My days are VERY different now than what I have always been used to. I am the girl who is either working, studying, out with friends, planning a party, or going out with Jimmy. A social butterfly is an accurate stereotype for me. The only time I stick around the house is when I am sick or need a day of rest from my jammed-pack week.
And then things change when you have a baby. I have to operate on her schedule right now. She is only breastfeeding which doesn’t leave me any time or even the ability to plan and leave the house on my agenda. So, I have become very acquainted with my new primary role as a mom and homemaker. Today’s culture tends to scoff at the role, “homemaker”, but Jimmy has given me so much support and encouragement that it makes us both proud of my “homemaker” title. I have also been reading The Life Giving Home by Sally Clarkson that I would highly recommend to anyone! It has inspired and empowered me to spend time making my home a sacred safe haven for all who enter.
Sally Clarkson says in her book that, “homemaking — not in the sense of housekeeping, but in the broader sense of cultivating the life of a home — has to be done on purpose.”
I love how she says that God’s kingdom “comes in the way we celebrate, the shelter we make of our homes, the joy we put into what we cook and eat and create, our willingness to welcome strangers in our midst.”
And that when someone asked her what it was that her parents did to make her believe in God, she answered without even thinking, “I think it was the French toast on Saturday mornings and coffee and Celtic music and discussions and candlelight in the evenings… because in those moments, I tasted and saw the goodness of God in a way I couldn’t ignore.”
Since I have been home a lot recently, I have been thinking about ways I can create purpose in my home. I want my home to be first and foremost a reflection of God. And I want others to be loved and feel a sense of belonging.
Here are five practical ways to make you home a place of belonging for others:
Keep the house clean
Cleaning my house is a priority for me because it makes my home a comfortable and relaxing place for my family, myself, and visitors. Clutter equals uncomfortable and chaos. Cleanliness equals comfort and order. That’s what I live by because it is true for me, so I think it’s true for most others too, whether they admit it or not. I clean every room of my house once a week (vacuum, dust, clean bathrooms, etc), and then I straighten up rooms every day. The more you stay on it, the easier and faster it is. Plus, I want my house to be a place that people know they can always drop by, so I always want to be ready for visitors.
I have even started making our bed. I will admit, I used to not make it because I figured no one but Jimmy and me go in our bedroom, and I don’t really care if it’s made or not. But then Jimmy voiced to me when I made it how he loves getting in bed at night when the bed is made, so I started making the bed every morning because I love him. And it does add more comfort to our home and our nightly routine.
Set the mood
I have found there are little things you can do to add more comfort and relaxation for your family and guests. It seems so practical but makes a huge difference. For example, light some delicious smelling candle(s), play calming music softly, lay out a snack and drink with napkins and plates for guests in an orderly way, set the table for meals. Sometimes I do these things, and sometimes I don’t. But what I have found is that the more effort you put in for your family or guests, the more enjoyable it is.
I don’t always set the table for my family, but when I do, we seem to have a more meaningful conversation. When I sit food and drinks out for visitors, I think it makes them feel more wanted and loved in my home. When I play music, light candles, and have the house neat and orderly, it feel so comfy.
Cut the distractions
This is a hard one for me and I think so many others because of the time we live in, but we have so many things in our lives that can easily distract us with one click. Our phone, tablets, laptops, televisions, etc. can take our minds and hearts out of our homes in a second. Jimmy and I have had MANY conversations about this because I am the worst with my phone, but when we leave our phones and computers in another room than where we are, it cultivates more conversation and more of a feeling of belonging. I have been practicing this more with my family and also when others come over, and it makes the times with friends and family so much sweeter.
Focus on others
No one likes spending time with someone who always talks about themselves. You walk away from that relationship feeling drained and discouraged. The best type of friends are the ones who ask about how you are doing and about things that they know are going on in your life. So when you have a friend come over, make it your goal to ask about her life. When you are at the dinner table, ask your family member about their day. And if you have any thing else in your home that distracts you from spending time with someone, remove it for the time you are with them! I promise it’s worth it.
Love your family well
Your home’s foundation is the people in your home, whether you are married, have kids, live with your parents or roommates. Your relationship with the people who live in your home sets the tone for anyone who comes in your home. If your marriage is off, people will sense the cold awkwardness in your home. If your marriage is right, people will sense love and welcoming. Same goes with any type of relationship in your home. So focus on the relationships within your home first! Your family relationship is the most important thing that creates your home.
I hope this helps and encourages you to create your home to be the place you want it to be for you and others!
Are there any other things you would add to this list to create a place of belonging for others? I would love to hear!