Sunday, March 01, 2009

Peace in the Storm

Painting by Paula Vaughan

It was only a blossom--

Just the merest bit of bloom,

But it brought a glimpse of summer

To the little darkened room.

It was only a glad "good morning,"

As she passed along the way,

But it spread the morning's glory

Over the livelong day.

The woman is needed at home. In financial trouble, a woman is even more needed at home, to calm the storms of life. In any upheaval of life, there has to be a part of our world that will stay the same, that will be predictable, and stable. If a woman abandons her station at home, to pursue money, leaving everything neglected, she creates an even bleaker situation. When there are calamities, making the home a place of normalcy is even more important. The men will face many trials, but it should not be necessary for them to face yet another trial at home--the trials of chaos and uncertainty that occurs when the homemaker is not there to provide a calm in the storm of life.

Someone wrote me and asked me why our kitchen situation did not upset me more. As a pipe burst suddenly, I had to get everything out of all the drawers and cupboards quickly. I put them in paper bags and boxes, and when I ran out of those, I just piled everything on top of the couch in the living room. I created a path between all the bags and boxes and other things, and this kind of upheaval was not going to go away quickly. I had nowhere to put any of it, (due to that bumbling family, the Bumphries , who moved into the garage and took up any storage space we had) and we had piled a lot of it on the dining table, so we could not use it. Nothing could be done until there was a new cabinet and places to put everything, so we walked around all this clutter for several months. I fantasized briefly about running away, but my nearest relatives are in Australia, and I had nowhere to go. I was stuck here and had to make the best of it.

In the midst of the dust and noise from the repairmen, my daughter brought out a little round table and put it in the middle of the living area. She draped it in a table cloth and set it with fine china and flatware and this is where we ate, surrounded by pots and pans and everything that came out of our kitchen. When the men came home, they smiled and said they thought it was wonderful to come home. Just that small touch of providing a special place to eat and a hot meal, calmed every one's nerves and gave them a feeling of well-being.

The edge of any crisis can be smoothed when the homemaker is there to keep the home fires burning and provide some kind of regularity in life. This is especially important when there are troubles threatening. Although this act of confidence will not guarantee a trouble-free existence, it will occasionally banish a fear or make the blows seem lighter.

Jesus said
"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
" (Matthew 11:28-30)

Throughout the ages, men have compared the home to heaven, describing it as a reward, a refuge, and a rest. Home has often been described as a reflection of heaven. If we are to do God's will on earth "as it is done in Heaven," then some time will have to be taken to make the home different than the pressures and inconsistencies of the world. The homemaker has a unique opportunity to put all the sweetness and light into the home place, and make a real difference in the lives of others. When we think of home as a reflection of heaven, the burden is lighter.

All the elements available to the home, can be used to make it a place of peace in the storm, from the lighting, to the comforts and the tastes and smells. The arrangement and care of the house is something that has an effect on the minds and the souls and the emotions of the family members, whether they live there or are visiting. That is why it is so important that the woman be given the time to do it. Taking care of a home takes much, much time.

Having a pleasing home that others like to be in, is not something that is slapped together as an after thought, but something carefully planned and thought out. For example, she may have to sew a new table cloth. She considers the fabric or print, carefully drapes it on the table to measure the length, and then cuts and stitches it to fit. She drapes it again on the table, and stands back and looks at it, places her fingers on her chin and looks at it critically. She wants to get it just right. It is important to her. She cares how it will make others feel. She may then set the table, stand back and look at the center piece of flowers and decide they are too tall or the wrong color for the effect she wants. To do all this, the woman must be allowed to stay home, because even when she is resting, she is formulating new thoughts and ideas about her life, her family, and her home. When her interest and loyalties are divided between home and work, one will suffer, and it will most likely be the home. I remember Nancy Reagan saying that she could not work once she was married. "I just didn't think I could handle both," she said, ",I chose the marriage."


Anonymous said...

You said: "'The arrangement and care of the house is something that has an effect on the minds and the souls and the emotions of the family members, whether they live there or are visiting.'
'She wants to get it just right. It is important to her. She cares how it will make others feel.'"

This post so resonated with me as this is what I've been feeling and doing as I've begun preparing for spring. Your lovely and comforting words and thoughts are much appreciated, Lady Lydia. Thank you.
Love, Karen

Just Me said...

