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Today I (Jackie) look forward to beginning a series on Joyful Mothering with my friend Hannah Sell! Hannah is one of the coordinators of our churches Mom2Mom ministry (for more information on Mom2Mom, click here), and she has been helpful and encouraging in my own motherhood journey. I am thankful she has given me this opportunity to create this series from a talk she gave at Mom2Mom last year. Look forward to her posts on the last Tuesday of the month!

Do you remember when you first started living on your own?
Maybe you moved out right after high school and got your own apartment. Maybe you and your husband bought a house when you got married and that was your first experience living on your own. Whenever it was that you began living on your own, I want you bring to mind that time in your life.

For me, it was my college dorm at BGSU.
I remember vividly shopping with my mom for bedding, storage containers, simple appliances and kitchen items, even things like picture frames and throw pillows. It was the first time I had my own space, and I thoroughly enjoyed making it comfortable and lovely.

I eventually moved into my own apartment, and then got married and received my own set of new pots and pans, matching bathroom towels and linens, dining sets, more throw pillows, and all the other “home stuff” on my wedding registry. It was so exciting! I loved finding places for all my dishes and making up my new bed with the new comforter we were gifted. I happily began printing our wedding photos and hanging them in our apartment. I didn’t do these things begrudgingly, I did them cheerfully because everything was new, and I was excited to have a place of my own! God created us with this innate sense of belonging and this desire to create and to enjoy beauty. I didn’t have to muster up the drive to put my new throw pillows on our couch in our apartment, I just enjoyed it. 

This is how God made women! Now, you may not have the same deep love for throw pillows that I do, but I’m certain you can recall some time in your life where you were excited to keep and care for your home, apartment, dorm room, or another place you called home.


A Countercultural Idea

In the book of Titus, chapter 2, Paul outlines some practical duties of men and women:

“Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior,
not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good,
so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands,
to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind,
being subject to their own husbands,
so that the word of God will not be dishonored.”
Titus 2:3-5

I love this passage because it’s a blueprint for how God meant for us to live our lives. He meant for us to be in a community with other women. He meant for us to learn from women who have gone before us, and meant for us to teach the women who will come after us. How will we live this out if we aren’t in a community of diverse ages? If this is something that you feel is lacking in your life, get to know the women in your local church. I am certain you will find women in a range of ages and experiences who would love to encourage you in your motherhood and homemaking.

In this Titus 2 passage, the older women are supposed to be teaching the younger women to love their husbands and children, be sensible, pure, and kind, and workers at home.

Women working in the home is kind of counter-cultural these days. The world despises this idea that women were made for the home. And instead of embracing the way God has created us as women, and seeing it as a gift, we have said we don’t want it.  Being a keeper of your home does not mean you cannot work outside the home, it just means that being a worker in your home is to be your first priority.

So I want to encourage you, you were uniquely made to care for your home! And it is so beautiful and satisfying when we embrace this.


Subduing the Earth

Now that we know that the Bible is clear that women are uniquely designed to be workers in their homes, let’s dig into a little bit of where that came from. Because the reality is, you could have the most beautifully curated home, work hard to keep it clean and lovely, but without a purpose, without a why, what are you working towards?

In Genesis 1 and 2, the bible tells us that God created the world and he created man and woman, in His own image. He then tasked us with 2 things – filling the earth (with more people) and subduing it (cultivating it, bringing it under our control). How do we do that? Obviously, we’re all pretty certain in how to create more people!  So let’s talk about the second part – subduing the earth. What does “subduing the earth” mean for you and me today in a modern world? Most of us don’t have our own literal fields to cultivate, but what do we have that God has given us? Our homes! Our homes are our fields, and we are to bring them under our control as household managers. We are to breathe life into our homes, to fulfill this call God has given us, to subdue the earth!

Subduing our homes and bringing them under our control is all about managing our homes well. It is reflecting who God is. He has created everything in such an orderly and beautiful way, and He has made us likewise to be creative, to be orderly, and to create beauty – all to reflect His own goodness.


Our Home’s Foundation

Not only did God give us this great purpose to our lives, in how he created us, but He demonstrated His love for us by sending His only son to die for our sins. And this love is what should be the foundation in our homes. In a life giving home the people genuinely love God. As we love God, because He first loved us, we will see our love for others grow – especially our own people. This foundation is the force by which we can keep life giving, even when life is difficult. This love also separates us from moms who appear to have beautiful homes, yet are apart from God. 

So what does a life giving home look like where a mom is seeking to fulfill God’s work for her? I’m excited to continue diving into this with you more next month!