4 Goals for the Purposeful Homemaker

How can we keep our homes running smoothly without getting overwhelmed? Start small...

I look around my home and recognize a great need for order (no, that is not my house in the above picture, lol). My house is not cluttered (I am so anti-clutter). I would consider it to be a bit unorganized and just plain messy. Granted, I have 5 children and I don't expect my house to look like a museum. It ought to look lived in, but it should be orderly.

In addition, meal times are chaotic and often left "unfinished". Dishes left undone, table not completely cleared, floor not swept.

First, I want to clearly define what a homemaker is: A homemaker is a person who manages the household of her own family. (dictionary.com)

A household is defined as the people of a house collectively (dictionary.com)

The Bible defines our role as homemakers in a couple of places [that I found]: [to set] about her work vigorously (Proverbs 31:17) ...to be busy at home (Titus 2:5) (NIV)

Defining exactly what we are to do helps clarify our purpose. So not only does a homemaker care for the house, but for her family. That opens several more doors of possibilities (and responsibilities), doesn't it? So coupling the above definitions with the needs of my own family, here is my purpose as a homemaker:

To be attentive to the needs of my family, diligent in creating a 'home', and consistent in the everyday essentials. To serve with joy, purpose, ambition and gratitude.

In a more expanded version, my purpose requires that I attend to the needs of my home and family, that I am active (intentional) about creating a home, and that I work constantly at those things that need to be done every-single-day. I intend to do these things with joy, aim, initiative, and thanksgiving.

My goals include [but are not limited to]: to wake up before my children, to create smooth and memorable meal times, follow more closely to my schedule, and be intentional about creating an atmosphere of peace.

As these goals are met, new ones will develop. They are rather specific compared with my purpose. My purpose will generally stay the same.

Perhaps it's a bit simplistic--and that's exactly the point. I don't want anything too complex or too hard to reach for. As it stands, this is challenge enough for me. :)

Here I will expound on my goals and the steps I will take to get there.

Goals:

To wake up before my children

This is probably one of the most important tools [for me] to running a smooth household. I have seen, consistently, what a difference this makes. It takes me some time to "wake up" and I really need to do this before the children are awake so that I am ready for them. Otherwise, I am dragging my feet, making them wait on me. Apparently, one of my "famous" lines is, "Mommy can't even see straight yet." One of my children used to ask me when I wake up if "my eyes were still blind".

  • spend time in prayer and journaling
  • begin VA {Virtual Assistant} work
  • get dressed and ready for the day

Most of this is easy. The hard part is getting out of bed.

To create smooth and memorable meal times

Meal times are one of my biggest challenges. Everything from being prepared with a menu, to having a tidy kitchen to work in. I tend to rush food out and leave the cleaning for "later". Later comes when it's time for the next meal. Who wants to work in a kitchen like that?! Not me! So, it's time to do something about it. Here are the steps--which are just mini-goals--to get me at this place:

  • menu plan
  • serve buffet style (everything on table), rather than serving each child individually from the stove/counter
  • Read Scripture before or after the meal (while seated at the table)
  • Have everyone take part in kitchen clean-up--dirty dishes to sink, table cleaned off, floor swept, load dishwasher
  • Do my part and clean up counters, stove, sink, etc; have kitchen and dining room ready for next meal.

During meal times I want to have fruitful conversations about life. Create memories, talk about God's goodness and pray for others in need.

Follow my schedule more closely

Yes, I have struggled with this since day one. But when I do follow closely to my schedule, the day is bliss! I feel accomplished because I have gotten done [even some] of what I set out to do. It gives me a sense of fulfillment when I follow my schedule. So this is an important area for me. The question is, how will I accomplish this feat? I go back to my purpose and be consistent in the everyday essentials.

  • Start with the basics. Follow the schedule for meals and bed time routines.
  • Reorganize tasks to fit into the best time slots and work through them
  • Slowly add in another task -- one every 2-4 weeks -- ones that are not being accomplished, currently
  • Be consistent. Set hand to the plow.

