Monday, July 07, 2008

That Sacred Refuge of Our Life

"Home: - that sacred refuge of our life." John Dryden, English poet (1631-1700)

The home is more than a shelter or a place to eat and sleep. It is not like the other institutions on earth, because it is made up of something far more spiritual. In the home, a lot of attention if paid to details that might not be noticed or even placed in an institution.

The homemaker is in charge of this place and she has the ability to make it a place of misery or a place of refuge. It is doubly important that she create beauty and order and quiet in this place, because the family will learn important values here. If it is allowed to be a place where everyone dumps their belongings in a heap, or a place where the radio and television and other media is turned on full blast, or where arguing is a matter of course, it loses its sacred purpose.

I discovered that the Bible uses the terms "home" and "house" interchangeably. "House" often referred to the entire family, which included relatives. The "house" of Jacob just meant all the people in his family, even if they were living in tents. The home was a valued place, worth keeping and guarding. The home was a private institution where children were taught the difference between right and wrong. The home was a place where people could live their convictions, without outside interference.

Abraham was told to go where he would find a "home." When the Israelites came out of Egypt, they were destined for a "home. " Churches met in homes, and homes were where ministers and angels were entertained.

Heaven is called "home" in the Bible. When I think of the prayer of Jesus, which included this phrase, "thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven," I can readily apply it to the home. It will have orderliness, beauty, neatness, without confusion, to glorify God, to influence others through hospitality, and to provide a little piece of heaven on earth.

The privilege of having a home and a family is not something to be taken lightly and mistreated. It is not something to treat carelessly or with disdain. No matter how humbly a woman lives, she can make that dwelling into something that makes people smile when they enter her home. This cannot be done if it is not cared for.

A woman at home has more time to put some intellectual effort into planning the day, organizing, creating, and making it a sacred place of refuge. She has to learn many things that challenge her mind. Women at home have to know which home cleaning products cannot be mixed together or used at the same time. They have to know what spices and ingredients go together and which ones do not. Women at home have to think carefully about their decisions and learn, like Solomon, to make good judgements. You see, a homemaker's job requires a great deal of knowledge, wisdom and understanding.

Homemakers learn which foods help a stomach ache and which foods and food combinations could cause illness.They have to learn about everything from the importance of fresh air in the home to the proper disposal of waste products. They develop resourcefulness in sewing and mending and repairing things. They have to know how to substitute things that they cannot buy at the moment. They have to know to manage their finances. They have to develop wisdom in teaching their children. They may learn how to grow, store, and repair food. They learn how to care for the family possessions and how to determine what is valuable and what is not.

There is a lot to be learned from home living, which greatly challenges the intellect. However, even if a woman does not possess the desire to study about the home, her presence is greatly needed there, especially to care for it and guard it. These are her things. These are her children. This is her responsibility.

Not many people are very rich and not many will be able to have servants or maids. It is important therefore, to learn by doing. It is just a matter of picking up something and putting it away. It is a matter of washing something when it is dirty. It means taking out the trash before it begins to smell. It means keeping the dishes washed and free of bacteria. It means keeping clothing in good repair. It means making wise choices at the market. It means guarding your house against anything that would steal your peace of mind. Guards of the home perform a task that is monumental, for they are not only keeping their own homes, they are teaching the future generations of men and women to value the home.


Anonymous said...

That is a lovely article.
I especially agree that keeping a home enables a wife to learn many new things to aid her family, such as nutrition, hygeine, etc.

You are so encouraging, Lady Lydia!

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

What a lovely article!

I was thinking recently of an old episode of Father Knows best (well, all of them would be old wouldn't they?).

Mom decided she needed to get out of the house for awhile after a very long day of housework. Her hubby (who always knew best), and her kids tried to get a hold of her that afternoon and all were so concerned something bad had happened. All because Mom was ALWAYS home at that time.

I remember in that episode she felt rather silly later at feeling she had to get out for awhile.

How different our world is today. I know few families where that would come close to happening. Although my husband and children panic if I don't at least answer my cell phone, I guess that is the 21st century version of such a Mama. :)

Anonymous said...

