From the time I was a teen girl, I remember praying for my unborn children, the husband I hadn’t met yet, and the home I couldn’t envision. I remember desiring specifically that God would–when the time came–help me create an atmosphere in our home that was restful and welcoming.
The one common thing people say who have been to our house is that it is warm and inviting. People who have slept overnight here often say, “Wow! I got the BEST sleep last night.”
I love that. I love knowing my house is a haven of rest for all who enter it, a place where people feel comfortable. I want my children to grow up wanting to hang out here. And when they someday leave, I want their memories to be so fond of home that they’ll want to come back–often.
So what makes a house a haven? From my experience, it should be…
1) a place where God is welcome. God and sin don’t dwell in the same space. God refuses to have anything to do with sin, except to get rid of it. So anything inappropriate or resembling evil in any way has to leave. Not only should we allow God to show us the impurities of our hearts, and repent, we should invite Him to show us what needs to leave our homes. For example books, television programs, pornography, anything we idolize over God, addictions, or anything that would hinder us from experiencing His presence. Get rid of it!
2) a place where God is honored. It’s one thing to create an atmosphere where God is welcome, but it’s quite another to actually honor Him. Play worship music regularly, and make it the norm, rather than the worldly music that fills most homes in America. Remember if it’s not of God, it’s of this world. There’s no in between. Make prayer and being in God’s word a priority in alone times, but also in the ins and outs of our days with our families. Talk about everyday life in the context of what God thinks about the subject.
3) as clutter free as possible. I know what’s considered clean to some may not be clean to others. But most everyone can agree on what looks cluttered and what doesn’t. If you’re not sure, try this. Choose a room to work in. Pick up everything off the floor except furniture. Take all of the knickknacks and pictures frames out of the room. Now, you’re looking at a clutter-free zone. Being free of clutter helps create a more restful environment, visually and physically.
Now I’d like to tell you completely clutter-free is the norm in my house, but it isn’t. It takes work and intentionality. This is the most difficult thing on this list for me!! My side of our bedroom is more cluttered than my husband’s. So this is challenging me too;) My house is not perfectly clean, nor is it free from knickknacks and picture frames. But there’s a sense of order and purpose to most of the things I have in my home.
4) a place where laughter is always welcome. Laugh often and much. The Bible says it’s good medicine.
5) a place where we REALLY DON’T cry over spilled milk. Mistakes are allowed and forgiveness is quick. And we try to make sure our kiddos know that quality time with them is way more important than a spotlessly clean house.
I’ve only listed a few things here. I want to hear your input. What works for you? How is your home a haven of rest?