Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Beauty of a Home

I used to think the beauty of a home was in the picturesque set up, neatly placed decor, and the spotless floors. I have to be honest, I put that sentence in the past tense, but in reality I find myself thinking that way all the time. I look through endless Better Homes and Gardens magazines and dream of creating a similar haven. I accumulate all kinds of stuff in hopes that my living room will look half as perfect (no cords showing). Instead of a relaxing homey environment I have created a small version of hoarder central! I force myself to look at the bigger picture on a daily basis: what am I trying to accomplish? When people walk through the door what do I want them to see? I am my homes manager and quite frankly I am missing the mark. I've realized this for quite some time now and deep down, with all of my heart I want our home to glorify God - in every room, every corner, right down to my closet. This mindset motivates me at times to start a project and stop when I find myself feeling overwhelmed.

Then I got this book, "Glimpses of Grace: Treasuring the Gospel in Your Home" by Gloria Furman from a generous family in our church for Mothers Day. Furman asked the exact same question I've been asking this last year: HOW do I glorify God in my home - even as I sweep the kitchen floor for the umpteenth time this week?!

I read the introduction and became so, so excited! I was highlighting, taking notes in the margins, and looking up scriptural references like a mad woman. It's like Gloria Furman has been reading my mind!



It's like GOD has been reading my mind and provided Gloria Furman as a means to help me accomplish this task: glorifying God in my home. I can't begin to describe how excited I was about the INTRODUCTION! And then I read chapter one....

I kept thinking... these verses should be all over my house, inspiring me to glorify God as I scrub the toilet (for example) and then I read this sentence,
"Motivation can't be written on an index card - it must be written on your heart." (p.29)
Wow. Okay, Lord, way to call me out!

It's not that putting these verses all over my home is a bad thing, because it is in fact a fantastic idea, it's just that I go back to Furman's intro where she quotes Tim Keller,
"Your private prayer life is one of the key indicators that your Christianity is inner and true and not just the product of your environment." (p.19).
My mind immediately went to Betsie Ten Boom, Corrie Ten Boom's sister, who was imprisoned for hiding Jews during WWII and a quote from Corrie's book, "The Hiding Place" (which I recently finished),
"More and more the distinction between prayer and the rest of life seemed to be vanishing for Betsie." (p. 197, The Hiding Place, Corrie Ten Boom).
After finishing that book my prayer has been, "Lord, I want to be like Betsie. I need to be like Betsie. I crave that kind of relationship with you." So, yes, the environment I create is important, I want everything in it to glorify God, however (and more importantly) how is my private prayer life? What do I do on a daily basis for the spreading of the gospel - in my home?!

I have so many, many pieces of Furman's book that I want to share so bad, but I won't because I want you to read it, but listen to these wise words,
"Clearly we can't live our lives lawlessly, taking pot shots at people to make ourselves feel better. And clearly we can't just muster up our self-determination and will power to "do the right thing." I simply can't do it. Either way I choose, I don't please God." (p.31)
Yup. That's me right there. Everything I want to do, I don't do. It reminds me of Paul in Romans 4:18-25,
"... For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. (v.19) ... Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? (v.24)."
I'm a mess (really, who isn't?). Everything I want to do, I don't do, everything I don't want to do, I do. So how am I going to become a good housewife?!
"When I take hold of Jesus by faith as my only hope to please God, God declares that I am justified." (p.31)
Whew. It's not about me or what I do to gain righteousness! My only hope is through Jesus!
"God can use the ordinary moments in your life to glorify himself by conforming you into the image of his Son. ... Dirty dishes in the sink or red crayons smushed into an electrical socket by a curious toddler are not just worrisome ordeals in your otherwise uneventful day. They're opportunities to see glimpses of grace." (p.33)

I already knew that Christianity is a process. I am "being saved" (1 Corinthians 1:18). But God is constantly reminding me of that these days! I find myself growing prideful and forgetting Him. My growth in Christ is not about what I've done or what I'm going to do. I am forever growing because God is at work in me. I'm so excited to read chapter two and continue to grow and change into a godly woman who lives to glorify God daily. Ahhh! I cannot do this alone, thankfully I know that I simply can't, that God is the one who works in me, but if you are one of the women in our church who also received one of these books - hold me accountable! I want to walk, talk, and breath for the glory of God. Help me not to become self righteous or prideful,
"The gospel keeps me relating to God on the basis of Jesus's perfections, not on the illusions of my religious achievements. God strengthens me and protects me according to his faithfulness, not mine (2 Thess.3:3)." (p.33, Glimpses of Grace, Furman)
If you too are sick and tired of the mundane tasks that loom before you - a dirty floor, heaps of laundry, whiny children - then you too need to read this book and become encouraged that 1. You are not alone. 2. God has a plan to glorify himself through you even through these mundane tasks. and 3. There is hope. You too can be transformed through the power of the gospel, even as you change another diaper! Read this book: "Glimpses of Grace" by Gloria Furman!

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