Homeliving - a huge responsibility, wonderful privilege, joyous lifestyle. If we can do nothing else but just be present in the home, that alone truly is a great blessing to all therein. Thank you dear Lydia for once again reminding us of our role's importance to the home/household. Love from, L.M.L.

Lydia said...

For those who are interested, I located the Loretta Young show that featured "When Queens Ride By." It is Season 8, Episode 21, the year 1961. Although this shows up on the web, it doesn't appear to be available. I wish someone could get ahold of it and put it on UTube or produce it on DVD by itself.

Anonymous said...

What wonderful words of encouragement. Thank you!
Your words have described so beautifully the varied responsibilities we have as guardians of our homes. No day should be boring; however, there are days that are not quite as bright as others.
So I thank you for encouraging me today.
Lynne in NC

Anonymous said...

Thank you for reinforcing the immense value of the home. My family and I have just relocated from a distant state, and are living in a hotel while looking for a house. My husband has started at his new job, and so we have the challenge of meeting "normal" responsibilities while living in a very challenging environment. Your article reminds me that for now, our 2-r00m hotel suite is "home", and my efforts to provide a place of shelter and refuge are perhaps even MORE important now than ever. Thanks for the encouragement--I needed it this morning!
~Leith S.

Anonymous said...

"These are her things. These are her children. This is her responsibility."

Why do I see myself very soon having to say this, inserting the word "my" in place of "her", to those who would question my continuing presence at home? that my children are getting older, surely they can get along without me. Thus far, I've never really been challenged negatively for being a SAHW/M. Your lovely words, Mrs. Sherman, may very well be the "gentle answer that turns away wrath".

I liked this post very much, & thank you for writing it. I know it, like so many of your others, will be an encouragement both to the serious, dedicated homemaker, as well as to the woman who is only just beginning to feel the stirrings of the conviction that she should be home!

have a wonderful day,

~~Deby said...

Another keeper of a post. You have a way of summing things up and speaking the words that we all need to hear and be reminded of, no matter how long we have been a homemaker....
thank you for your encouraging words.

Anonymous said...

Yes, another keeper of a post indeed. What an encouraging post to find today. It is all so important, there is no job more important, none.

Even the rich and famous,although they may have maids and cooks and gardeners, still have to hire someone to manage it all, a house manager. They probably pay six figures for that, yet when women doing the same job in their own homes, it is devalued and worth nothing. Funny how the world works!

~ Ann

Lydia said...

Ann, You are right. It doesn't make sense. The only reason I would hire anyone to do anything would be because I didn't have time, or I didn't know how to do it myself. I hire a plumber sometimes or call a repairman, but they actually make more money than I do, so their jobs certainly aren't lower-classed! Nannies are also very expensive and so are housekeepers. I have hired young girls during the summer who needed to have experience, to help me when my children were little. My mother used to do that when hers were little. It helped the girls and it helped the mothers, but never did we think it was a demeaning job. Though some may not value the family at home very highly, the cost of the house itself is sky high. So, how can working in that house be lower classed? Of course as Christians, we are not concerned with class or money and we have a master who rewards with great lifetime benefits!

Anonymous said...

This is all so true! A home is far more than a house. Your article sums it up so nicely--thank you as always for turning our thoughts to home.

Paula said...

Dear Lady Lydia,
Thank you for this lovely and inspiring article. This is just what we homekeepers need to keep in mind. Our duties are so important and vital! It takes a great deal of wisdom and knowledge to do all the things homekeeping entails! I still have much to learn but I love learning and improving myself and our home life in a manner pleasing to the Lord. I think of your closing words, and how important our duty is, "Guards of the home perform a task that is monumental, for they are not only keeping their own homes, they are teaching the future generations of men and women to value the home." What a noble calling we have!

I also loved the quote you shared by Adam Clark, how true and sobering!

Have a lovely afternoon!

Just Me said...

Beautiful article, as always, Lady Lydia.

Just Me said...

Beautiful article, as always, Lady Lydia.

Lydia said...

Homemaking does take studying and applying what you study. There are some interesting books that help a lot, and I will list them on an article in the future.

