How Social Media is Killing my Homemaking.

I’m so ashamed to say it, but it’s true. Those beautifully curated square pictures are killing the fire in my heart for homemaking.

My feed of late has been inundated with beautiful pictures of beautifully clean and organised homes – and I love looking at them. There is something inspiring about them that keeps calling me back to scroll through them. Our hearts are designed by the Great Designer to love beauty (for He is Beautiful). And these homemakers have done wonderful jobs of making beautiful homes.

Yet, at the same time, there is only so much a poor girl can take.

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Honesty.

 

I will be straight up honest and say that jealousy does lurk in my heart. I feel jealous, not for the homes per se (I love our derelict-doer-up-villa) nor the things in their homes; rather, I am jealous of the ability of these incredible women.

And I mean that, to me, they are incredible.

They do what I do each day. We cook, clean, mother, homeschool, wife, garden, mother culture – and probably heaps more (especially if they farmstead or work outside the home). But, in all honesty, they do it better.

That can be hard to swallow.

I want to be like them. I want that ability or skill or energy that enables these incredible women home-make like they do each day. Yet, for some reason, I have only little amounts of these to be able to achieve what I do each day.

 

How.

 

I think mostly, though, I don’t understand. I don’t understand me. These words in Psalm 40 resonate with me deeply in regards to my struggles with homemaking:

“But as for me, I am poor and needy; may the Lord think of me” (vs 17).

As much as I believe and love and try to create a home that looks like these dream pictures on social media, I just cannot do it. I get overwhelmed, or I burnout, or I stress at the children when they ruin my hard work, or I just don’t know how to do it and maintain my work.

And in my weakness, I wonder – why bother? I’m not going to be able to do that, so I wonder why I keep killing myself over those pictures.

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This is not my kitchen.

 

Upwards and Outwards.

 

Thankfully, Psalm 40 continues on for the poor and needy, like me:

“You are my help and my deliverer; You are my God, do not delay.”

When I am struggling and feeling like I cannot keep up, the Lord gently lifts my eyes upwards to Him, the very reason I do this anyway.

My flesh wants to serve myself in homemaking. I want to feel good about myself and the way I home-make. If I make it a day creating and working in our home that meets my standard, I feel good. But why? I have been serving myself. So, the next day when I can’t because the children are sick or I’ve used up all my energy the day before, then my self-worth plummets.

I need to check my heart about why I am trying to make our home a certain way. Who am I really working for? I know the answer by how the state of my home makes me feel about myself.

And this is why social media has such an effect on me: I make it all about me – what inspires me, what my things look like in a picture, and how my home compares.

 

True Homemaking.

But why am I a homemaker?

It is because God has made me one. I live in a house He has provided for me. I care for a husband whom He clefted me to. And I nurture two children who He brought to life through me.

Homemaking is about God and responding to what He has given me.

This post by Mystie was so encouraging to me today. And when I read the dictionary definition of homemaking, my heart smiled. The definition is this:

homemaking (v): the creation and management of a home, especially as a pleasant place to live in.

A pleasant place.

This was a word straight from the Lord to me, knowing how poor my heart has been feeling lately.

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Am I the best homemaker in the world? No.

Is my home perfectly curated? No.

Do I have all the Waldorf toys and Charlotte Mason posters? No.

But – and this makes all the difference – is our home a pleasant place to live in?

Yes, yes it is.

That is the standard God wants me to live up to. And it is so easily attainable, even for a poor and needy homemaker like myself. And, for you too, dear friend.

Let us put social media where it needs to stay and just seek to make our homes a pleasant place. It won’t be hard nor a yoke to serve the Lord and our family in this way.

Birdsong on the Bad Days (+ Printable)

So far, our family have been enjoying our lockdown life. I am surprised how happy the children are and that they don’t seem to be missing their friends. Of course, they have their moments, but there has been a settled spirit in them. I think our daily routine of lessons have helped this immensely, as well as having a general routine for each day. Oh, how precious routines are! I realise now the importance of them, more than ever before. And it is something I am pondering during this time, hoping to have a plan for when lockdown lifts, how to keep this precious routine going.

