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For over three years the disciples had wandered from town to town, sometimes with Christ and sometimes without. They had left their homes to become sojourners, to live in temporary dwellings. On the last Passover before Christ’s death, they sat together in the upper room of another home that was not theirs and they listened, as Christ told them, “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 14:2). Christ was not talking of another temporary dwelling, but an abiding place that would be permanent and everlasting. How exciting it must have sounded to the disciples hearing about such a place after journeying for so long!
Our lives are full of little journeys and excursions away from our homes—whether running errands, working, visiting friends or going to church services. If we are married and/or a mother, then we may watch husbands and children go off on their own daily excursions—family members scattering in all directions to later be reunited again in that special place; the home.
Before I was married, I thought very little about my home. I spent most of my time away, packing my day with activities and then returning late in the evening to a room that barely had a poster on the wall. But then my role completely changed and I became a full-time homemaker, and suddenly, the home was my main focus. I hung pictures on walls and arranged vases on tables, all the while wondering, “Does this really matter?”
In Titus 2:5, women are told to be “homemakers,” or “keepers at home.” The point I used to miss is that this applies to all women, young or old, single or married. Whether we live alone or with others, we are given a responsibility to tend and keep the home, to prepare a place for the people in our lives who might rest there for a while, and to prepare a place that Christ and the Father will appreciate, as They dwell with us. In doing this, we are following the example of Jesus Christ, who is preparing an eternal home for us. Consider—homemaking is more than the physical act of making a space beautiful and clean, of cooking meals and doing laundry, it is a Christian characteristic.
But about that “making a space beautiful” idea? Jesus Christ is preparing a permanent home for us, yet our physical homes are only temporary, so again, “Does it really matter?” Most won’t argue that preparing a meal and doing the laundry are necessary, but what about decorating and arranging things in a pleasing way around the home?
It mattered to God when He made the Garden of Eden. This special home that God placed man in ended up only being a temporary abode, and yet, “out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food” (Genesis 2:9). Simply put, God created and planted things that look nice. So when you take the time to set the table in a special way, hang a picture on the wall, or simply clean up the clutter, consider that it is important to God.
Studies show that home design—the aesthetics of paint and pictures on the walls or the arrangement of furniture—can affect mood. One study examining the stress levels of patients in a hospital waiting room sought to discover if having plants—or even posters of plants—in a waiting room affected those stress levels. The study concluded: “Patients exposed to real plants, as well as patients exposed to posters of plants, report lower levels of experienced stress” and that this was partially due to “the perceived attractiveness of the waiting room” (Camiel J. Beukeboom, Dion Langeveld, and Karin Tanja-Dijkstra. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. April 2012, 18(4): 329–333). Other studies show that color can affect a person’s mood and overall feelings of happiness. Aesthetics can also enhance learning by evoking positive emotions. What does all this mean? You can literally make yourself and those who live with or visit you happier, less stressed and more apt for learning by designing and decorating the interior space of your home!
Whether you are struggling to prioritize taking care of your home due to a busy schedule of daily excursions, or you are a full-time keeper of the home fighting society’s pressure for women to have outside careers, remember: Jesus Christ is preparing a home for you and He has given you, as a woman, the awesome commission to follow that example. We are “keepers at home” and it does matter!