August first marks a new leg in the journey of engaged life. My fiance and I signed a lease on our first home together: first stand-alone house, first yard, first vegetable garden, first signed contract together. Not to mention two whole bedrooms which leave me longing to fill them with kittens, puppies, and babies. Well maybe just the first two for right now.
We will not live in the house together until after the wedding, but it has brought us to a season of preparation. Preparing a home in the midst of preparing for a lifetime of marriage. You can imagine the layers of desires, dreams, growth and even internal conflict this has surfaced for each of us.
Societally speaking, Western culture sometimes cringes at the word “domestication” and views homemaking as a retro and dated practice. But God says otherwise, as the strong and dignified Proverbs 31 woman watches over the ways of her household (Proverbs 31:27). And so my eyes are beginning to align more with His, viewing homemaking as a beautiful discipline to be cultivated in the years to come.
Here are just a few observations / lessons I’ve learned since signing that lease just two weeks ago:
1. Turning a house into a home takes a lot of work.
The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down . – Proverbs 14:1, ESV
And this is where I’m so grateful to have my partner, my future husband. Making a home is not easy, and we need to work as a team! Since we’ve received the keys, we have spent hours each day evaluating, cleaning, dusting, vacuuming, measuring, bleaching and sanding. All with the goal of creating a clean, fresh, comfortable home for us as newlyweds.
2. It is really easy to get wrapped up in material items. I almost think that my alter ego is an interior designer, and if you’ve seen my Pinterest board you would probably agree. I love a room that is aesthetically pleasing. From the wall colors, to the furniture and layout, to the throws. But this fun hobby all too easily turns into thoughts like, “We need that duvet cover from West Elm to complete the bedroom.” All in all, to decorate or own nice things is not sinful. But the obsessive thoughts and worth-seeking behavior is where I need to draw the line. And thankfully Jesus has already drawn it for me. Not only has He drawn the line, but He has also given me His Word to remind me that my worth is found in Him alone. Without Him, all else is empty.
3. Home making and house warming sharpens character. I am now in a sweet position to begin serving my husband-to-be in the realm of our new home. This sharpening of servanthood extends further to community, family, and friends and can take many forms from Bible studies, to barbecues and tea parties with girlfriends. In the earliest days of the church, members met in homes and upstairs rooms. Our home is a place where we can uniquely serve, and be God’s hands and feet in a place of refuge.
4. Our home will be what we make it. This statement seems simple and obvious. And it is. It is my prayer that our home will be an extension of worship; a reflection of God’s Kingdom crashing in. Perhaps it’s just the city noise, lights, traffic, and fast-paced lifestyle, but I think our longing for a comfortable home, quiet and set apart, is a God-given desire for something He longs to give us (starting in this life and perfected in the life to come).
I hope to create our home as a sanctuary and resting place. Not just aesthetically, but behaviorally. I want to leave space and time for God to speak into our lives. Home should be a safe place of prayer; where the walls, the neighbors, and the family inside are prayed over. While this earth will remain broken until Jesus returns, it is still possible to make our homes a reflection of our heavenly home.
Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. – John 14:1-2, NKJV
This Greek word mansion (μονή) is used only twice in the New Testament, both times in John 14. The meaning translates not only as a noun, dwelling place, but also as an action, an abiding. Jesus connects the dots down in verse 23:
Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My Word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.
The home is not just a place of relationship for our earthly families. Home is a symbol and a place for our heavenly families as well. It is the very illustration Jesus uses here to depict relationship within the Godhead, as well as the Holy Spirit (the very God of the universe!) coming to abide within us. All of the walls of our home and things inside will pass away, but some things will not:
time spent with our Father in secret
acts of service and love for others
time spent with our Savior in the context of community and fellowship
hearts grown closer to God’s heart as we surrender our dwelling place to Him.
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