The Triune Ministry of Homemaking: Building Relationships

The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down. – Proverbs 14:1 NIV

Of all the things that homemaking is, it is essentially the building up of relationships for God’s glory.

The relationship between a husband and wife is a model of Christ and His Bride, the Church.

“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery–but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. – Ephesians 5:31-33 NIV

The relationship between mother and child is a picture of the mothering of disciples of Christ through the Church.

My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, how I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed about you! – Galatians 4:19 NIV

As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you, but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us. Surely you remember, brothers, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you. You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed. For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory. – 1 Thess. 2:6-12 NIV

And I’m sure that the beauty and facets of God’s glory that can be revealed in the relationships of marriage and parenting I’m barely only beginning to see. But this is what I know so far: I was made a woman for the glory of God. I was also made a wife and a mother for the glory of God. The relationships that make up my home are my home making!

Relationships trump management

Although watching over the ways of my household is my God-given responsibility and honor, when the overseeing of my home becomes the central focus, my call to build a home wisely for the glory of God gets blurred. But when the central focus of my homemaking is to build relationships between my husband and children for Christ, the management and day to day care of my home fall into their rightful places.

Sometimes I have to be “reduced” to the central purpose of building God-glorifying relationships in my home so that I can get back to the essence of the ministry God’s given me to do.

There are ways I think our home should be managed. But when my management plan puts my husband under the bus, the management aspect of my homemaking has to be scratched. I have to put my relationship to my husband before the way I believe our home is to be managed.

Sometimes that means letting go of good and right ways of running our home to get behind my man and say lovingly, as a friend, “I don’t think this is right, but you’re the leader of this family babe, and I’m with you whether what you’re choosing in the management of our home is what I believe is right or not. If you choose ways that are good, I’ll stand behind you. If you choose a wrong way, I’ll go down with you. And I’ll trust the Lord.”

This has been a constant issue with me over the years, and lately it has come up even more. For the sake of protecting my husband and our household I won’t go into details. But suffice it to say, God is teaching me that the ministry of glorifying Jesus in my marriage relationship is more important than the good things I desire to do in the management of our household. It’s a matter of learning submission to the Father, and to teach me that He always remind me of Sarah.

Sarah called Abraham her “lord.” You know like, “Yes my lord” and “Yes my lady“. (I’m picturing old English kings and queens here). He didn’t exactly deserve such a stately title. After all he took her into Egypt and told her to lie about being his wife. But because Sarah stood by her man, God sent Abraham and Sarah safely out of Egypt blessed.

Through Sarah’s example I learn it’s more important to God that I reveal my trust in HIS sovereignty and my commitment to lovingly stand by my husband, than it is that all the “right” things (things I think are right) get done.

It’s true, sometimes the way I see it really is the “right” way. Sometimes what my husband wants to do really isn’t right. But God’s not so concerned about that. He’s teaching me that He gets the glory through me not by me making sure everything runs just right in my house, but by standing by my husband even when he’s wrong and by quietly trusting in God’s sovereign love and care for me and my family.

Relationships trump housekeeping

I need to be willing to follow the example of my Lord and get down and dirty and do some good ‘ole toilet scrubbing and carpet cleaning, and blind dusting… foot washing things. But when keeping a clean house becomes an obsession which leaves my husband and children feeling like they’re walking on ice in their house, or feeling like they live with “the maid” rather than a friend, something is outta whack!

I know for me, sometimes cleaning is an escape. If I’m frustrated, angry or hurt I’ll hide myself in cleaning jobs. Sometimes it’s good. I’m always humbled and Jesus often meets me when I’m on my knees cleaning up dust, grime and bodily fluids. Sometimes it’s where I need to be and it’s where my kids and husband will see the humble love of God in me. But sometimes cleaning is just a way I can brush off my husband and kids. In those times the Spirit never ceases to say, “Put down the dishes right now and go sit next to your husband and watch that baseball commentary that you don’t really care about with him.” Or, “Stop detailing the kitchen cabinets and go play Legos with your sons.” Or, “Quit folding the laundry and go ask your husband how he’s doing.”

Both cleaning and managing must be submitted to the relationship building between a husband and wife and a mother and her children.

To make sure that building up relationships for God’s glory remains my central focus I must set out to manage my home for God’s glory, get down on my knees to scrub some “feet” or toilets or whatever, but then I must be willing to lay both of those callings aside when they are not aiding me in building the relationship between my husband and I or between my children and I.

Being a wise woman who builds her home for God’s glory means I need to be like a palm tree. I need to live a life that points up (management), to Christ. I need to keep my roots in the dirt (foot washing). But I also need to bend when the wind blows (relationship building).

A savvy woman can manage her house like a well-oiled machine. A diligent woman can keep her house clean as whistle. But only a woman who has tasted the love of Christ can build up the relationships in her home.

The relationship between a woman and her husband is written in heaven to glorify Christ. It’s not defined by man or laws. It’s defined by the relationship between Christ and the Church.

The relationship between a woman and her children is written in heaven to glorify Christ. It is not defined by parenting manuals or counselors. It is defined by the relationship between the Father and His children and between the Christ-filled Church and His disciples.

The woman who seeks to do her part in making a relationship with her husband and children that honors the model authored by the Author of our faith will be fulfilling the ministry of homemaking whether she works outside her home or not; whether she’s skilled in domesticity or not; whether she’s running a tight ship or not.

Father, help me to remember that my calling as a homemaker is not so much in where I am physically in a day, or how well planned my week is, or how clean my bathrooms are, but rather how Christ honoring my relationships with my husband and children are. You change my prayers Father from, “Please let me stay home!” to, “Please give me a gentle and quiet spirit towards my husband so that he feels safe and secure around me.” You transform my requests from, “Please help my kids to obey!” to, “Please grant me YOUR patience and wisdom in nurturing and teaching them!” Father, You’re always changing me. Thank you for being patient. You are my heart’s desire! I have no greater joy than to live a life that brings You honor. And I’m in total dependence upon You to do that!

What are your thoughts? Do you need to adjust your managment and footwashing aspects of homemaking so that you have a more Christ honoring relationship with your husband and children?

So glad He found me ,

Isaiah 51:3

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