As one of those working mothers whose home is literally in chaos at the moment due to a hectic week - I can affirm that this is true. Oh that God will open my husband's eyes to this knowledge!

Don't think it is better in the office or workplace, Ladies. STAY AT HOME - you're so needed.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post! Thank you dear Lydia for so eloquently expressing the importance of being home, especially during crises. In this economic climate, many women are abandoning their posts and heading out to work. It's sad. I've met some whose children are now in school all day so they figure they have nothing else to do and they should be "helping out" financially. If they could only see the huge disadvantages to such a decision....

One other note: you may want to comment on the importance of not just physically being home but emotionally and psychologically as well. Our families need our FULL attention. This requires dying to self, even if we are depressed and feel like curling up in a ball on the couch. It is incredibly upsetting to a child, even a teenager, and a husband to see mother in a state of depression and anxiety.

Love your blog!

Mrs. Karla Volf

Anonymous said...

This is a very encouraging post at a time when many of us homemakers are in need of it. Thank you!

Aelwyn said...

My husband often reminds me that the best way I can help him (and we are and have been in the midst of job/financial related stress) is to keep the home peaceful, joyful, and do away with chaos. I know for a fact that I could not do this if I were working outside the home.

I recently made myself a schedule for housekeeping and giving my daughter and husband a little undivided attention each day. Granted, my housekeeping involves doing all the paperwork stuff of the home as well, it really is already a full-time job - often more than that.

It is a real spiritual discipline for me to trust the Lord daily to provide for our needs. I was raised to be career minded. Other achievements, except for scholastic endeavors, were really not emphasized in my family. So, it is difficult for me not to just insist that I go out to work and "fix" our problems. I think in the long run though, this type of discipline of faith will be more beneficial to me eternally.

All that being said, if my husband said it was time for me to go out to work, I would of course immediately do that. It is in the end his call.

Anonymous said...

I remember when I was working, before kids, but after marriage, my apartment was always a mess, I was always struggling to keep up with laundry and chores, and we ate out all of the time. It was miserable. I can't imagine keeping up with kids if I had to work, at least at my old job.

~ Ann

Anonymous said...

Too Right, Lydia!! EVen if everything is falling to pieces around us, some type of anchor, in the form of home, is so very essential when everything else is out at sea; at least we can come away from the clammour; i think of all those thousands (over seven thousand in all) who have lost their homes entirely from Australia's Bushfire disaster; many losing loved ones and friends also; this fire was so unpredictable no amount of fire planning worked. Despite the loss, despite the heartache and distruction, what everyone wants so desperately to do is get right back and rebuild - the home. Not just the structure, but what went on inside it; all the more vital for those who have lost family. I have faced loss of those closest to me in my life, and one of the factors that helped when my heart and soul had truly shattered was a place of refuge, the home, to entre into. .

If you ever want to head south, our doors are always open :-)



Anonymous said...

To do all this, the woman must be allowed to stay home, because even when she is resting, she is formulating new thoughts and ideas about her life, her family, and her home.

I loved this portion and all that follows. When we are home full-time, the atmosphere of the home flows from our is almost a mystery...Often, I have heard women say of working women, "Oh, it is ok for her to work, because she is gifted enough to do both!" But "doing both" is not at all the same as "giving 100%" to the home and family. I wish more women could understand!


Gail said...

Dear Sarah,

Our prayers are still with you all, and we've heard many good things about the community spirit and helping hands that are at work now in your country. Do you live anywhere near the area that burned?

Dear Lydia,

Your words today have helped me make an important decision. Thank you for writing. I know that when I am away from home for several hours, the atmosphere I find really needs an adjustment! So I get busy, and cheerfully start bustling around and before you know it, the whole family brightens up and almost visibly relaxes before my eyes - the smiles appear again. I pray that I may be able to serve my family for as long as the Lord leaves me here, and I pray other ladies will understand that they need to be home and reign as queens there!

Anonymous said...

My homemaking motto was always, "ya do what ya gotta do." Washing baby diapers instead of using pamers, breastfeeding instead of buying formula, shopping at thrift stores, and cooking hundreds of pounds of beans didn't hurt any of us. We just did what we had to do to have a large family. There you go!

