The name, “The Restful Home,” actually arose from some DIY projects my husband and I were attempting. We were framing all our 70s builder’s grade mirrors (do it! It makes such a difference!) and I was drooling over pictures of other people’s homes and wondering if I could make MY house look like Better Homes and Magnolia Market had a baby. A baby that cost like twenty dollars. My hand-me-down couches were bothering me, and I started scouring the web for tutorials on reupholstering or slipcovering. (What? You can use painter’s canvas to cover a couch? Wait—that’s still at least $75 we don’t have in the budget!)
And then I started thinking about my purpose for all the web-scouring. Why do I want my house to look picture perfect? My pat answer was immediately, “So our house is more welcoming for guests!” Hospitality is important to David and me, and during seasons when he’s not traveling for work we have people over often. However, those people are perfectly happy to park on our ratty loveseat. So…maybe my desires had more to do with the Keeping-Up-With-the-Joneses mentality that always creeps into some area of our lives, whether it be exercising so we look like our buff neighbor or painting our little hearts out because our little boys’ friends all have cute bedrooms.
I stopped looking for slipcovers. Just for now. It still might happen when our budget is a little roomier, but I want my heart to be in the right place. I want to make my home a restful, welcoming place without making it impossible for my husband to save money or for us to support missionaries. I long to be a person who “refreshes others,” as Paul says about Philemon in one of his apostolic letters.
When I started thinking about this concept of a restful home, I began applying it to so many areas of my life. I love cooking—but I don’t need to consider a meal a disaster if all I can put on the table is a sandwich and mac-n-cheese from a box. (Especially when I’m pregnant and everything smells like used cat litter to me.) I want to create a welcoming, warm home my husband misses when he’s on the road—or, technically, in the sky, since he’s a pilot—without breaking the bank. I want to cut coupons and plant my own garden, but without falling apart when I can’t find something for under five bucks or when moles tunnel through all my soft dirt and plants.
When troubles come, I want to abide in Christ, the source of true rest. As I train my tiny son and pour out all my mommy hopes and goals on his little firstborn head, I want to relax if he still can’t walk or speak Mandarin Chinese. Hey, I can’t speak Chinese, either. (And, Little Buddy, I’m sorry for all the expectations. But at least your dad and I understand—we were both firstborns, and we were both homeschooled.) May I learn to distinguish the difference between busywork and what’s necessary.
I’m a worrier. It’s my greatest sin, as my husband graciously points out whenever I ask him how I can improve as a wife and a Christian. But Jesus can take that worry and enable me to find rest in Him in a very hectic world. One of my favorite verses in the Bible records Him turning around after rebuking the unrepentant and giving a gentle invitation to His listeners: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
My hope is to encourage others to join me in the pursuit of rest. In our hospitality, serving our husbands, training our children, ministering to our church, reaching out to our neighbors—in all these good and necessary things, may we keep first things first. May we take Jesus’ yoke upon us, because His yoke is easy, and His burden is much lighter than the ones we try to take on ourselves. May we create restful homes together, for the glory of Christ.