Yet, we had one particularly rough day this week. It was one of those days when one or two of the family just woke up on the wrong side of the bed, and it was a challenge to say the least. I spend much of the day in prayer, asking the Lord for help because I myself, was feeling particularly weak. I am so grateful that His power is made perfect in my weakness, and that I am free to give of myself, not counting the cost.

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One of the many steep streets we walked down (then up!)

It has been our routine to go for an hour’s walk from about 3pm each day. This day, however, I decided to take Josiah for a walk just on his own, knowing that he needed that special on-on-one time with Mama.

It was a glorious Autumn afternoon. The sun was warm, there was no wind, and the birds were out in their song. We were delighted to hear and see a native Tui which, usually, is found only in forests and bush. The new city we live in, Dunedin, has quite a lot of native bush within it, and so it is actually quite common for Tui to be seen. It was the first time in my life.

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Autumn colours everywhere.

As we walked down hill, through streets and bush, we chatted and discovered and listened. Both of us felt the peace of birdsong: these beautiful creatures that do what God made them to do – to be birds and sing for His glory. Their precious trust and simplicity always speak to me, and as we walked, I was just thankful for their audible praise.

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We saw the beautiful dark Tui with the white tuft.

The walk and birdsong restored our boy and he was much more settled afterward. Nature has always been, in particular, a balm to his soul. And on this day, it was the exact medicine he needed – as well as that special attention from his Mama.

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How hard and precious Motherhood is. It is crushing and stripping, but soul lifting and rich in joy. And there is something about the relationship between a mother and son that is unique and fragile. There is such a balance between closeness and space. I am so grateful this is all in His hands.

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A historic house of Dunedin.

The love of nature that my son has always reminds me of Wendell Berry’s poem which resonates with all who feel called into the wild. I have designed two printable pages for you of his poem ‘The Peace of Wild Things’ . I hope his words echo to you in this season as they have for many.

Click on the image to downloadwildthingsprintable1-page-001

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Lockdown: A Call Home

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Tonight, as of 11.59pm, all of New Zealand goes under lockdown. Our Prime Minister make the announcement on Monday in our bid to stop Coronavirus and protect the vulnerable people of our country. (In horrible irony/hypocrisy, this week our Parliament also voted to decriminalise abortion – but that is another complete post.)

After the initial sense of “oh my, a whole month”, I am now settling into the reality with relish. Obviously I am not happy for the reasons for being on lockdown, as an introvert and homebody, I am thrilled to have no outside pressures of “have to’s” demanding my attention and pulling the children and I out of the house.

We are allowed to go for walks around the neighbourhood, or go grocery shopping for essential supplies, but other than that, we must stay home.

This view will keep my soul still as we live in a still half-done house.

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In many ways, it is a call for an entire nation to simple living for a whole month. To step back out of the crazy busy world of 2020 living, and take a breather, and live the way (I believe), we are meant to. And I really pray that God uses this time to turn people’s hearts to Him and, for Christian families who have been caught in the current, draw them back to the peaceful waters of living a quiet life.

There is nothing more that I love is being home with my family, pottering around the house, and doing things I love like reading, writing, and growing in Jesus.

And I have two goals for this lockdown month: 1. Get in a good daily rhythm of learning with the children and; 2. Paint the stairwell and downstairs hall. (I haven’t done an update on the house in a while but will do so soon.)

I plan to finish reading Black Sheep by Georgette Heyer (a reread from many years ago). Have you ever read any of the novels by Georgette Heyer? They are so witty, delightful, and full of regency goodness.

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I also plan to start getting back into writing a novel. I have always desired to write about what it was like going from England to New Zealand as a colonist. There is a story in me but I am my own worst critic. Yet, through God’s grace, I will do it (eventually).

So I hope to enjoy and delight in this time and use it well for His glory.

How are you going to spend your lockdown?