Posted in Faith, Parenting

Making the Home a Haven

As September 2019 approached, I remember asking God for a direction that I should focus on in the year that was to come. I got the distinct sense that I was to put my efforts into making our home more of a haven. This was going to involve household organization, cleaning, decluttering, and making sure I regularly had time and energy for things like cooking, doing dishes, and doing laundry. It was also going to involve being emotionally present for the people in my family – as simple, sometimes, as sitting quietly around the table with them after their long days at work and school, ready to listen and respond.

The message on the pot is self-explanatory. The plant, however, is plastic. 😉

At this point I had been a mother for 8 1/2 years, and with the progression of time, God had been steadily and stealthily peeling my clammy grip from education and career pursuits – one tightly wound finger at a time. However, choosing the home as my over-arching focus for the foreseeable future, was still not my natural bent.

And as the beginning of 2020 brought with it the commencement of a small music therapy contract, and a speaking opportunity scheduled for the upcoming fall, I began to wonder if I had heard wrong. Maybe, I would soon transition back to working outside the home.

Nonetheless, March 2020 happened. God had known that it would. Our lives outside the walls of home ground to a halt. Even my son’s schooling moved to the dining room table – and stayed there for the majority of the year. My inbox was inundated with cancellation messages. There would be no music therapy sessions to lead, no piano lessons to teach, and no speaking engagement in the fall.

The realization that God had been preparing me for that very moment filled me with gratitude and joy. I also came to understand that making the home a haven was not only important for my family – it was important for me. As a bit of what they call an “HSP” (highly sensitive person), my surrounding environment has a large effect on my mental state. When the chores get done, the laundry and dishes are put away, and there is a place for everything, with everything in its place, I am a much happier person. These things affect my husband and kids too, but probably not to such a large extent. After all, I am the one who spends the most time within these walls. I think that by directing me to take care of the home in advance, God was protecting my mental health at a time that would stretch it to the brink and back, time and time again.

If having kids has put a damper on my love for candles, electricity and batteries have renewed it! These little candle holders are from a past music therapy client, and they remind me of ice blocks. The wax warmer was a gift from my husband, and fills our home with wonderful scents.

Progress has been slow, and my home still isn’t perfectly put together. I don’t know if it ever will be. But I’ve made a lot of progress! Pandemic or not, home is important. Much time is spent there. So, it may as well be a place that you want to be.

Here are some of the ways I have been working on making our home a haven:

  • As I’ve alluded to in the past – decluttering. There is much more to say on this topic, so it will probably be its own post at some point. I’m very proud of the amount of things I’ve gotten rid of, and have been enjoying the results.
  • Decor. A few carefully chosen knick-knacks that bring me joy, an artificial plant or candle here and there, and beautiful pictures on the wall, give my eyes a place to rest; while the calm, blank spaces in between provide room for my imagination to wander.
  • Recruiting help. Should a stay-at-home-mom require the assistance of her family members to complete all of the household tasks? I won’t even begin to argue a stance on this highly controversial issue, but I will say that doing everything alone was really not working for me. So Saturdays have become housecleaning day, and everyone pitches in to get the bathrooms cleaned, mess put away, and floors vacuumed. Many hands make work light, and we are usually finished by 11 am. During the week, then, I am free to focus on other cleaning/organizing tasks, dishes, laundry, cooking, grocery shopping, taking care of the kids, and (if needed) my son’s remote learning.
  • Organization. Something as simple as $2 bins from the dollar store, to conceal my office supplies, which are all sorted into recycled jars inside the bins, has relieved much of the anxiety I used to feel about my haphazard desk area.

No home is perfect, and neither are the lives within its walls. I could regale you with stories of struggle and hardship, as anyone could. But a home can be a soft place to land, at the end of it all. It can cushion the inevitable fights and heartaches. It can bring rest to minds that are weary of chaos and unpredictability. I pray that my home would be a sacred space of peace and order, filled with the presence and protection of God. And I pray the same for yours.

How do you feel about your home? Let me know in the comments below.

Warm wishes,

Lisa

Author:

Hi, I'm Lisa, a born-and-bred-in-Manitoba mom of 2 boys. Having lived in 7 different Manitoba towns or cities, I've managed to stay warm in them all 😜❄. I am trained as a music therapist but currently work as a fulltime stay-at-home-mom by day, and a piano teacher in the evenings. By night, well...I sleep. Usually.

21 thoughts on “Making the Home a Haven

  1. I love this! Isn’t God just awesome? You’ve added such simple things to your home, but I agree, even tiny changes can bring small joys into our homes. I feel that God prepared me in many ways for 2020 as well. No, that hasn’t made everything run smoothly or made it easy, but it did make it manageable.
    AND I’m TOTALLY with you on getting the whole family involved in Saturday chores. I have an hour or two of quiet time each afternoon which could be used for extra cleaning, but for the sake of my peacefulness as a parent, I have found it much more beneficial to use that time for writing, reading, running, or devotions. This way, I feel recharged and ready when it is time to make supper, plan homeschool lessons for the next day, or drive the older kids around. Also, there’s already lots of cleaning to do with everyday chores that I find the the extra stuff needs extra hands!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad God prepared you for 2020 as well. I’m sure He did that for many people. He is a good Father. And yes, I do take quiet time during the weekdays as well. It helps my sanity and my ability to be a kinder mother and wife. If I did everything myself all the time, I would definitely be more tired and grouchy. I also find it encouraging when I’m not the only person trying to keep the house clean. And the kids learn healthy habits and skills!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Agree with both your comments here! Our family motto is: “Families work together.” And that’s not just housework. That’s supporting each other, being a team, etc. Not that we get this right all the time. LOL.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I often think how it’s so amazing that it’s taken a pandemic for most of us to fully enjoy the homes we work so hard to afford yet never had the time to be in. In the first home and yard we owned, I created several cozy places to peacefully relax BUT with juggling a job, small children, and multitudes of who knows what, I never took the time to do just that … enjoy those spaces. This year has certainly forced the issue! 😀 I love how you’re making your home a haven … and I think that having everyone invest in cleaning up makes it even more meaningful of a place to everyone. Well done!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I think it’s wonderful how God prepared you for 2020. I feel He prepared us as well by working things out for us through a small inheritance and plopping us into the country in September of 2019. It’s much nicer to be home when you have a nice big outside area. Not stuck in a place with a tiny yard and close neighbors. I love being home.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I stole that phrase from a Mother’s Day card 😜 and yes…it’s true. I think even Jesus longed for home – “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” Matthew 8:20b

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I absolutely love “a home can be a soft place to land”. Without realizing it, this is something I’ve been working towards over the last half of 2020 and continue to do so this year. I’ve been working slowly at decluttering as well. That’s a tough job lol. One bite at a time 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You’ve shared some great tips on how to make your home a haven. I have the hardest time asking for help, even though I know I should just so I can get things done.

    Right now my home is a complete mess. My living room is full of boxes which hold items from our 3rd bedroom. That room became “storage” basically and now we’re remodeling that room. However, behind that mess, I do have candles so I can at least enjoy something. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah yes…a candle can make all the difference! And yes, I had a hard time asking for help too, but the results I find are worth that initial discomfort. And renovating does make a home feel topsy turvy for a while. I really struggled with that feeling of disorder during our renovating days. But again…in the end, it’s worth it! (I’m sorry for the delay in responding to this comment…somehow it didn’t come up in my notifications!) I hope that you will achieve the results you are working for in your renos!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve also felt some guidance as we entered COVID quarantines. People keep saying how difficult of a times it’s been (it has), but I’ve also felt so much closer to our family with the forced time together. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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