Do you remember the music from your wedding? It just occurred to me that my husband and I included two songs in our marriage ceremony that reflected the next two foundational characteristics for a home that honors and reflects well on God: faith and faithfulness.
Through teary eyes and with a shaky voice I joined James and all of our guests for two verses and the chorus of Great is Thy Faithfulness, my very favorite hymn. That song reminds us that God is faithful, reliable and true.
Then two of my husband's dear friends encouraged us to build a Household of Faith through their stirring duet. That song reminds us to demonstrate our own faithfulness to God in our homes. God's faithfulness and our faith - two parts of a godly home.
Great is Thy Faithfulness
I think our homes need to reflect God's faithfulness. They need to be places where our children learn of the dependability and reliability of our God. They need to demonstrate to our neighbors and friends that we have a God who is good all the time. And when we return to our homes after venturing into our crazy, whacky world, we need to be reminded and reassured that our good and faithful God is in control.
It may seem like a lofty and even obscure goal - a home that reflects God's faithfulness - but here are some of my ideas for creating homes that remind us, our children, and our guests that we have a God who is faithful:
- Demonstrate faithfulness. I think it's important that we demonstrate faithfulness in the way we conduct the "business" of running our homes. We need to pay our bills on time, keep our grass mowed and the exterior of our homes looking nice, return library books on time, take down Christmas decorations by a reasonable date, etc. What's the big deal? If we have a trustworthy and reliable Father, then, as His children, we need to follow in His footsteps by keeping our word, fulfilling our responsibilities, and taking care of things. Our faithfulness in these little things testifies to His faithfulness in the little things as well as the big.
- Put His faithful Word on display. I don't have scripture all over my house, but I wish I did. I do have a few plaques and framed scriptures that are strategically placed around my home, however. These scriptures remind me and those who visit my home that if God said it, then so be it. He always honors His Word by being faithful to what He has said. I know that "He who began a good work will complete it," that "love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things, never fails," and that we are indeed "surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses" who are daily encouraging us to run with endurance the race set before us. These scriptures remind me and my family of God's faithfulness.
- Show a little consistency. I think the younger generations of our world are craving something that you and I might take a little for granted - consistency, habit, ritual, the everyday. Sure, marketing gurus assume we're all craving the spice of life, spontaneity, and change, but I think our wise God made us to thrive off of a little consistency. He's consistent. He causes the sun to rise every morning, the seasons to change every few months, the tide to come in and then go out. And while His mercies may be new every morning, they're also always offered, never withheld. He is dependable. I think our children need to learn about God's consistency through a home of consistency and predictability. For instance, they need to know that mom will feed them breakfast every morning, dad will be there to pick them up from school every afternoon, the family will sit down to dinner every evening at six, they can expect pizza and a board game every Friday night, and Sunday mornings are always reserved for church. Too many children are growing up in homes where nothing, nothing is for sure. How hard might it be for them to believe that a God they can't see will consistently provide for them if the mom and dad they do see can't even manage to put a meal on the table with any regularity? This is one of the greatest treasures my parents gave my brother and me. They were dependable and our home was run with consistency, so it was no stretch for me to believe that God is faithful and reliable too.
A Household of Faith
- Be there. In our busy, busy culture it is easy to be going and blowing all the time. The temptation is great, even for "stay-at-home" moms, to fill our hours with appointments, playdates, lunches, volunteer work, shopping trips, outings, sports events, classes, work, etc. If we're not careful, we're never home. Have you ever had one of those weeks? You know the ones - where you have so many activities and appointments and obligations and parties, that by the end of the week you felt like you just came home to sleep and change clothes. Rest of the time you were out and about. Unfortunately, we've had a number of those weeks. But I think one of the most charming things about my God is that He seems settled. Does that resonate with you? He's not whirring around, dashing about, and hurrying along. He is at rest, on His throne, the still, small voice. I think in order for our homes to reflect God's faithfulness as a God who is "always there", then we need to spend some time just being at home too. Conversely, when we're dashing about and using our homes as little more than a bed and a shower, I think we communicate a sense of unrest to our families. I'm not real sure I'm expressing myself real well on this point, but I know what I mean. Let me know if you do too.
So we've talked about creating a home that reflects God's faithfulness to us; but how do we build our homes to also reflect and even strengthen our faithfulness to Him? Here are a few ideas:
- Tithe. Yes, I said, or typed, that ugly T word. But I believe in tithing (giving at least 10% of our earned income to the local church - I believe that's the biblical definition - you can differ with me on that if you'd like - the definition isn't a major deal breaker :). My parents always tithed and they taught me and my brother to follow suit. I've tithed ever since I first started working at Six Flags Over Georgia in 1980. Now I'm teaching my kids to do the same. I don't think God needs my money. But I believe I need to tithe because it is a visible, concrete, repetitive, and stretching way to build my faith in God.
- Pray. A household of faith is surely a household of prayer. Wouldn't you agree? Think of all the opportunities we have to incorporate prayer into the fabric of our families and homes. We can pray at meals, at the beginning of each day, on the way to school, at times of desperation, during times of celebration, on birthdays and anniversaries, before tests, after tests, when someone is sick, at bedtime, and during holiday celebrations. The key is to make prayer a natural part of your family's life. I credit my husband with doing this in our home more than I take credit for it. He has always been good to simply stop everything and say something like, "Well, lot's all just stop and pray about that." And we do. I'm glad my kids know it is natural and normal to pray. It's not some freakish thing or even a "private matter." It's just what we do.
- Be consistent. I don't know about you, but I find being consistent is one of the toughest things in life. Whether I'm trying to exercise every day, follow through with disciplinary actions, make my daily quiet time a consistent habit, consistently prepare healthy meals, or stay within my budget, being consistent is a challenge. But nothing says "I have faith" like consistency. When I tithe despite financial troubles, when we go to church every Sunday, when we read our Bibles every evening, when I hold the bar for movies in my home to the PG level without fail, when I address ungodly behavior and don't just let it slide, and when we practice charity and hospitality on a regular basis, my consistent and persistent behaviors demonstrate my allegiance to the God I serve.
Well, those are my ideas for building our homes to reflect God's reliable faithfulness and our growing faith. I'd love to hear your ideas as well! Blessings to you all!
- Check your faith-o-stat. Sometimes it's hard for us adults to keep from worrying. There's a lot to worry about: bills, health, safety, the future, discipline problems, school issues, work problems, politics, retirement, the house, the car, I could go on and on. But that would be counter productive for me and you alike. Kids feel our anxiety like a sudden rise in temperature. They know when we are stewing and anxious. Maybe we talk to ourselves, pace the floor, snap at them, stay in bed, pour over the finances night after night, get quiet, or argue with each other. You can have lovely scriptures on your wall, go to church each Sunday, and pray three times a day as a family, but if you live the rest of the day in a state of anxiety, your home is no household of faith. You, dear friend, must practice faith in order to have a household of faith. My husband checks our thermostat on a daily basis to make sure no one has turned it down ( or up) to a level he's not willing to pay for. I suggest we check our "faith-o-stat" regularly as well, making sure it reflects our reliance on a trustworthy God instead of our anxiety and worry. Believe me, anxiety can heat up a home faster than a hot June day! Are you keeping your home's atmosphere cool and pleasant with deep and abiding faith, or does the faith-o-stat tend to go up and down with the cares of the day?
Labels: Build My House Thursdays