My fear has been that life will get too redundant, so I resist the schedule. But you know what? I feel myself craving it as the days flutter by with little to show. Ann Voskamp said that fear is nothing to be afraid of--it's just the door we push through to get to the other side.

Be intentional about creating an atmosphere of peace

This was a tough when I had 5 children, 4 of them 5 and under. There was a lot of chaos, whining, screaming, fighting...whatever. That was life. They were in training and were learning, but in the mean time, I was stressed listening to it. In fact, I tended to react as a result.  Don't know if one can ever get used to the chaos.  Now that my kids are older, we have chaos of a different kind. But I need train myself to stop reacting and be proactive on how to cut down on the issues.

  • keep to my schedule, which will cut down on some of this issue
  • teach peacemaking before a problem arises (Young Peacemaker is an excellent resource)
  • have "face time" with each of my children daily (1-on-1 time with each child)
  • don't allow too much free time

This will be a start. Once I put these into practice on a regular, consistent basis I can reevaluate the situation to see if further action needs to be taken.

By no means will I be able to tackle all these goals at once. It will be an ongoing process, probably for months before it becomes more "second nature". But now that I have a clear direction of what my purpose is and some definite needs to fill, I have plenty to do.

Homemaking is not meant to be easy. We can simplify it, but it is still a very challenging role. Resisting and trying to work against our role will only result in more challenges and frustrations. Instead, let's embrace this role so we are free to own it and live it out.

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Why It's Critical to Feed Your Spiritual Life Daily

Just a few reasons why we need to seek God daily to keep our spiritual lives strong and always focused on Him.

I see it all the time. Christians are worn down, not just physically, but spiritually. We are fighting battles we are not equipped to fight. We've lost joy, purpose, and are always focused on our circumstances; allowing them to dictate where we put our faith and our level of love and trust in God.

Serving God Shouldn't Be Circumstantial

If things aren't going well, we think God is out to get us or we are being punished for some past sin. We are worn out from the struggle and don't know what to do next. But this isn't the way a Christian was ever meant to live. I'm not suggesting our lives are always going to go the way we want. But God has given us Himself and rarely do we see Him as enough. Rarely do we go to Him on a daily basis (not just when things get bad) to ask for strength, wisdom, and a pouring out of Himself on us.

When things are going well, we think we have it all handled, so what need is there for God? What purpose do we have going to Him when our life is going well? Why bother with the Bible when we think we have the answers--the solutions that sound good and logical?

But the problem is, God isn't just a God of our circumstances. He is the Creator of our very beings...everything we have, everything we are, everything we've become, and everything we've been forgiven comes from God. He doesn't want to just be Lord of our circumstances. He wants to be Lord of our lives. Our whole lives.

Here's a handful of reasons why we need to seek God daily to keep our spiritual lives strong and always focused on Him. This is by no means exhaustive and are in no particular order.

1. To Mature and Grow as Christians

Sadly, I see a lot of Christians who don't even know God's word on popular issues today. People falsely believe that God will have the same ideas as them because they see their ideas as "good and logical".

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.
Proverbs 14:12 ESV

Reading God's Word daily ensures we know the Truth about what is good and acceptable and holy. This is God's desire for us as His children. Then we need to live it out.

As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
1 Peter 1:14-16

2. To Build an Intimate Relationship With Christ

There are a lot of people who speak for Jesus without hardly knowing Him at all. Going back to the above point...we often believe that because we believe a certain way that Jesus does, too, and frequently that isn't the case.

We cannot know Jesus if we never get on our faces before Him, deny ourselves and what we think we believe, and give ourselves to Him. This isn't about head knowledge. It's about walking in the Spirit.

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
Galatians 5:16

We cannot know Jesus if we never get on our faces before Him, deny ourselves, and what we think we believe. -Christin Slade

 

It's also about understanding our deep need for Him. Without Jesus, we cannot do anything. We are sinners who are lost and separated from God. Believing in Him is not enough for salvation.

