Monday, October 20, 2008

Family Culture, Part 1: Home and Family

A center of Industry and Joy
Peace and Contentment.
Filled with
Laughter, Love, Forgiveness,
And Grace.

When I find my thoughts dwelling on the home, I marvel at this precious gift from God, all it is and all it represents. Nearly everyone has hear the old adage, “home is where the heart is” and certainly this rings true, there are many houses that are nothing more than a place to lay your head and lack the warmth of love and of vibrant family life. And then there are homes, filled with love, industry, fellowship and life. Often, though not always, these homes are not immaculate. In many you will find signs of young, inquisitive life, whether it be toys, books, or puzzles out of place or original ‘wall art’. I have been blessed with being in a wide range of homes, some are beautifully ‘picture perfect’ (though these homes generally belong to older, Titus 2 women who no longer have young ones about) and are so warm and inviting. I have been in homes that are more like mine, there are definite signs of young children and are just as pleasant and inviting.
What is it that makes homes so precious to us and what is it that makes houses little more than a place to sleep? Ultimately, the family culture; Van Til said that “culture is religion externalized” therefore, simply defined, family culture is the outworking of a family’s beliefs and priorities. It is a manifestation of what a family truly holds dear and believes to be important. This will evidence itself in everything, from the decorum to the atmosphere and all in between.
As a daughter in my father’s home, I love the way my mother has decorated our home, the colors are warm and inviting and there is a scriptural theme woven into many of the rooms in our home. Our kitchen is one of my favorite places; we have a chicken and French country theme, with vanilla crème as our main color, followed by a deep cherry red and then black accents. Mom loves her chickens and we have several in the kitchen. The Biblical theme for this room? Forgiveness and restoration; Christ warned Peter that he would deny Him three times before the cock crowed and after His resurrection He forgiven and restored Peter, exhorting him to “feed My sheep”.
As a daughter who has joined the ranks of “women” I am excited about the day when my husband and I will weave our family culture and begin our own home, and as I think of one day beginning a home, under the blessing of God, within the covenant of marriage, I ask myself, “What are practical ways I can prepare myself for this season while I am still unmarried?”
I believe there are three main ways in which a daughter can prepare to one day, with her husband, beautify the home she will be responsible for managing.
1st, realize that entering marriage doesn’t make your character magically perfect, that is, what you bring into marriage will be woven into your family’s culture and thus, the atmosphere of your home. We could compare family culture to a tapestry; because it is very difficult to remove the threads of poor character, it is best to weave good character from the beginning. Now is the time to cultivate a joyful, submissive heart, to learn to persevere with grace through trials, rather than to throw a spiritual tantrum over circumstances. Now is the time to learn humility, forgiveness, a love for children and a delight in the responsibilities of the home. While we will never be perfect (not in this life anyway!) we can lay the vital foundations. Marriage is an edification tool, so we can’t expect that if we try to ‘learn it all’ now there will be no disagreements or hurt feelings, for such is no the case. However, there is a lot of heartache which can be avoided. Just as we would not think of building a house without proper tools and equipment, so let us purpose to enter marriage having, by God’s grace, done what we can to develop good character.
2nd, when it comes to decorating, have fun reading books, looking through home magazines and beginning to form ideas. What is it that makes home look like home? What do certain colors, themes and texture say about a home? Learn how to be frugal with decorating. How can I achieve a look I like without spending an exorbitant amount of money? Now, I know in our culture it is perceived that men have no interest in the appearance of the home (I say perceived because I am not so sure that is accurate, I know that the men in my home do have preferences) however, I think that a wife needs to beware of monopolizing this task. I hope that my husband will have preferences and that he will desire to have some input when it comes to the appearance of our house and it’s reflection of our family culture. So, again, have fun learning and toying with ideas, but don’t make them so airtight that they are exclusive of your future husband’s wishes, tastes and preferences.
3rd, learn now to delight in making and keeping your home beautiful. Decorate the table nicely, fill vases with flowers, and help keep the home orderly. Learn to enjoy repetition because especially with little ones, you will find your self refolding the same blanket several times, moving cushions back to the couch for the third time that day, washing dishes and resetting the table with little or seemingly no time in between now and the last time you had to do it. If you are impatient and grumpy concerning the number of times you have to do something your attitude will translate into atmosphere of the home.
Enjoy the niceties and finer decorum, but learn also to delight in and see the value of the more mundane, repetitious tasks. Let us also keep in mind that Christ, Who is the Source of true beauty, must be Lord of our homes, or all is in vain.
God has called women to delight and in manage the home. Let us seek to bring godly character and beauty into the family culture and atmosphere.


Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post! Thank you for the reminder to cultivate good, Christ-like character now, while unmarried so that it will be a true asset and blessing in marriage. That makes so much sense, and as an unmarried young woman, that's something I needed to hear! I'm glad the Lord gave you this word of wisdom and truth. It's encouraged me! God Bless!
-Narobi in Tx

Elisa said...

Like the definition of home at the starting of your post.

~*~Jessica~*~ said...


My name is Jessica (I am also a stay-at-home-daughter!), I was googling a couple of things and your blog came up :). And a lovely blog it is too.

I just wanted to say what a wonderful post that was, and all how very true.

When you mentioned women not monopolizing the task of decorating a home, it reminded me of My Fair Lady, when the Professor was complaining about all of the horrible things women do to men. "Redecorating the home from the cellar to the dome" was one of them :).

Again, I enjoyed reading through some of your blog!

Many blessings, ~*~Jessica~*~