“My life feels so small.”
As the evening sun filtered over the summit of dishes rising precariously above the sink rim, my heart fell. I needed to clean again so I could cook dinner again, and clean again after that. Shoving the dishes aside, I hand-washed some forks and cooked something uninspiring for dinner. I sighed, “I am Sisyphus and this kitchen, this house, is my boulder.”
Do you remember the story of Sisyphus? He’s the mortal who scorned the mythological gods and was condemned to an eternity of rolling a heavy boulder up a hill, only for it to roll back down again. He was the futile laborer of the underworld. That’s how I felt. In my kitchen I’d start heaving a cumbersome list of to-do’s up a hill, trying to close the gap between me and “good enough” only for it to all roll back down. Guilty and frustrated, I tried not to believe my work was beneath the world “out there”, where people in adorable wedges are flipping their gorgeous salon hair and clutching expensive handbags during fascinating adult conversations. I knew I was missing something, but I didn’t know what it was.
“No ambrosia on Mount Olympus for Mindy. No ministry or platform for me. I’m a homemaker. My sphere of influence is small. Make a difference? Maybe I do that at work or church, but here I make dinners and beds. …Wait, when was the last time I made a bed? I know my presence here matters for my kids, but right now, I hate this sink.”
Can you relate?
Oh women of God, do you find an echo of these thoughts in your own hearts as you face this day? When you come home from errands or your job, do you ever feel like what greets you behind your front door is a boulder waiting to be rolled uphill yet again? Do you feel conflicted about scriptures like the ones in Proverbs 31 and Titus 2, which instruct women to prioritize home and family, because that life feels so, well, small?
I was certain I’d never be an apron-wearing, noodle-making, housewife. I have a heart full of passion. I have talents and interests. I have a deep longing to grow in holiness and for the world to know the staggering beauty of the gospel.
I want, more than anything, to adorn the gospel of grace well in my life, that the world might see how good God is to sinners like me. How could keeping a tidy house, playing with my kids, honoring my husband, and standing over a stove possibly be the outlet for all that’s in my heart? Why would God give me such passion, and then call me to focus on my home and family? Surely, there has been some mistake.
On hating-the-sink day I knew it mattered how I trained up my kids, and that I was supposed to let my husband lead, striving to meet his expectations, but I had no concept of the bigger picture.
I missed the point of Christian homemaking.
I wasn’t even close, and it blinded me to the primary vehicle I am given for imaging and glorifying God: my gender. Yes, gender. My femaleness. Consider these sections of Genesis 1:26-31 ESV;
“‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness’…So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. …And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.”
When God described our image-bearing, he specifically highlights our maleness and femaleness. He didn’t say, “language users and worshipers he created them” or “moral beings capable of reason he created them” or any of the other aspects of human nature reflective of our Creator.
God created women and men equal. We are given different roles in marriage, the family, and church because God chooses to embody his image differently in the roles he assigns to men and women. He declared this to be “very good”. All throughout scripture instructs half of his image on the earth, women, to focus on embracing and nurturing life, helping and respecting their husbands, loving and training children, and working in their homes. In doing so, God has decisively declared that marriage, family and home are tremendously valuable and important.
If half of his image bearers are supposed to be focused on this, then it is obviously of critical importance. God’s design for women doesn’t diminish us, rather, it dramatically elevates the importance of home, marriage, and family. We are offended or uninspired by this only when we do not agree with him about the value of what he has commanded us to prioritize.
The point of homemaking isn’t clean sinks, or submission, or brag-worthy decor.
The point of Christian homemaking is to display God’s heart
toward marriage, family, and home,
for the praise of his goodness
and the advancement of his Kingdom.
Understanding this makes my sink look a lot different today. It changes everything.
I didn’t learn to love dishes, cleaning schedules, or efficiency (hahahaaa) and then decide that homemaking matters.
I saw how much my Father loved homemaking, and then prayed for him to teach me to love it too. I have such a long way to go friends, but I really am starting to learn.
I hope you’ll join me and we can learn to love it together.
May your aprons and bibles both be well-worn,
The Remedial Homemaker