Are y’all feeling challenged yet? I am! Almost every page in my Lifegiving Home book has highlighted passages and notes. I love that being challenged and convicted is no longer something I’m afraid of, but it’s taken years to get there. There’s is something beautiful in welcoming the pruning required for God to cultivate us closer to His image and further from this world’s.
A Symphony of Grace (Chapter 3)
Home is where the heart sings. – Scarlet Deva Antaloczy
This quote had me immediately questioning if our home is one that makes our heart sing. I know, for myself, often the clutter is overwhelming and makes me feel claustrophobic. While I love visiting homes such as Sally describers her own, full of trinkets and treasures and books in every nook, I cannot live in a space that doesn’t have white space or margin or whatever you want to call it. My heart sings in open spaces where there is much light. I love books and we have shelves full, but they have their own place in each room, and I clean them out every few months to keep the number to what seems reasonable to me.
Sally encourages us in the beginning to create our own symphony, and that no two will sound alike. There is so much truth to that, don’t you think? How do you make the hearts of your family sing in your own home? What do you need to change to get rid of any discordance?
Sally refers to herself as the Director of Life Art. I think I like that better than homemaker 😉 The statement Sally made about observing the life of Christ causing her to realize that a servant’s heart was of the utmost importance for truly making a difference in the lives of those who came through her home really struck me. I know I’m selfish by nature and that most definitely spills over into the entire home/family/life when I allow that to take hold, even for a short time. I also know there is a difference between taking time to care for myself and just putting myself first, we must all remember that that while we are to offer hospitality without grumbling (1 Peter 4:9) we are also to make time to be still and to rest (that’s why God demands a Sabbath day of rest for us).
What did you take away from the different Music sections?
- Music of Welcome – Hospitality is something I struggle to be consistent with. I struggle with desiring a perfect home, and forgetting that I need strive for grace, not perfection as my friend Emily Ley says. Having a clean and at least semi-orderly home is enough. It doesn’t need to be prefect. And with children 6 and 3, it probably won’t be for many more moons.
- Music of Safety – Are you making your home a haven from the trials and tribulations of everyday life? I know sometimes I let stress get the best of me, but I truly try to make our home a shelter, a space for creativity to flourish, a place of gentle noise and sometimes silence. I love being able to shut the door to keep out what needs keeping out and to protect what is inside.
- Music of Knowledge and Wisdom – We are a book loving household. I believe I had a book hoarding problem at some point and I’m not fully recovered. Plus, Usborne keeps putting out awesome titles we just can’t say no to. But we are careful with the books, tv shows, DVDs, and apps we allow into our home. What goes into your mind cannot be gotten rid of easily, and sometimes never. I want to protect my own heart and that of my family and guests while they are under our roof.
- Music of Beauty – Art, sculpture, carefully crafted butterfly gardens, and delicate touches throughout our home and property make it more lovely to be here. Art is very important in our home as is music. All the beauty in the world points back to the original Creator and His vivid and beautiful ideas of what this earth was supposed to be.
- Music of Relationship – Cultivating the relationships in our home is imperative. We, as homeschoolers, spend almost all our time together. This gives me the opportunity to know my children’s likes, dislikes, passions, interests, and personalities intimately. I try to use this information to nurture them in ways that are specific to their needs. We are big fans of the 5 Love Languages book series. It has helped us to know better how to serve each other in our home.
- Music of Nourishment – As an allergy family, we have crazy meals sometimes. Our dietary needs make me hesitant to invite others for meal times, but I really should just get over it. I’m a work in progress in this area. One way we nourish ourselves together, is through tea time. Sometimes we go all out with gluten free scones, lemon curd, and clotted cream (when we aren’t on restricted dairy). It’s a delight to spend time together slowing down for conversation, poetry, Bible stories, or art. Meal times are also a work in progress here. They are often hurried or spent in the car between errands, therapy, or extracurricular activities.
- Music of Rest – I struggle with rest the most. There’s always something that “needs” to be done. Homeschooling, house work, gardening, caring for the animals (we have a dog, a hamster, and 2 chickens), cooking, church activities, etc. The list never ends, and that recovering Type-A personality of mine struggles to actually pause. When I do, I remember to paint, to read, to sing, to sit in the sun and listen to the chorus of the breeze, birds, and creek that runs through our back yard. God’s not finished with me yet 🙂
Filling the Spaces of Home
I love to decorate and design. I love how much joy I get from finding a new slipcover or fresh flowers for the dining room table. I try to keep much of our shelves simply decorated with books. Our home is donned with art and family pieces that all have a special value to our story. I don’t go all out and every nook and cranny isn’t filled with lovely things, that’s just not me. How do you fill the spaces of your home? Are you a sparse, medium, or completely filled to the brim sort of decorator?
The Rhythms of Incarnation (Chapter 4)
I adore the way Sarah writes. I also love the idea of shutting off Facebook. It’s certainly a lifeline for many special needs parents, but I find it distracting. I am toying with the idea of disengaging from my personal profile. There’s actually an app where I can manage my page, so no worries for those of you who like to hang out there!
There’s a quote on page 35 that really hit home for me.
If we want to embody the life go God in our homes, we need to understand what God intended human life to be, and we also need to be aware of what distracts us from that intention or diminishes it in our lives.
What distracts you? Is it social media, trying to keep up with Pinterest perfect, trying to be the “ideal” mom/wife/homeschooler person you have created in your head? Is it the internet in general? I have taken breaks from blogging before because even this ministry is not as important as the ministry I have within the walls of my own home.
God didn’t intent for us to live life skimming along the surface with no deep and meaningful experiences in our lives. That’s why there are so many verses in the Bible about ways we should spend our time.
Sarah mentions some on page 37. They are worth exploring more. I need all the reminders I can get so I’ve added those verses to my list to Bible journal. Which stood out most to you?
Homemaking (or directing of life art as Sally puts it) is a ministry. The people in our home are the ones who most need us by God’s own design. We should not sacrifice that ministry for any reason, and when we are convicted of setting it on the back burner, we should be quick to repent and to correct our course.
Sarah ends this chapter with these words.
We are challenged by the Incarnation to make our homes a small cosmos of God’s Kingdom, one more outpost of eternity right in the midst of time.
How can Facebook compare to that?
I don’t know that I’ve ever considered that my own home is a here-and-now manifestation of God’s Kingdom. Wrapping my head around that is humbling and convicting and a little intimidating. But it’s really more about the Grace, there’s no need for perfection. He has that covered, friends.