JKaye said...

The sentence, "The home was a place where people could live their convictions, without interference," is significant. As society continues to wage a war against the family, and against Christianity, the home will be even more important as a place to live our convictions.

Thanks for another meaningful lesson on the importance of home and homemaking.

Anonymous said...

I've been married for 25 years and a SAHM for almost all of those years, yet I still find things I need to learn more about in managing a home. It really takes a lifetime to learn to do it all. My husband and I were talking over lunch today about how different things would be if I worked full time outside of the home. He says he would hate it. My children are almost all grown now and two are married, but I am still needed here. Family members are beginning to ask what I'm going to do next and they can't understand why I wouldn't want a "real" job. I count it such a privilege to be at home everyday. Thanks, Lady Lydia, for such an inspiring article. You always give us food for thought.

Lydia said...

Paula, Adam Clarke wrote about the Bible way back in the 1800's and I find he had a good understanding of the way people used to apply the Bible. This quote shows the message that it gives people when the woman is not busy about the business that God gave her. They laugh and mock and say "if that is true womanhood, I don't need it."

DarcyLee: When my children were in the teen years someone had a "conference" with me to counsel me on what I need to be thinking about in my future. She wanted to know if I had thought seriously about what I would be doing and I said I would have to catch up with the things I never got around to, while having children. It is amazing how much work is left! And now just having a husband at home, it would seem there is more time. However, after looking after the house, and taking care of him, I find I don't always have the stamina to do all those ambitious projects or get the scrapbooks and family albums ready for the children, repaint the house, etc. As he is quite a bit older than I am, there are some things that I have to do that he can't do anymore (I'm more agile than he is ;-) so the work really adds up, and if you are in a house, even if you do not own it, the work is there. In later years after the children have worn out the furniture and the inside of the house, you can have fun redecorating or refurnishing. Then you should be prepared because they do come back, bringing more with them.

Judi: there is inded a war against the family. Modernists consider the family archaic and outdated and want to replace it with something quite different than the Bible's definition of marriage, home and family. That is why what goes on inside the home is so important. It has to be different than the world.

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

I really appreciated the encouragement in this article, even after 20 years of being married and running my home!

Even though what I do may go unnoticed by those outside my home, my Lord notices, as does my husband and children. I am a blessed woman!

candy said...

Dear Lydia,
I loved this post!


Elizabeth said...

Great post!

texasmcvays said...

This reminds me of how in Isaiah the Lord calls the tents of the people peaceful Dwelling places! It reminds me that though we do not watch the TV I need to guard the radio time too and turn it off or on low with peaceful music to float through the house. One of the things I strongly believe is that I have to keep my mind occupied and growing. I like many women at home was in the midst of a successful career and working toward a Master Degree. I am a type "A" personality. So each year I pick a focus and this year I wanted to learn how to make cakes and I am work on my gardening skills. Well, I took the Wilton Cake Class and now I feel confident I can make pretty cakes. I am reading about gardening. Each year I pick skills to focus on and take steps to keep my mind engaged and improve my homemaking skills and home life! This was a great post I feel reaffirmed and encouraged. Glory!!
Well…back to cleaning!

The Lady of the House said...

Regarding Kyle's comment about picking an interest/skill or two on which to focus each year -- that is a fantastic idea!! I've been struggling with having too many good things going at once and becoming a sort of Jane of all trades master of none. Your idea makes so much sense, especially for a mother of a toddler!

Goddess Cassandra said...

I very much agree that home maintenance requires a great deal of knowledge. But, what I disagree with is that you need to be home 24/7 to get that knowledge. You're posting on the internet right now: 30 seconds and a google search gets you any of that information.

Lydia said...


