Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Homemaker

This isn't a post about Schaeffer's book, The Hidden Art of Homemaking, although it's certainly related. (I changed my mind. This is about Schaeffer's Chapter 5.)  It's about how hard it is to go without a home.
our home in Statesville
Or maybe this is about Schaeffer's fifth chapter ("Interior Decoration"). She asserts that you can make a lovely, satisfying home wherever you live, even if you find yourself in a back room in a boarding house, or living in a hotel room. "Bloom where you're planted!" she seems to say.

I struggle with that. I long for a home that belongs to me. God knows this longing. I suspect He knows it's an inordinately strong and motivating longing for me. So my home-ownership history is a troubled one. We've owned bought attempted to buy three houses in 24 years. We've never succeeded in staying in them long, which was our goal. We made money on the first house's sale, but had to part with it immediately to pay a debt. We lost $500 when we sold the second house, after carrying the mortgage for a year. And the third house, the one pictured above? Foreclosed. Yes, we're one of more than 14 million home foreclosures in the U.S. between 2008 and 2011.

I know how hard it is to be a homemaker.

Reading recently in II Samuel and I Chronicles I found comfort in David's dilemma. He'd just moved to Jerusalem and built himself a whopping big mansion with the help of another monarch who gave him cedar wood and lent him carpenters and stonemasons. David had a huge family, with room for them all.
The Lady Banks rosebush at my Statesville house that I miss quite a lot
And then David felt guilty. He had a mansion to live in, while God had only a tent. Imagine David on a stormy night, sitting snug in his home while the rain and gusts and lightning pound outside. He's worrying about that Ark, sitting under tent flaps, getting wet. David thinks, "I'm gonna fix this situation!"

And his motives are good. He asks Nathan the prophet, and Nathan agrees. "Go, do all that is in your mind, for the LORD is with you."  But they're both wrong.

God has His own plan, of course. He doesn't need David to build Him a house. And it's not just that somebody else has been picked to built it.  It's that David has the whole concept wrong. David is not the home-maker;  God is the home-maker. Always has been, always will be.

God says to David: (paraphrase) "Have I ever had a house? Did I ask for a house? Do I need a house?" (answers: no, no, no) He reminds David, however, of other facts:  "I will also appoint a place (a home) for my people Israel and will plant them, that they may live in their own place ...." And "The LORD also declares to you that the LORD will make a house for you." Of David's son, God says "He shall build a house for My name ...." and "I will be a father to him and he will be a son to me." And to David He promises, "And your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever ...." (II Sam. 7)

David learns some humbling lessons here. In his prayer he says to God, "For Thou, O LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, has made a revelation to Thy servant saying, 'I will build you a house': therefore Thy servant has found courage to pray this prayer to Thee .... Now therefore, may it please Thee to bless the house of Thy servant, that it may continue forever before Thee."

David learns two things: 1) God is the house-builder, the home-maker, and 2) a house isn't really a boxy thing made of semi-permament materials. It's a family. David realizes that his family, his kingly line (leading to Jesus!), is the real home.

We can't buy another home anytime soon, because of the foreclosure. I'm almost 50 years old and wondering if we'll ever own a home to live in when we're too old to work. What will happen then? God says, "I am the home-maker, Mary Kathryn. Stop worrying about it." I have friends my age who started buying their homes 25 years ago, and they own their homes free and clear. They've put down deep roots, planted trees and gardens, redone rooms and added porches. Sadly though, some of them have no children, or no longer have a marriage. I'm reminded that it's the relationships that matter. And although "interior decoration" is important for women (and I love home-making!), the real interior that needs help is the interior of my heart. And like David, I need reminding that it's my husband and children who really constitute home.

(I'm linking up to Cindy at Ordo Amoris for this post relating to homemaking.)


  1. I understand your longing. And while we've lived here 22 years, and will (hopefully) pay it off when the mortgage matures, having a self-employed income that forces us into late payments makes the sweetness even more sweet.

    The house next door is in foreclosure, and the house on the other side of that one has been surrendered to the mortgage company.

    Scary. And the reality of what others have experienced is always fresh when I see it around me.

    May you be able to be a 'thorough' homemaker where you are, and while I imagine that's hard, I believe you do a wonderful job of it.

  2. MK, I am so sorry about your home and am praying and believing with you God will bring you to another home.

  3. I have a close friend in a very similar situation. Their status in their rental home is even very precarious due to her husband's unemployment. She has a lot of these same feelings. I admire her so much because she keeps making her home in spite of these uncertainties. I admire you, too:) It is hard to know the mind of the Lord, but I know He is faithful. How great to know HE is making our home!

  4. I think you nailed the nail on the head when you said it is your husband and kids who make the home.

    While living in Texas in a house that was probably equivalent to one on the mission field is where God gave me peace about owning a home. When we moved to Oregon I realized the impossiblity of owning a home as the prices of houses skyrocketed. I told my husband then that if God want us to own a house then when it happens it will be a miracle (even if I'm old). I truly believe that and that is what I cling to. Phil 4:11 is a verse that has helped me a lot in our journey.

  5. We also lost our house during the recession and we are now renting. Lately I have found myself looking for that home where I can garden and my grandchildren can play freely. Our rental house is a huge blessing to us though and is very easy to live in though I can't paint and I haven't hung any pictures.

  6. Thank you for your honest words. It is hard. I like what you shared about David. A lesson I need to take to heart - wait on the Lord, allow Him to work.
    We lived in many rentals for many years, and it was always a challenge to make it 'our' home. But my children have some wonderful memories from those days!
    I hope you are blessed and encouraged by this book study, and find some inspiration along the way.

  7. What an encouraging post and a reminder about what is most important.

  8. It's difficult yearning for your own home after several tries already, and anyone by now would have given up. But you are still positive on your dreams, and I believe that's the spirit. With each experience you have in acquiring a house of your own, you gain something new and you have a better chance of trying to secure the house that's really meant for you.

    Christensen Young & Associates Attorneys at Law


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