Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. Philippians 4:8 (NIV)
One of the most life changing Truths I learned from the writings of women like Edith Schaeffer, Emilie Barnes, and Alexandra Stoddard is that we have both the gift and responsibility to be the Keeper of Beauty in our homes. That Beauty is very important to our everyday existence.
Think about it... imagine walking in your front door and feeling at peace. Well, as much peace as possible if you share the space with fellow members of fallen humanity. The rooms are full with things that fill you with joy. Perhaps not a fancy house but one can tell there is someone who has put time and attention into making the house a warm and cozy home.
For here is where you find your favorite colors, comfortable furniture. collected dishes, books you could never give away, art prints on the wall that draws one in to stop and look and rest, beloved animals, and yes... those imperfect people.
There may be a beautiful garden outside, flowers in vases, or just a few houseplants in the rooms to bring life as well as beauty. When the days are short of light, the candles come out in all their glowing beauty, even if placed out of the reach of kitties, kids, and teenage boys.
In my home, if one were to walk through the door at the end of a long day, they would most likely (in those days with limited sunlight) find a soft throw, a teacup filled with caffeine free tea, a mug of hot chocolate, or a cup of hot apple cider... sitting beside one or two books and a Kindle, with a candle carefully lit and protected from a certain kitty.
Perhaps there is music playing and according to what one is doing at the time, a different genre will be heard. A quite upbeat song for doing the housework, oldies but goodies while writing a letter, your favorite Christian artists singing as you do the dishes, classical or Appalachian music as a background to the dinner conversation at the table.
This time of year one could very well find Christmas music in my home for November 1st is the first day of my favorite Christmas things... the music, the Hallmark movies, baking for the freezer, and dusting off the Christmas DVDs not played since last year. The decorating may be saved for after Thanksgiving but I give myself permission to begin the other things I enjoy early... because I can.
If one were to walk through the front door and make their way to the vintage (another name for much loved but not updated) kitchen, there would usually be dishes in the sink ready to wash, meal preps in some form, or if they are fortunate... some form of baked good cooling on a rack... because I knew they were coming. As I write, the aroma of the season's first stockpot of vegetable beef soup simmers on the stove for tonight's dinner. Like many recipes, bringing with it the memory of the one who taught me how to make it.
No home is always neat and clean. At the moment when one walks through the front door of my house, the dining area is a mess with papers waiting to be copied and forms to fill out for the Veteran's Administration. That having been set aside while the outside work is accomplished before winter sets in.
One will often find creative clutter here as there is often baking or cooking or card making or garden planning or compost container building or blog writing or simply sorting pictures out of magazines to later use in scrapbook journal pages happening. One can rarely have creativity without clutter but I do like to quickly tidy up when finished.
At one time there would have been Lego's to walk over or doll clothes in the middle of the floor or Army men in the midst of battle or pirates in their ship or a student's Interior Design project being protected from her little brother. A life with kids that quickly went by... and it is amusing that what is a good memory today was frustrating at the time. ;)
You are the Keeper of all things that are Beautiful... that create the warm and loving atmosphere of the home. That, my friend, is a very important job. One for which there is no financial reward but in so many other ways... priceless. When you walk in your front door and smile because this is home. When your teenagers invite friends over. When your dinner guests stay far later than planned because they are made so comfortable.
When you have had a really bad day and know that there is a Place you can go... even if it is only your favorite comfy chair, with a candle lit and a hot beverage and your Bible and a great novel or a favorite movie... there is somewhere in this great big (and at times very cold) world where you are safe and can rest.
I found long ago that instead of longing for my house to look a certain way, it didn't take much for me to make it happen. I make certain to brew that cup of tea, light that candle, choose the music, have a few favorite movies on the shelf, and of course... books.
You are the Keeper of Beauty. You are an artist whether your medium is paint or yarn or thread or a pen or flour and sugar and butter. You were created in the image of the very One who created everything beautiful the eyes can see. You can create that warm and cozy environment.
Yes... you can and many of you already have. A respite from the outside world is a good thing. A Place where you, your family, your friends... can rest and be refilled with His Goodness. Always remembering that true peace is a Person and without Him... the most beautiful house in the world can never bring peace.
Image: Time For Reading by Judy Gibson