You are disagreeing with air. No one said you had to be home 24/7 to "get that knowledge." To gain a greater understanding, read over the site a little more carefully. There are lots of articles about the home, and nowhere does anyone say a woman must stay home 24/7 to "get that knowledge." Nor is there anywhere that says a woman has to be inside her house all the time. But there is nothing that says they have to go to work outside the home, either, and many young women believe they have no choice but to work outside the home, leaving them unable to fully concentrate on really putting a lot of attention and love into their work at home. I hope you aren't, like others, claiming on your blog that "Lydia Sherman thinks women ought to be locked in their houses 24/7" because I never said that. Feminists assume that women at home have no freedom. Actually they have more freedom than most women at work, because they can come and go as they please, without losing their jobs.

Lydia said...


A 30 second google search doesn't give you the same kind of info about caring for the family or the house, the way experience does or the way intuition does. You can get the info in 30 seconds but it takes time to put it to the test. It often doesn't work for everyone. Everyone has different needs and some things have to be done by trial and error at home, not by a google search. It is better that daughters learn by watching their mothers, as it comes more naturally, and is easily applied. Also, getting information is not what homemaking is all about. There is a lot more thought put into homemaking, that requires the woman be free to do it: free from the obligations of the workplace and the other places that would bind her to time limits.
In spite of the fact that women at home are free to come and go as they please, the more serious ones realize that getting a home to have the atmosphere of happiness and love takes much, much time. It may be easy to clean up something or put something away, but a woman with wisdom will stand back and take a critical look at the results and think about what it needs, and what kind of feeling it gives her, etc. The home has to have an atmosphere, or a feeling of that particular family. That cannot be achieved by a 30 second google search.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your continued encouragement! I have only been home a few months, but what a difference it has already made in our home and family life! When my husband comes home tired from a long day's work, I have the energy to be patient when he is ill-tempered or short with me or the children. I also have much more patience with my children and more time to train them. The meals are tastier because I have more time to plan and cook and everyone's clothes are neatly pressed and mended. I even have time to work on the "little projects", cleaning and organizing to make my home a restful haven. Once I have those projects done, I plan to paint and sew and decorate my home inexpensively to make it beautiful as well. I also have more time to work in the yard and am making plans to beautify my front entrance with fresh paint, brass polish, and elbow grease. Your blog is a continual and wonderful source of inspiration in my life. Thank you! Miss Kris

Anonymous said...

Dear Lady Lydia;

Thank you for your words. When my husband and I decided I would be a keeper of our home, we were met with a great deal of resistance from both sides of our families. I was giving up quite a lucrative position. This meant changing my priorities and learning to refocus. I have not regrets...I know that my job is a very important one. I am home for my children and for my husband.

Thank you...


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this inspiring article. Wonderful! Have a blessed day.

Lydia said...

Betty Jo, can I put your blog on the homemaker's list?

Just Me said...

I enjoyed your post on" The blessing of work" There is no better feeling than seeing the results of hard work.

I just found your blog and like it very much : )

Mrs. V. said...

Yes, there are SO many things to keep and wife and/or mother busy! I (along with countless others, I'm sure) wonder some days how I can fit it all in. There is so much work and creativity that goes into all of our days.

Thank you for this article and all the good ideas it contains.

Shannon said...

I couldn't find a comment link to today's pots (the 12th) so I'm commenting on it here ;-)

A very good post- this is something try to impress uopn my younger friends with toddlers who do nothing but sit and watch tv all day long. My 2 older boys at 10 and 12 do most of the housework cheerfully (most of the time) because they were trained to do it. I am now in the process of teaching my 3 and 1 year olds to follow in their older brother's footsteps. My 17 month old's favorite thing to do is take laundry I havd him from the washer and chuck it into the dryer and shut the door!

Lydia said...

thanks for telling me! I didn't know. I fixed it. Yes, the folding can be done by toddlers. They can also take little stacks of towels and clothing to certain rooms and put them on the end of the bed or a bench, etc.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for a wonderful post. You are always so encouraging. :)

I look forward to seeing a list of books you think will be helpful in skill development. I also pick a few things to work on at a time so I'm not spread too thin - though sometimes it's hard not to dive into new things. I make time for reading in different subject areas each day. Even just 15 minutes gets you through a book before too long. I love being free to chart my own course.


Lydia said...

"Free to charge my own course"--that is a wonderful title for the homemaker! The book list is my next post, but I am getting my pictures ready.