The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down. - Proverbs 14:1 NIV
The relationship between a husband and wife is a model of Christ and His Bride, the Church.
"For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." This is a profound mystery--but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. - Ephesians 5:31-33 NIV
My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, how I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed about you! - Galatians 4:19 NIV
As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you, but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us. Surely you remember, brothers, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you. You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed. For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory. - 1 Thess. 2:6-12 NIV
I know for me, sometimes cleaning is an escape. If I'm frustrated, angry or hurt I'll hide myself in cleaning jobs. Sometimes it's good. I'm always humbled and Jesus often meets me when I'm on my knees cleaning up dust, grime and bodily fluids. Sometimes it's where I need to be and it's where my kids and husband will see the humble love of God in me. But sometimes cleaning is just a way I can brush off my husband and kids. In those times the Spirit never ceases to say, "Put down the dishes right now and go sit next to your husband and watch that baseball commentary that you don't really care about with him." Or, "Stop detailing the kitchen cabinets and go play Legos with your sons." Or, "Quit folding the laundry and go ask your husband how he's doing."
Both cleaning and managing must be submitted to the relationship building between a husband and wife and a mother and her children.
To make sure that building up relationships for God's glory remains my central focus I must set out to manage my home for God's glory, get down on my knees to scrub some "feet" or toilets or whatever, but then I must be willing to lay both of those callings aside when they are not aiding me in building the relationship between my husband and I or between my children and I.
Being a wise woman who builds her home for God's glory means I need to be like a palm tree. I need to live a life that points up (management), to Christ. I need to keep my roots in the dirt (foot washing). But I also need to bend when the wind blows (relationship building).
A savvy woman can manage her house like a well-oiled machine. A diligent woman can keep her house clean as whistle. But only a woman who has tasted the love of Christ can build up the relationships in her home.
The relationship between a woman and her husband is written in heaven to glorify Christ. It's not defined by man or laws. It's defined by the relationship between Christ and the Church.
The relationship between a woman and her children is written in heaven to glorify Christ. It is not defined by parenting manuals or counselors. It is defined by the relationship between the Father and His children and between the Christ-filled Church and His disciples.
The woman who seeks to do her part in making a relationship with her husband and children that honors the model authored by the Author of our faith will be fulfilling the ministry of homemaking whether she works outside her home or not; whether she's skilled in domesticity or not; whether she's running a tight ship or not.
Father, help me to remember that my calling as a homemaker is not so much in where I am physically in a day, or how well planned my week is, or how clean my bathrooms are, but rather how Christ honoring my relationships with my husband and children are. You change my prayers Father from, "Please let me stay home!" to, "Please give me a gentle and quiet spirit towards my husband so that he feels safe and secure around me." You transform my requests from, "Please help my kids to obey!" to, "Please grant me YOUR patience and wisdom in nurturing and teaching them!" Father, You're always changing me. Thank you for being patient. You are my heart's desire! I have no greater joy than to live a life that brings You honor. And I'm in total dependence upon You to do that!
What are your thoughts? Do you need to adjust your managment and footwashing aspects of homemaking so that you have a more Christ honoring relationship with your husband and children?