When I first imagined a series on making our homes peaceful dwellings, I knew I needed help. Already Rachel Doll has shared her heart with us and now I’m excited to share an insightful post by Becky Bittle. Becky is the author of Read My Chicken Scratch, a blog about chicken keeping, saving money, and being creative, all while enjoying her family and her rural Oklahoma home. So, settle in and let’s learn together. Shall we?
I love my home! I love my chickens and hearing my roosters and my neighbor’s roosters crowing to one another. I love the hammock swing that hangs under my favorite tree. I love the train that makes my children and grandchildren laugh. I love the honeysuckle and wildflowers that grow here. I even love the weeds! Sometimes it seems easy to be peaceful in a setting like this. Sometimes…
But most of the time it takes a lot of work and prayer and patience to be peaceful. It’s nice to think that there is a place where I can just relax and everything around me will be at peace, but that isn’t reality – at least not long term, everyday reality.
For me, having a peaceful home is not just a desire. It is absolutely necessary. Our daughter Josie (25 with Cerebral Palsy) is very sensitive. Tension and arguing can upset her so much that she cannot calm down without medication. But even without a “Josie” in your home, peace is something to treasure in every family. The world is a stressful and cruel place. We need a soft place to land and be renewed, and home should be that place.
There are three keys to keeping my home peaceful.
It takes planning to keep a peaceful home. Clutter is a peace-killer in my home and in my schedule. All the “stuff” I have and all the “stuff” I do is really not about the “stuff”. It is about the people I am sharing it with. I have a mission statement hanging in my kitchen. It says “My greatest desire for our home is that nothing would distract from the relationships we are building inside of it.” That means I don’t want dirt on the kitchen floor to cause my husband to grumble, but I also don’t want to grumble at my son for walking across that freshly mopped floor. I want to plan enriching activities for my family, but I don’t want there to be so many activities on our calendar that they begin to feel more like a job than fun.
Need help? Flylady.net has lots of resources to help keep you organized.
You know “if momma ain’t happy, nobody’s happy”. It is also true that if momma ain’t peaceful, nobody’s peaceful. And to keep myself peaceful I need to spend some time every day laying my burdens down at the feet of my Father and then leaving them there for Him to work out for me. The things I worry about are not in my control – but they are in God’s. I am told to “Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) and cast doesn’t just mean hand it to Him gently and then keep looking back at it thinking how I might still fix it myself. Isn’t that what we moms usually do? Cast means to fling it off of me, like I would if I felt a spider on my shoulder. Get rid of it and then let Him handle it. Don’t take it back from Him tomorrow to worry over again!
I do everything better with a plan – even prayer. I use The 2959 Plan to help me stay on track.
The best thing I know for keeping a peaceful home is a nice shiny coat of Turtle Wax. No, of course I don’t mean you should literally add car wax to your beauty routine. But just like a good coat of wax lets the water and dirt slide right off my car, I need to let things that irritate me slide right off as well. That is harder than it sounds! But it is honestly the best thing I can do for my family. I can’t take everything so seriously and so personally. It helps if I can remember that a bad attitude may be directed at me, but it may not be about me. Someone probably had a bad day and needs some extra love rather than an angry response.
Sometimes I lose my keys – my car keys, my house keys, and these keys too. In the moment that a conflict arises, my emotions cause me to forget the things I know. I put little notes to myself all over my home (like the “No Distractions” sign I mentioned) to help me remember. Because if I can remember my keys, my home will be at peace.