How do you define a pleasant home? When I was single and juggling school and work, I didn’t think much about these things. A good home was mainly a place I could come to at the end of long days, and of course, if it had any food left for me, that was a plus. Then, I got married and suddenly a clean home became important, just like it was to my mom and sisters all those years before. When kids came along, that too, changed my perspective. Overnight, a quiet home sounded heavenly. And now that my kids are older boys I’ve been pondering what it means to raise them in a pleasant home.
As Christian women, we must consider what it means to cultivate a pleasant home. Whether we work outside the home or not, our homes are our domains and it ought to be our business to make them pleasant. Whether we are aware of it or not, we, as ladies of the house, set the tone of our homes. There isn’t a thing or a person in our homes that is not affected by our strengths and/or weaknesses. And that should give us a great sense of responsibility and privilege.
Over the years I have met many Christian women who mourn the fact that their homes are not what they wish they were. They are full of clutter; I mean physical clutter, which then produces mental and emotional clutter. But what I’ve found is that they lack the mental and physical devotion to their homes. They want the diet pill, if you will: no work and no discipline. And in the end, they and their families suffer.
Making a pleasant home is hard work. It takes all of our senses and our abilities to make one. There is really no room for sloppiness. So for those of us who desire to have a pleasant home to serve our families and serve others we must realize it will take work and dedication.
Why do I say that? Well, a tidy home is just that—a tidy home. It helps and it contributes to the pleasantness of it all, but it isn’t enough. A tidy home with fussy people in it is not pleasant. In fact, our insistence on a tidy home sometimes can cost us that very peace and pleasantness we’re striving for. Think about how that may work in your home. Are your kids able to enjoy their home? How do you react when the toothpaste is all over the bathroom sink after you just cleaned it? How about when you find the pillows, Legos, and toys scattered all over the living room? You just cleaned your kitchen and your teenager helps himself to some food leaving a trail of dirty dishes on the counter and crumbs on the floor. How do you respond to that? Whom do you clean and labor for? Sure, the people in your home need to know what is off-limits and their responsibilities, but there should be more that they can enjoy than not.
Now a beautifully decorated home is great, but a beautiful home with miserable people in it is not pleasant at all. Do you work harder at decorating your walls than at building good relationships between you and your family? Is your décor representative of the people living in your home? Do you consider what they like? Does your décor give room for families visiting with little kids? Décor, just like tidiness, is only one part of the equation.
I think a pleasant home emcompasses all those things and, as you can see, that would take great work to attain. But as important as those things are, none is more important than a home where the people living in it (especially mom and dad) can show to one another constant redeeming grace: where sin is freely confessed, repented of, and forgiven. Parents are to be the leaders of extending this grace to each other and then to their children. Forgiving and forbearing should be the aroma you constantly breathe; That is a home full of grace and abundantly pleasant.
A pleasant home is both: one that is physically and spiritually kept. And if we desire it, we simply cannot ignore the piles of laundry or the fussy children.