Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Why Make a Home?

My earliest attempt at homemaking was in a cardboard box. Daddy dealt in large appliances, so there was always an empty refrigerator or washing machine box lying around in our backyard to use for my little home. I'd cut square holes for windows and tack up "curtains" I'd made from my mom's fabric stash. Smaller boxes became a table and chairs, which I'd also cover in scrap fabric. My best friend, Margaret, and I would get busy creating a tea party in our little cardboard cottage. The menu usually consisted of mud pies made from dirt we'd dug up in the alley behind my house. We'd decorate these "pies" with a wide variety of tiny twigs, small rocks and leaves, or if we were really going for the "professional" look, the small white blossoms off the citrus trees in our backyard. "Tea" (muddy water) was served from my miniature plastic tea set as we entered the world of make believe homemakers, complete with some sort of accessory (most often one of Mom's costume jewelry cast-offs, an old apron, or her ruffled silky red petticoat) hanging off our jeans and t-shirts. My most memorable outfit for tea was the fake fur and high heels I'd gotten one year for Christmas when I was five years old. We were certainly the picture of high-society ladies in our little appliance box world!

So even early in my life, I loved the whole idea of “playing house”. But when I became a wife and mother, and the realities of homemaking set in, (washing dishes, doing laundry, cooking meals, and cleaning house) I found myself losing motivation for doing any of it. There were moments when it felt like drudgery and I was just slogging my way through it all. In my early years of marriage and motherhood, I led a Bible study for women on the attributes of God. Through this study, I discovered precious truths about who God is – that He is a God of creativity, hospitality, order, beauty, peace, comfort, joy, and love. It was one of the richest times in my life for spiritual growth, because I was discovering the beauty and fulfillment of beholding God.

Somewhere along the way, two ideas began to merge in my mind – that of God’s attributes, and the fact that He is preparing a home for me in heaven – one that will be filled up with every aspect of His nature. He says in John 14:2, “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” A wonderful thought came to me – God is preparing a place for me. He is making a home for me. God is a homemaker!

I began to look at my own homemaking efforts with a fresh perspective. If God is making a home for me – one that will be beautiful, creative, orderly, peaceful, welcoming, loving, joyful, comforting and filled to the brim with a knowledge of Him, wouldn’t it bring Him glory to "shadow" that heavenly home in my earthly home? What greater motivation could I have in my homemaking efforts than to bring more of God to my loved ones – and give them a tiny glimpse of heaven.

As I studied the word “home” in scripture, it was comforting to learn that God is not just preparing a home for me in heaven. He has declared Himself to be “home” for me right now - my dwelling place, shelter, refuge, and habitation...

“God makes a home for the lonely.” Psalm 68:6

“Lord, Thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.” Psalm 90:1

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty ... for you have made the Lord, my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place.” Psalm 91:1

“Be Thou to me a rock of habitation, to which I may continually come.” Psalm 71:3

“The eternal God is a dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” Deuteronomy 33:27

“Moreover, I will make my dwelling among you.” Leviticus 26:11

As children of God, through the work of Christ on the cross, we have the incredible privilege of being God’s “dwelling place” – the temple in which He lives. He is our rock of habitation – the One in whom we “reside”. God places a high value on the idea of HOME. He longs to be our home, He is preparing a home for us, and He wants to use our earthly homes to reveal Himself to the world.

We are a broken people - sinful, flawed, self-centered, and prone to wander. Yet God, through His enabling grace and sufficiency, calls us to create a home in which all those who gather around our tables and hearths might see His glory and experience His attributes in some small measure. God chose an unpretentious stable in which to enter this world, somehow it seems consistent with His nature to continue to manifest Himself within the rooms of our humble homes.

In heaven, we will clearly see and experience the fullness of all the attributes of God – His love, joy, comfort, beauty, creativity, protection, order, peace, hospitality, knowledge and more. No matter how diligent our homemaking efforts, right now we will see and experience him in our homes dimly, "through a glass darkly", but praise God we, and others, can still see HIM!