even an inch he will bulldoze us right over. Shake him off.
What are the goals you have for your home, friend? And what are the lies that you partner with instead sometimes? Write them down. Put those written goals in places where you need to be reminded of them the most. For me, it’s in front of my kitchen sink. I don’t know what it is about doing the dishes but man do I start to spiral when the dishes pile up. Where is it for you?
Your pillars don’t have to be the same as mine- they might share some similarities, but they should be written to fit your family. Envision your perfect home- the look, the feel, the warmth. What do all those things mean for you? What would your dream family feel like? What have you always wanted to be for your spouse, children and friends? There is so much power in writing these down. And even more power in living them. When we rise above what is and declare what will be- that, friend, is when we truly begin to walk by faith and not by sight.
You’ve got this. Go dream!