I’m going to start this post by confessing something to all of you; I feel like a fraud writing about a peaceful home. Why? Because maintaining the peaceful environment that I crave doesn’t always turn out the way I hoped for. And although I’ve prayed for many years for God to increase my patience, spark my creativity, and enrich my relationships within my home, I still sometimes fail at creating a peaceful and calm home. However, I believe that it’s in our weaknesses that God is strong, and in trusting Him to provide, my home will thus initiate joy and provide a place for relaxation.
The idea of home never meant much to me until my son was born. This doesn’t mean that I didn’t care about creating a positive environment when it was just my husband and I, but when Ezra was born, the reality that my decisions in and outside of the home were going to shape my son in eternal ways, it was then that I earnestly craved more peace. So, what is home to me? What is it to you?
Home to me is a place where love blooms, peace is made, forgiveness is given, and grace is multiplied. It’s where you can be a mess and still be known, be heard, and be comforted. Home is a place where the cruelty of the world is forgotten, and the walls and people within hold you steady. Home is where food is cooked, conversation is had, and memories are formed. Home is where secrets are not kept, rather they are told boldly and confidently. Home is a refuge.
I grew up with this idea that creating a peaceful and happy home was easy; that not a ton of work went into it. My mom was truly a magician when she worked in the home. Everything from cooking, to cleaning, to throwing parties, to decorating for holidays, all of it appeared to be effortless. I never saw the tired work that went into all of that. So, when Ezra was born, I remember feeling like I had this weight of perfection on my shoulders. I knew what I wanted; just not how to have it. It has taken me many mistakes, many trail and errors, and multiple “start-overs” to find out how I function best within my role of “Mom” and “Wife”. I’ve learned that grace goes far and that Gods mercy really is new each morning (Lamentations 3:22-23)
Now that I’ve outlined what home means to me, I wanted to outline a few ways that I have pursued peace within my home in hopes that you can take these tools and apply them in your home.
THE FIVE WAYS YOU CAN CULTIVATE PEACE IN YOUR HOME
The first is to create routines and rhythms within your days. Maybe this means that the whole family gets together for dinner each night, or maybe it’s more realistic to aim for three nights a week. Maybe Tuesday is laundry day and the kids help out by putting their dirty clothes into the hamper (or better yet, have them do a load or two!). And don’t forget the power of bedtime prayer and morning blessings! Also, be flexible with routines; babies will wake at inconvenient times, or a husband will be late from time to time. Flexibility in schedules and routines create a relaxed environment.
Traditions create memories, cause excitement, and tighten the bond between families. I’m not just talking about traditions we make on holidays, I’m talking about coming up with your own, unique traditions. It might be fun to have a picnic day every last Saturday of the month, or have a kick-off summer barbecue at the start of summer each year. Your children will grow to remember these fun, personalized events and may even carry them on into their families! I can still vividly remember the smell of my mom baking chocolate chip cookies in the oven during Christmas time, just like I can remember the taste of her Chicken and Noodle salad she made every summer party we went to. Just the thought of those memories makes me smile!
Knowing who should be in the center of your home is key. We believe that God, and his Word, is the cornerstone of every decision we make. That also means that we follow His lead, and His design for families. We turn to the bible in time of doubt or confusion, and aim to meditate on what truth is and how it applies to our lives. We raise our children to know Him, to serve Him, and to love Him and others. The bible says that Jesus is the Prince of Peace. So, if you’re aiming to build peace within in your home, you ought to go to the Prince of Peace himself (Isaiah 9:6).
Happy parents equal happy families. This means that setting your marriage as a main priority is crucial. Weekly date nights, or even bi-weekly (like we do) can keep the romance alive amidst the mundane patterns of everyday life. Determining roles in your marriage is another critical factor. For example, we decided four years ago with the birth of our son, that I would be staying home and my husband would be the breadwinner. We determined my roles, what was expected of me (and him), and how to resolve any conflict when it came up. And please, don’t think that we have a perfect marriage. We don’t, but we have learned to allow each other to shine in our designated roles and we’ve learned to communicate if expectations were not met.
Okay, last one here! The power of kind words can honestly change the atmosphere within your home. I grew up never feeling comfortable saying, “I love you” to my siblings. Or, “I’m sorry”, was too big for my pride. However, now I say “I love you” at least 34 times a day, and I try to be the first one to apologize when I make a mistake. I’m not trying to boast here at all; I’m actually trying to point to God. Like I said earlier, any peace that is found in my home is because God placed it there; through me, through my husband, or through our kids. But God is the one that is changing my stubborn, prideful heart. I’m teaching my kids the importance of showing affection to each other, the importance of witnessing their parents apologize to each other, and how to use the tongue to give life (Proverbs 18:21).
Friend, I hope I leave you with hope and grace for yourself. Maybe your home feels like a wreck right now (trust me, WE ALL have days like that!). But I want you to know this; don’t give up. Don’t! Don’t allow any lies from the enemy, or other people for that matter, tell you that you should give up on creating peace within your home. YOU matter. Your effort matters. Your prayers are heard. Know that a peaceful home is not about the appearance of the home; it’s not about perfection, its not about clean rooms…it’s about setting God at the cornerstone, creating routines, traditions, prioritizing your marriage, and speaking life into your loved ones. You can do this.