You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror.
James 2:19 NLT

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Philippians 2:12-13 ESV

Once we recognize our deep need for Jesus and His work on the cross, we are compelled to act. It's a deep work of the heart from the Spirit that moves us to action. If you have not yet experienced that work, I urge you to get before God and pray for that revelation and heart-work. It is necessary to for intimacy with Christ.

3. To Suit Up for Battle

When soldiers train, they don't typically do it on the battlefield. They do it before heading to the battlefield. (Though history shows that hasn't always been the case--but the results were catastrophic).

We need to learn to arm ourselves and use those weapons before we actually require them. We are in a spiritual war--constantly. We need to know how to fight off the attacks of the Enemy. The lies, the deception, the discouragement, the temptations. Satan is always prowling around, poking at our weaknesses, looking to gain a foothold in our lives.

When we aren't armed with God's Word and seeking Him in prayer, we will be unable to successfully fight off these attacks.

It is crucial we recognize and understand our need for God, whether our lives are going well or not. God is not a God of circumstances, but of LIFE. And without Him, there is only death.

For His Glory,

Christin Slade

Recommended Resources

The Power of Doing Daily Devotions with Your Children

Children need some formal instruction and devoted time to be in the Word and learning about what it means. ~Christin Slade

What is a devotional? We view this as a book that takes us through a daily reading and teaching about God's word. While this is true, real devotion is much more than sitting down to read a daily passage and a few notes to go with it. The very word devotion means profound dedication. To break this down further, profound dedication means the deep penetration of one's thoughts and actions to be wholly committed to something.

Your devotion isn't found in doing a devotion. It's found in your dedication to the Lord. The devotional is simply a tool to help you understand how to live out God's Word.

So what does this mean for your children? Where do devotions fit in here?

First, let's look at what it means to live a life of devotion.

Your children need to see you living a devoted life for Christ. They will see your example and mimic it--whether you're living for Christ or not.

However, children also need some formal instruction and devoted time to be in the Word and learning about what it means. Just as we need to be in the Word and learn what it means, so do our children.

Something I have learned about doing devotions with my children is that when they learn about something, they are more apt to apply it.

For example, when we talk about obedience, my children are more likely to obey and remember to obey, when we have talked about it, therefore, it is in the forefront of their mind. When we talk about why it's important to obey and who their authorities are, they begin to see reason for living out this attribute. They begin to understand the role God has given them.

I want to share 5 elements of a devotional life with you. I have found them to be necessary aspects to living out a life of devotion to God and they will help you as you teach your children the same. They are not exhaustive.

5 Elements of a Devotional Life

  1. Perspective - when it comes to devotion we need a perspective shift. Devotion is not something we merely try to squeeze into our lives and hope there will be room. When we live a devoted life, what we are devoted to will get the most attention. Our words are not enough of us to be considered devoted.  We can say we're devoted, but if our lives don't mirror that, our words render useless. God wants us: heart, soul, and mind.  
     
  2. Prayer - there are so many things that seek to derail us, this is a crucial part of a devoted life.  Satan seeks to debunk that in any way he can. He uses distractions, life circumstances, fatigue, excuse after excuse. Anything can stand in the way of simply sitting down to train our children. We must pray for a clear path and to resist temptation.
     
  3. Patience - As our children learn and grow, they will make mistakes. They will give in to temptation and "forget" what we have taught them. Training children requires heaps of patience. Anger and frustrations will not help us here. If anything, they hurt what we are trying to accomplish.  This is a good time for us to remember that a gentle answer is more productive than a harsh word.
     
  4. Persistence - There will be times we will want to give up because it gets hard. It is so easy to find excuses on why we didn't get around to it today.  Our excuses run endless. But isn't this also training our children? It teaches them we are inconsistent. Do not give up making this time to train in devotion. Be persistent. Do not give up when it gets hard. Push through.
     
