For the past few of years, I have been on a journey. While on this journey, the Lord has been directing and redirecting me for His purpose. I think it started in 2011. I was living in a cozy little neighborhood, in a cozy little townhouse and it was here that I brought home 3 out of my 4 children. This place was home to me.
We had an entire basement filled with toys up to your eyeballs, and anything and everything you could ever think of was stored in a cupboard or two, in a closet, or in a box under my stairs. My home was a well-padded place of comfort. Old clothes, childhood items, unused electronics…I had it all. The problem wasn’t that I was using the items, it was that I was storing it for a day that I “might” use it. Granted some of these things were practical items that I knew I would get to for sure, but others were not. I had too much and because of it, my life was unmanageable. (I wonder if there is a 12 step group for cluttered people?) I suppose this makes it sound like I was a hoarder. No no, I wasn’t a hoarder, but I was highly ineffective in the way that I organized the items I owned, and in some cases overly attached to the broken toy that my oldest child used, that I might some-day remember to repair sort of way.
This is when the Lord opened my eyes one day while reading Matthew 6:19-20- “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
It was this passage that kind of flicked on the light in my very overwhelmed room. Suddenly I looked around, and I realized just how flustered I was at the thought of cleaning and tidying. This is why it never got done the way I always envisioned it would in my mind! In my mind, I had a sparkling, orderly house that required minimal attention and ran like a well-oiled machine. This is probably why I also hated to do housework, because I didn’t know where to begin.
This was the day I decided I would alter my housekeeping habits. Up until then I really hadn’t been a “keeper of the home”, but I wanted to learn how to become one.
The first part to this began with me starting to read God’s word and see what He had to say about the matter. I was able to find many valuable pieces of scripture that supported the idea of being a good keeper of the home. I began to write out these verses on coloured index cards, and I’d post them around my house in places that I often looked; by the coffeemaker, by my bedside, on my bathroom mirror, beside my bedroom light switch etc. I would read these verses so that every time I felt a notion to sit down and vegetate, I’d feel prompted to not do so and to follow God’s instruction instead.
I almost wish I was a fly on the wall at that point, because what I would have witnessed was a lady who had a bunch of kids, who was bursting at the seems with a house full of things, and was really unhappy about it, to watching a lady pack things up in boxes to be donated, and sorting things that were useful. In the span of a month or so, I managed to organize my home to a much better standard. It was manageable and then….we moved. Once again, I was packing and sorting. In the end we had 2.5 loads with a huge U-Haul truck to the new house. We still had loads of stuff. How did this happen?
The new house was a bungalow and it was sprawling and large. We filled it up quickly and the items that we had seemed to fit nicely into our new space. It didn’t seem so bad, until…again…we decided to move. We had found an acreage in the country with 22 acres of land to rent. What a stellar find? Except one thing….the trailer was in dismal repair and it was little. Again we downsized. We fit into the little trailer all right, but every space was used. There wasn’t a cupboard untouched or a closet unused. We stayed here for a year and then…we decided to move again…back into town because we were anticipating a move to another province a year later. We scoured the ads for something small, cheap and accommodating. We found an apartment. Imagine a family of 6 crammed into a three bedroom apartment? I knew that we wouldn’t be able to take everything. I knew I didn’t want to. It was during this time I was also reading a book about the Amish. Aside from their fascinating way of life, I managed to take away an appreciation for their simple ways. In this book, I read about how all of their furniture serves an everyday purpose. Nothing is kept that is not being used often. This is where I took it home. I mapped out the entire apartment we were moving into and only kept a fraction of what we owned. We gave away much of the furniture that was more for esthetic appeal and kept only the useful pieces. Everything else found new homes.
Our church family helped us move into the apartment, and many of the folks who helped with the move admitted that it was the easiest move they had ever done. I had considered the weight of all the furniture so that nothing was heavy to move, and we found Rubbermaid bins to pack our belongings into so that they would be easy to carry. Once everything was unpacked and we were settled in, the apartment became quite the abode. It was clean, easy to maintain because there was hardly anything in it that took up much space. Many things were multi-functional like the futon couch we traded for in place of our regular furniture. Most of all it became a place of production rather than consumption. It was the most joyous place to be because I had chosen to make it so. I knew that I was bombarded by the amount of stuff I had, and it had made me unhappy and overwhelmed. So I surrendered to the Lord and asked Him to teach me a new way.
This was all for purpose, because less than a couple months after our move into the cool little apartment, we moved again! (Boy, we moved a lot!?) It was confirmed, our anticipated cross provincial move was going to happen sooner than we had thought. This time we were prepared, and all of the furniture went. We gave each piece away and to this day, I can recall the Lord using this willingness to hold our things with a loose hand, to His glory. I can recall each person that received one of our items. They each had a distinct need or reason to need the things we offered. Each time we gave an item away, we had the awesome opportunity to share our testimony. They would ask, “Why are you doing this? Giving away all of your stuff like this…” and we would share exactly what the Lord was doing in our life. Some of them Christians, but most of them were not. In the end, we packed up our lives into a 5 x 8 U-Haul trailer and moved to the west coast.
Now that we are here in British Columbia,the Lord is revealing even more ways to encourage my homemaking skills. And I am eager to learn. The biggest lesson I have learned from this experience is that the Lord is giver of all things. He has provided for us and I chose to covet things I didn’t have, or hang on tightly to the things I had. Instead, I learned how to prepare my heart to give freely. To be a better steward of the things God has given me and my family. By doing so, God has shown me His grace, and He has provided for us in the most unusual ways, to a kitchen table, to two desired bicycles and a re-furnished home. All of which He dropped into our lap, or directed us in purchasing these things for a frugal price tag(only what we need of course).
Joy has been the end result.
Here are some links to bible verses that spoke to me and still do when I consider what it means to be a keeper of my home:
Father, I pray that you would speak to the women’s hearts of those who read this. Show us if we are hanging on to distractions in our lives. Speak to our hearts and guide us, as women, to where you would have us. Show us we have value in our home, and remove the distraction of the world that tells us we need more, or that we need to do more. Help us to find contentment in being keepers of our home. Thank you that no mundane “chore”, no matter how big or small, from laundry, to nose wiping, is important to you. In Jesus name, Amen.