I always find the weekly rhythm of homemaking to be a constant source of peace and calm, satisfaction, gratitude, and productivity in my everyday life. It also provides a sense of purpose, something many of us look for, yet too often a thing we can doubt.
Knowing your unique purpose removes a lot of self doubt from the mind. When we become aware it, usually from a very young age or later when the Lord places it right in the centre of our hearts as a desire waiting to be fulfilled, we can choose to follow where it leads, or, as many do, choose a different path. I have done both in different seasons of life...and the paths I chose were both 'good', but as the years progressed, one path shone far more brightly than the other. That bright path, over time, was to expand my love for God, family and home. It caused me to see the very real need for a revival in homemakers, and homemaking.
As with many things in life, I have a tendency 'at times' to push myself too hard, and then as the months pass, one day I'll find myself collapsing in a worn-out mess for a while, unable to do a lot until my energy (and health) recovers a week or two later - but I do believe in the past year especially, that I have finally learned to balance the everyday tasks and interactions of a homemaker life.
Today my daily homemaker rhythms are kinder, slower and gentler than ever, each task bringing simple delights, gratitude and smiles. If I cannot complete the tasks on my list by the end of the day or the week, it causes me no regret or feelings of failure; I simply move those tasks to another day in order of importance...and not many are very important anyhow. For example, I like to regularly pull everything out of the linen cupboard and give it a clean, replacing each item neatly and in order, and placing anything no longer needed into the charity box which is kept in the boot of my car - but this is not a task of importance. It's a task to do when I have time, or when I'm in the mood for a deep clean of cupboards through the house (usually once per season).
(as there are only two of us at home now, I bake the bread so that it's easy to pull into two halves, one for now and one for the freezer)
It was quite an epiphany this year to grasp a certain truth about age - more specifically, about what is expected of us as we age. How can I at 64 expect to keep moving at the same pace as I did at 34, 44 or 54? Well, unless I am on some ego trip to keep up with the younger generation, at this time of life I need to allow myself to pull back and slow down more, resting a while each afternoon with a book, some crochet, or an episode of The Waltons (currently watching my way through the entire series); perhaps reading some blogs or writing cards, continuing with my Bible study from that morning, having a short nap or praying for my loved ones.
Living a slower life does not mean living an easier life. I still need to keep the floors vacuumed and mopped, the washing hung on the line, the ironing done, meals prepared, bathrooms scrubbed, gardens weeded and watered...but those tasks are not raced through, or burdensome anymore. They are very important tasks, and when completed with a gentle and joyful attitude, unhurried but done with diligence and care, they bring a great deal of satisfaction to my homemaker heart. I no longer think about what I'll do when I finish them, because that is the main reason I used to rush. My mind is on the privilege of having a home to maintain, someone to care for, and the gift of another day of life with a body that still has working limbs. I even appreciate the migraines which the Lord has never seen a need to heal me of, because they also remind me to slow things down.
Sometimes we read articles or blogs where the writer has done so much around the home that our heads are spinning wondering how they do it, and that can cause feelings of failure or disappointment in our own achievements. Let me gently remind you that they are living a different life to you. They will have completely different life circumstances - such as where they live, size of their home and property, their age, their finances, hands on help, climate, health, and responsibilities. If you are content with your day-to-day tasks, and can keep up with the important things such as looking after your family, your home, your health and your relationship with Jesus, then cheer them on in the comments, whilst cheering yourself for living a life that brings joy and satisfaction within the home sanctuary you have created.
**Admittedly, many emails and comments have been left here on my blog over the years asking "how do you get so much done?!"...and I can confess that I used to be a bit of whirlwind around the house, garden and in the design studio, because I am a true introvert and spend almost every day at home alone, so I had time to do those things back then. Now I enjoy the slower rhythms of each day.**
How you live your life is also unique to your circumstances. We may face seasons that stretch us further than we thought we could endure, times when the grace of God is the only thing that keeps us going, so especially in those seasons do not compare yourself to another. I don't believe we should compare ourselves to others at any time, yet even unconsciously to some extent we probably will...but if that happens, stop and consider the very real differences between your life and what you know of the other's life. Don't be disheartened if you're not as well off, as healthy, as seemingly happy, as creative, as beautiful, or as organised as they appear to be...just be YOU, wonderful YOU, a unique and lovely woman crafted by our God, a God who has a mighty heart which stamped the full depth of His love on a cross. For YOU.
We have six foot high sunflowers across the front of the house. No amount of sun or extreme heat can thwart their natural tendency to look up at the sun and follow it across the sky.
Dear one, let us be like the sunflower and let nothing turn us away from the true Son. Let our hearts look up to Him and follow His example in how we live our lives, treat others, and bear witness to His Word.
Precious girl, if your purpose seems clouded and elusive right now, if you are just not sure what you're meant to be doing (and how) with the rest of your earthly life, know I am praying this coming week that the fullness of the knowledge of His purpose for you becomes radiantly clear, and that His peace which surpasses all understanding will fill your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.