Thursday, July 14, 2016

A Guide for Building Your Home & A Giveaway

She clomps into the kitchen wearing her big sister's jean skirt and her galoshes, her curls quickly drying into a frizzy mess.
It's Thursday night.
That means that we've got the language tutor on his way, a friend from church joining us for supper, and Bible study to get ready for.
I'm checking the clock as I rapidly chop carrots, stir the sizzling onions, and try to keep everybody moving in the right direction.
What is my first reaction to this little one in her amazing costume?

For many years, my response would have been anger, yelling, frustration, irritation, a harsh, barked order to "Go get your clothes on," or something along those lines.
{Sadly some days it still is.}
But today I laugh.
It just wells up inside of me as I look at my silly, self-satisfied two-year old, who really did do what mama told her to do ~ get dressed ~ sort of.

I confess that I am an idealist.
It has its good points, but it comes with a lot of bad points, too.
I'm quick to judge.
I hold to strong ideals.
I generally have high expectations.
And though setting the bar high isn't necessarily a bad thing, I'm continually reminded that it can bring death in my home.

Before I became a wife and mother, I had beautiful dreams and hopes and yes, ideals, of what my home and life would be like.
It would be a place of comfortable beauty, full of friends and family, good food, shelves of books, stimulating conversations, fun, laughter, and life.
Then I got married....moved to a foreign country.....and started having babies.
And life got hard. Really hard.
Nothing was turning out according to the way I had pictured it.

I decided that the only way to fix that would be to "make" my ideals come true.
If I worked hard enough, thought things through enough to fix all the obstacles, and trained my children just right, everything would suddenly fall together.
I'd have the life I'd always dreamed of.

But it didn't.
So I tried harder.
I tightened down the screws, so to speak.
I got up insanely early, and stayed up ridiculously late.
I had meal schedules, and cleaning schedules, and ministry schedules, and learning schedules.
Everything was perfectly planned, and every time something went awry, I'd screw everything down a bit more.
Truth is, some of my planning began to pay off.
People were doing what I wanted them to do.
But there was no joy, no beauty, no life.

About seven year ago, God took all my perfect plans and all my effort and turned it upside down in a pile at my feet.
He asked me if I would be satisfied with what He wanted for me, or if I was going to continue to run my life my way.
By His grace, I surrendered.
From that moment of letting go of my hopes and dreams and castles in the sky, He began to build a new life for me.
The life HE wanted me to live.
A life full of hope in Him, not in all I could accomplish.
As He began to change me, He began to change our home, too.

When I tried it my own way, I was robbing our home of the very things it needed to be alive.
I was bringing forth death, rather than life.
My ideals were squeezing the breath of the Holy Spirit right out of our home.
All these years later, I can testify to two things: God is a good God who gives the best gifts and a home filled with Him is a home full of life.

Since that day so many years ago, God has given me several guides to show me the path to follow to build the home He desires us to have.
We aren't perfect.
In fact we are just a house full of sinners.
But by God's grace, He has taught us and led us and shown us the way He wants us to go.
Down the path of life; following hard after Him; daily raising up one more Home for His glory.

 The works of Edith Schaeffer and her daughter Susan Schaeffer Macaulay have been invaluable to me as I've grown in my understanding of all God desires for a home to be.
The Hidden Art of Homemaking, What is a Family?, and For the Family's Sake are all wonderful books.
My new favorite, though, is by one of my favorite book-mentors, Sally Clarkson.
Her newest book, The Lifegiving Home is honest, down-to-earth, and very inspiring.
Because it's been such a blessing to me, I'd like to share it with one of you.
Simply leave a comment here or on facebook, and I'll pick one winner in the next week!

*This is available to anyone, no matter where you live, but you must have a US mailing address to receive a hard copy. If you live abroad, you may enter to receive a Kindle version.


  1. I loved the picture of you with you girls! And the family picture is beautiful too. The picture of your daughter getting baptized just about made me cry. This was a good post, Patty. I think as moms we all feel that frustration. I know I do. It is hard for me to relax and enjoy life when I feel the work load is never ending. Thanks once again for the encouragement and reminder. And thank you for being real.
    Love, Jessi

  2. We've never met but I found your blog while living in Accra. Though we are back in the States, I love your pictures of Ghana. I miss my home there! I also appreciate Sally Clarkson as I raise my little ones to serve Christ. Blessings as you serve!

  3. Such an encouraging post. You have definitely made the right decision. Enjoy your family and may the Lord continue to bless.

  4. It's hard, I need all the help I can get. Thanks for sharing the book recommendations. I like to see what others are reading and it helps with the weeding out process.

  5. Thanks for being so open and sharing your life with us! Always enjoy reading your posts.

  6. I feel like I'm constantly struggling with this balance and it's always encouraging to read new grace and gospel-filled books! I found your blog when my mom (a missionary wife in Ireland ��) shared an article with me several months ago. I really enjoy reading and hearing how God is working not only in your church, but also in your own heart ♥️

  7. Thank you, Patty! What a blessing! And, as always, I love your photos.

  8. Thank you for your timely post, it was a blessing. I'd love the opportunity to read the giveaway book!
    Blessings from Hokkaido,

  9. Thank you for your post, it was such a blessing to me. I would also love the opportunity to read the giveaway book! Thank you! Beth