Anonymous said...

How you managed through all that kitchen upheaval is a marvel, Lydia, really! Even during that difficult situation you continued to write, uplifting, strengthening and encouraging us. You are so kind. I very much appreciate your advice, example and wisdom. How YOUR 'mind, soul and emotions' could stand the lengthy predicament, I can't fathom. I feel I just would not have been able to cope at all. It's amazing what we women can do when we have to... Love from, Linda.

Secondhand Blessings said...

Great post! (as usual!)
Just yesterday my husband said to me before he had left for work, "I look forward to coming home, you've made our home into a haven!" I felt like I had been paid highest compliment one could get.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Dear Lydia, I can only imagine how emotionally distracting it must be to live among clutter, without the ability to put it away! Thank you so much for this post. It's so much needed now, at a time of crisis, when so many men are losing their jobs.

Anonymous said...

I loved this post. I remember when our floors were being put in, & we were in a state of upheaval for a few weeks....I can only try to imagine what your situation must have been like, as you soldiered on without a kitchen for months. I have to agree that setting a proper table, even in dirty, dusty surroundings, is not a bad idea. I did that, myself, for my family & I know they appreciated that tiny bit of normalcy in a sea of confusion. All that said, though, & despite my total agreement with you about this, Mrs. Sherman, I'm not certain I can get away from the notion that I should go out & "pound the pavement" in search of some more part-time work. My husband has never asked me, directly, to do this, but I know he eagerly waits for the time (in a couple months) I begin the gardening work I do. We've never been able to save any of this income, as it goes right for groceries. It is hugely troubling for me, to contemplate being away from home more than I already am...


Fiona said...

Thank you for another lovely post, Lady Lydia. I find myself constantly feeling anxious and worrying for the future with these worsening economic times. However, focusing on having an organised, clean, tidy, welcoming, peaceful home with feminine touches is something I can do to comfort my husband and myself without any expenditure. Thank you again for the inspiration.

sharbyheart said...

Dear Lady Lydia,
I have followed your blog for some time, and I also want to thank you for the constant encouragement to think "old-fashioned" and to always be happy with our role as ladies.

Your comments about living amidst chaos as your kitchen was under renovation hit home with me. We are nearing the 6-month mark of living in our home that was damaged by Hurricane Ike last September. When we learned of the large tree on our house, we thought we would be moving out immediately, and in fact, brought a trailer with us to begin that process. My husband dismantled beds, emptied the china cabinet, removed wall hangings, etc. to prepare for the move. (And we obviously sorted through damaged and destroyed items in that part of the house.)

However, after staying for 2 weeks with relatives, it worked out for us to continue to live in the home while we worked out insurance issues and plans for the future.

We never dreamed we would still be in the damaged house 6 months later! As time went by, I returned wallhangings and china to their places, but beds have remained as mattresses on the floor. Our dining table has a treadmill stored under it, and the living room is a storage area for bicycles, boxes, and furniture displaced from the damaged room. Thankfully we have a family room and a breakfast bar, and we have continued a "normal" with those living areas. For the holidays we had our table cloth and centerpieces and a lovely homecooked feast.

We are now anxiously searching for our new home (and gradually packing, so the chaos has increased again) and praying for one that will be cozy and safe, not only from the trials and stress of the "daily grind", but from the storms of life, literal and figurative.

I appreciate your calmness during your own storm.


Anonymous said...


I am able to inform you that the fires have finally been largely gotten under control (a month since they first errupted). I live interstate in New South Wales, these fires wer in victoria. (to NSW's south). Thank you for your prayers and concerns.



Katrinka said...

Lydia, I am a frequent reader, but have been going thru loss of our business, relocation, financial disaster, etc. I stopped in a couple days ago and scrolled down and read the first sentence of your post 'A woman is needed at home.' It redefined for me what my role is in all this chaos. Thank you so much, haven't had time to read the whole article, but I've stopped in a few times just to read that first sentence. Thank you so much. God bless.

Anonymous said...

"Taking care of a home takes much, much time." This is no overstatement! Even with our children grown and married it still takes a great deal of time and effort to run a home. There's always improvements, maintenance, organization to be applied to every area of home living. A big job but a blessed one. Love, Linda