Monday, August 20, 2012

Happy at Home (Monday)

This is where Life on Fieldcrest Lane happens. Home sweet home.

I have never been a homebody. I think I love people and planet Earth far too much to stay cooped up inside for any length of time. It started when I was young. I had a happy, carefree childhood, but my family hit a rough patch around junior high. My brother, my only sibling, left home and then it was just me, mom, and dad. My parents were great, still are, but I was lonely. So I escaped. To the mall, to a friends house, to any and every activity that I could find to involve myself in. Because when I was busy, I didn't have time to think about the hard stuff, the sad stuff of life. So busy seemed better. Busy was more fun. And it was the same for me in college. (I'm not sure why my parents ever agreed to pay for me to rent a place. I was never there for more than the eight hours of required sleep each night!) And my 'busy is better' attitude carried right on over in to my adult life. In the beginning, it didn't seem to matter. When we were first married, Boss was the manager of a Champs Sports store in the mall (and worked insane hours), so when I wasn't in classes, I was there. With him. It was the only way that we got to see each other. I would walk around, people watch, read a book in the food court, drink vanilla Cokes from the Cookie Place as if my very life depended on it. Anything to pass the time. But then, I became a mama.

I had assumed that once I became a mama, that my life would change. That I  would automatically slow down. I pictured myself organized, having grocery days, laundry days, scheduled rest and play times for my children, hot meals on the table each evening. I assumed that because I had always longed to be a wife and mother, my only dream ever being to have a family, that the title of 'homemaker' would just come naturally. Without effort. But it didn't. Because I had never learned how. My mom had offered to teach me a few things in high school, but I always turned her down, too busy being busy. So now as a brand new mama, I found the task of keeping a home overwhelming. So I didn't. I simply did the bare minimum. Boss would wash the laundry and fold it, and then it would sit there in baskets until worn again. I learned to cook a weeks worth of basic meals, but nothing more. And when Boss was at work, the children and I would leave. We would head to the library, the park, the mall play place, a friends house.  It didn't really matter where we went, just so long as we went. Being busy made the days seem to pass more quickly, the tasks of being a wife and a mother less overwhelming. And don't get me wrong! The children and I had fun! Adventures we would call them. It was exciting to see where our days would take us. And that was our life. And it still was up until a few months ago when God began to convict me.

'Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. '
(Titus 2:3-5)

I stumbled upon this verse in one of my readings, and the words busy at home jumped out at me right away. Like a dagger to the heart. Yikes! I was a busy person, all right, but I was not busy at home. At first, I didn't like the way the words felt on my lips, so I ignored them. I moved on in my reading, tried to put the words out of my mind, but they kept creeping back in. For weeks, every time I would ignore the dishes and load the kids up in the car to head out for the day, I would feel a huge sense of guilt. Every time I would spend HOURS chatting at a friends house while the children played in another room, where I used to feel fulfillment, I now felt stomach pains and weariness. Now, every time we would be out all day and then hurry home to throw something last minute on the table (or pick up take out), I knew I wasn't honoring God with my time. And what was even worse, I had begun to see that I was passing my 'busy is better' attitude on to my children. If we weren't in motion, my children weren't happy! And if I dared suggest we stay home for a day, you would have thought I was suggesting torture. And my mama heart began to break, for disobeying God, and for not showing my children what it means to be obedient to God's Word. Something needed to change. I needed to change. And I thought our move, into our brand new (to us) home, would be a good time to start. And while I can say that I have made progress this summer, I am still not where I would like to be.

I want our home to be a sanctuary, our family haven from the world. I want Boss to look forward to returning here in the evenings, after a hard day at work. I want our home to be clean and organized so that we can use it to bless and serve others. I want my children to feel ties to our family home, something I never felt to mine. Most importantly, I want to be the wife and mother that God would have me to be. I want to learn the art of being happy at home. It's one of my dreams that I have decided to turn into a plan.

So here's my plan. Every Monday, at the start of a brand new week of  homemaking, I will post here on what I am doing to continue to cultivate the art of learning to be happy at home. Maybe I will post new recipe's I have tried, or organizational tips I have found to be helpful. Perhaps decorating ideas that inspire me, or family things going on inside of our home. To hold me accountable. To remind me of God's desire for my role as a wife and mama living for him. I have no doubt that the children and I will still go on adventures. It's in our blood. And adventures are just plain fun! But my new desire is to make this new adventure inside of our home, just as exciting, just as wonderful, as the adventures we are used to taking outside of our home. And perhaps a new sort of happiness awaits us. But this time we won't be too busy to see it!