I remember the first time I realized that some of my homemaking methods needed to change.
I was a newbie wife and mom, on a quest to embrace natural living at every possible level.
I read that bleach was toxic, so I poured out the remaining contents of my bottle and never bought the stuff again.
I got rid of my plastic containers, quit using a microwave, went paperless in the kitchen for years, switched to cloth diapers and raged a war on anything that might compromise the health of my precious young family.
Today as a somewhat seasoned homemaker and mother, most folks would probably consider my home a pretty healthy place to live.
Unless you start talking about the chickens running around in the back yard, or the kitten who are carried in and out of the house most days. But that’s completely off topic… 🙂
A glance around our house would reveal essential oils on the kitchen and bathroom shelves, a soy candle on the dining room table, eco-friendly products in the laundry room, natural body products in the shower…
I’m not a purist, but I’d probably pass as a “natural living” mama in most books. I’ve made a lot of changes over the years, and this natural living thing has truly become a way of life for our family.
We have freedom to discard what doesn’t work for us, but we’ve seen a lot of fruit and rewards from our efforts to live “clean”.
But, somehow, this pursuit of a perfectly “healthy” home hasn’t always felt satisfying.
Despite my hardest efforts (trying too hard?) at creating the perfect home life I longed for, I felt like I was still falling short.
For years life felt overwhelming, I struggled to enjoy the children I was trying so hard to take care of, and I carried an inexplicable burden of unhappiness and negativity every single day of my life.
It took me a while to put my finger on the issues, but the Lord has been gracious enough to shed some light into my foggy vision. Slowly, the truth sank in that I was only addressing one dimension of creating a “healthy” home… and I was totally overlooking the most important part.
It’s true that I’ve done a lot to make sure that my loved ones aren’t exposed to harmful elements in our home via cleaners, personal products, or even food.
But in all my worrying about having a toxin-free home, I never once asked myself if I had a toxin-free heart.
One spring afternoon about eight or nine years ago, the Lord commenced heart surgery on me.
Jeremy and I had just moved our little family (three kiddos back then) onto a five-acre tract of raw land, and we had more roots and rocks than workable soil in our “garden”.
As I was straining to dig up wiry roots and yank out weeds, my mind was engaged in a heartfelt prayer. I had been asking the Lord to change me… please change me. I was so sick of battling negativity and unhappiness in my life; somehow, despite how well I excelled at making changes in my home, I felt powerless to change myself.
My daily prayers became a litany of begging God, Please change me!
God must have known that I was truly desperate for a change, because He didn’t waste any time letting me sit there in my misery.
As my fingers dug at the stubborn roots of another unwanted weed, the Holy Spirit spoke truth into my heart:
“Kristy, you’ve been pulling weeds out of your life for years.
I want to remove the roots, so you don’t have to keep battling those same weeds.”
Tears rolled down my dirt stained face as I let the words sink in. As I dug out weeds from our own garden soil that afternoon, the imagery of God’s hands reaching into the soil of my heart and removing “root” sins was so vivid.
Even as I sit here typing these words, my heart still turns with emotion at the memory.
I can honestly say that God has been faithful to keep His word.
As I look back over the last decade of my life, I see His gentle hands at work, digging deep (sometimes painfully) and removing root sins out of my life.
As the roots have gone, so have the weeds. Then God digs deeper and finds more roots, and the process of sanctification continues.
I never want this process to stop, because I believe that God, like any skilled gardener, always desires to cultivate more beauty, abundance, and fruit in the soil of His children’s hearts.
What does all this have to do with a healthy home?
I told you that my efforts at creating the perfect “healthy” home fell miserably short at bringing me lasting satisfaction as a wife and mom.
Do you know why?
It wasn’t until the soil of my heart was rich, fertile, and healthy that I could even begin to cultivate a truly “healthy” home for my family.
Think about the many attributes of a spiritually and emotionally healthy home:
- unconditional love and acceptance
- emotional transparency
- shared interests, dreams, and struggles
- apologies and forgiveness
- grace (“a favor or benefit bestowed on another with no expectation,” Clay Clarkson)
- gratitude and contentment
- freedom to be yourself
- purpose and eternal perspective
How can these beautiful, vibrant fruits ever survive in an environment that is sterile and negative?
How can my loved ones thrive and grow, and reach their spiritual and emotional potential, in a home where strife, negativity, criticism, harsh tones and impossible expectations create a toxic atmosphere?
I could remove household toxins from my home with a simple act of will, but it took God’s grace and restoration to remove the heart toxins from my home.
I remember the last time I realized some of my homemaking methods needed to change… it was this morning.
And the morning before.
And the morning before.
Daily, in those beautiful places with God,
He continues to remove the “roots” and “toxins” out of my life
and gives me renewed hope for a truly healthy home.