Saturday, April 19, 2008

Sunday Afternoon Tea

I've been thinking a lot recently about what it means to be a Christian Homemaker. I was going to chat about it last week but got... distracted. :) Let's pour our tea, prop our feet up onto the coffee table (I'm writing this on Saturday so I'm a little less formal than on Sunday)... and chat. Oh how I would love to talk about this subject in person.

I have never been one that chooses to label some things as "Christian" when they should just be called by their normal labels. For instance, to say one is going to a Christian school because their math book counts Bibles instead of apples is not necessarily any more "Christian" than the public school down the street.

I don't mean to get snarky when people ask me if the book I'm reading is "Christian". But to me, a great Jane Austen book is more edifying then say... bad theology. It's actually the Schaeffer influence of long ago for Francis (and Edith) were always reminding us in their writings that our faith is far more than going to church on Sunday and then living a separate life the other six days of the week. Following Jesus is to be the very core of our being... who we are... what we are striving to become... what we want our children to become.

If someone were to ask me what I considered a Christian home I'd have to ponder out loud...

A home that is Christ centered, where we talk about Him as if He is the unseen member of the family... for He is.

A place where our lives are lived in relationship to Eternity... knowing we stand before Him at a future date... without fear but knowing everything we do has eternal consequences... for us and others.

A home where we think about our actions, our words, our decisions, and how they all reflect our desire to become more like Jesus every day.

A place where compassion is shown to the poor, the needy, the tired, the fearful.

A home which is a safe place for children to grow in their knowledge of God, a hot house of protection for the smallest of children as we do our best to let them grow up knowing that Jesus is a real person and that all Creation was made by Him for our needs as well as enjoyment.

A home where our faith is strong enough to face the hard questions of youth, as they search for their own place in this world... where God is becoming their own and not just "the Faith of our Fathers". A place where they are free to bring their friends knowing they will be added to the prayer lists of their parents but accepted in Grace and Love... even if they look different than us.

A home that is a warm and cozy place where one can find good music that will edify the soul... even though we may have different tastes in the form which that music takes and those differences are respected.

A home where good food is offered, perhaps the most basic bread and cheese... fruit and milk or a feast prepared by skillful hands. It doesn't matter... for store bought ice cream served with love is better than steak given in strife. Will our children remember our chats over cookies and milk, hot tea on a cold day, or that first early morning coffee? How about a cold glass of water given with a hug on a hot day as a thank you for mowing the lawn? These are the very core memories we take with us.

A home where the good books that are fun, educational, interesting, enjoyable, full of words or full of pictures, books about our interests as well as books that show us more about the world, books that take us away to other lands or perhaps even other worlds, books that show us real romance as well as tales of heroes and heroines, books about sea captains and princesses, Lions that come back to life, Hobbits that leave their "breakfast, second breakfast, elevenses, luncheon, tea, dinner and supper" to save their entire world, and children getting into mischief on the Mississippi... but books we know will not defile little minds or lead them away from the Creator who wrote His Book... the most important on our bedside tables.

A "Christian" home is one where adult children will feel welcome and well loved... yet, treated as the adults they have become. Advice given when asked, hugs given when needed, many prayers said in private... but with the freedom they need as they are living their own lives before the Father.

Most of all, a Christian home is Christ centered. It is a place where the inhabitants seek to know more about the Lord by reading their Bibles, by talking to Him (aka: prayer), by seeking out friendships with others who love Him, who know Jesus is a real person and who desire to live a life which honors the sacrifice He made for us.

I will definitely say it is not a house with a list of rules and regulations, where God is taught to be a tyrant waiting for someone to make a mistake. It is not a place where, as an adult, our children wince when they hear the terms... Mother, Father, God. It is not a home where fear trumps Grace and Mercy is forgotten.

What I wanted my children to know most is that God cares about all the details of their life and that He shows Himself in all Creation. As I have been writing this, I have been listening to the most beautiful "music" outside the office window. For a little bird has been serenading me with a concert, his little beak lifted toward the sky and a melody as beautiful as any symphony being sent out to... where?

I suppose that is where a Christian lifestyle, worldview... home... is different than one that isn't. For I could imagine the little bird singing so gleefully in praise to the Creator of nature... as the sun is settling below the horizon... thanking Him for another day.

A Christian homemaker may be a wife, a mother of none or many, perhaps a single woman providing a place where family and friends can find warmth and love, perhaps even a man raising his children alone as well as the Dad who goes to work each day to provide the finances needed to feed and clothe and keep a roof over the heads of his family.

Since this is not a perfect world and we are not a perfect people... our Christian homes will not be perfect. However, He gives each of us twenty-four hours a day to work on doing our best and... His mercies are new every morning. I, for one, am very happy about that.


freetobeme said...

I'm very happy about His Mercies being new every morning! The joy of the Lord is my strength! Thank you so much for inviting me to your tea. The conversation was so delightful and inspiring.

Abounding Treasures said...

I have to echo what you said and what freetobeme said, "I am VERY happy that His mercies are new every morning!!" With each new day, I have 24 more hours to do my best for Him . . .

I have had a delightful time and can only add my AMEN to everything you have said and said so eloquently.

As I've said before, you really have a gift with words :o)


Karen said...

what a great post! I will have to print it out and ponder it some more. Have a blessed Sunday!

Brenna said...

brenda, as usual, simply wonderful post. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Very thoughtful and well written post. So much to think about here. I know this of a certainty, Christian homes are not what others imagine them to be.

Bren said...

I found this post to be a mix of encouragement, inspiration, and a twinge of conviction (for me). Thank you for the conversation. I will need to have it again!
Yes, His mercies are new every morning!! AMEN!

Karen Deborah said...

ooohhh Brenda, excellent post. Amen.

Carina said...

What an absolutely lovely post, Brenda! I am printing it out to paste in my Home Journal so that I can easily be encouraged and reminded of all our homes should be!

KarenHarveyCox said...

I think that your words about the Lord being a person in your home says it best. Once a friend of mine said to me, "you don't force your belief's on anyone, but you speak of Jesus as if He were your best friend."

It sounds like you have a wonderful Christian home. I agree with you about your reading too. I find that literature that was written during that era indicates how much God was part of daily life.

Blessings, Karen

smilnsigh said...

I have to get a better handle on who {in Blog Land} lives where! You are the second blogger I read this morning, who was somewhat near the quake. Not really getting shaken, but near-ish. I'm so glad that you all are fine.

You used the old saying of 'with a lick and a promise,' the other day. Yes, I know that one. And up above, I used 'get a better handle on.' Love these 'old sayings.' We *need* to do our part, to keep them in circulation. And we are!


Anonymous said...

I loved reading this....thank you for your gift of writing and sharing with us!

Daughter of the King said...

oh this was so full of wisdom...and so true...beautifully written....

Deborah said...

What a beautifully written post....and so full of wisdom. I loved it! I'm so glad I found my way here. I'll be back to visit again.