  5. Practice - We need to practice what we are teaching and remind our children to do the same. When moments arise that allow for training, most often, it will be something you have taught them about. Now is the time to help them put what they learned into action. Practice living a devoted life. Good behavior and good character are not the only ways to practice devoted living. Sing praises! Pray together. Serve one another and others outside your family. Practice love.

It is not merely the acts that make us devoted. It's a heart of devotion to Christ that makes us devoted. When our hearts are turned toward Him, we will want to devote our time and efforts to Him. But, even those wants can be stifled by excuses and hardships. Don't allow yourself to become complacent. Be active and intentional about living for Christ and training your children in the same.

Some devotionals I recommend:

Our 24 Family Ways (Ages 7+)

Big Thoughts for Little People (Ages 2-5)

Growing Together in Gratitude - and others in this series (Ages 8+)

 

For His Glory,

Christin Slade

How to Support Your Child When They Have a Bad Day

Children cannot handle conflict in the same ways that adults can.  They need guidance and much encouragement to baby step through a hard day. ~Christin Slade

It seems whenever I have a really difficult day, I don’t have a hard time making it known. True, I pray for help and strength to get through whatever the obstacle might be. But the last thing I need is for someone to snap at me or push me through the day without the encouragement of some sort.

Typically what we expect from loved ones is encouragement and patience through a hard day, rather than the opposite.

But, do we do this for our children when they have difficult days? Or do we dismiss their feelings of struggle and generally expect them to handle such situations as an adult would (or should)? I will be the first to admit, the Holy Spirit smacked me in the head with this one.

This is exactly what I was expecting of my [then] 7-year old daughter, and I then wondered why I wasn’t getting the results I wanted. When she has a hard day, even for seemingly unknown reasons (even to her), I just tend to push her through it with little or no encouragement. I automatically expect her to “deal with it” or “get passed it” with little help or guidance. Looking back now it’s really quite absurd that I handled it that way!

Children cannot handle conflict in the same ways that adults can.

They need guidance and much encouragement to baby step through a hard day. That’s where we come in. We need to come alongside our children and assure them we are there for them and make it known they can count on us to guide them.

Before applying these suggestions, be sure your child isn’t having a discipline issue that needs attention. Sometimes our children go through a season of testing us to see if the rules still apply. It’s our job to make that season a short one!

Here are some constructive responses to help our children through difficult days:

1. Take a time-out to pray and explore God’s Word together

There is no better way to spend time then searching the Word for help and encouragement as well as praying for guidance and perseverance with our children. On those hard days, they may need that extra dose to carry them through. This points them to their number one Source of comfort, help, and encouragement. Seek to help them with their problem here.

2. Take time later to pray and explore God’s Word alone

This will give you an opportunity to seek God for help, wisdom, and direction in what might be the problem. God says He will give wisdom, without reservation, to all who ask. (James 1:5)

3. Reevaluate the schedule

If you recognize this type of occurrence becoming frequent, you may need to make changes to the daily schedule, such as an earlier bed time. Perhaps something needs to be removed from the schedule or a subject may need to be moved to earlier or later in the day. Still, maybe a subject is given more time then the child can handle. Observe your child and look for clues.

4. Reevaluate the method

Is the method of homeschooling I’m using really working for my child? Or do I use it simply because it’s what I like? This can be a tough one. This may require some serious observations and notes in order to capture the best way our child learns so we can better speak their language.

These are only a few suggestions to what may help some recurring bad attitudes or bad days. I can speak for myself and say that I have been guilty of not doing anything to help my child during a hard day or through a bad attitude. Our children’s “bad days” can be seen as an opportunity to teach them how to cope with stress and handle situations that are less than ideal in their eyes. These are skills they will need as adults and should be treated as important as (if not more than) academics.

I know I need to keep in mind that bad attitudes and bad days are going to happen…even when we do “all the right things.”

The important thing to remember is to guide my children to the Cross. I can use this as an opportunity to show them God’s grace and help them problem solve. After all, even I haven’t perfected how to avoid bad days and bad attitudes!

For His Glory,

Christin