Think about it – you’ve been there – a friend’s house where you were enjoying the sharing and fellowship. You made wonderful memories and friendships were strengthened. You remembered it fondly as a great family time and treasured those memories as the relationship grew.
Then one day as you spoke to your friend she confessed to you how embarrassed she had been when you came over for the first time because her house was so messy. When a friend said this to me, I truthfully told her that I had never even noticed the mess – because I hadn’t. It was a spontaneous get-together that had been the beginning of a wonderful friendship for our whole families.
As mothers we need to teach our daughters to keep house, but not to let that part of our lives prevent us from being spontaneous when it comes to hospitality. By this I mean that we train our hearts and theirs to lean toward being welcoming rather than feeling the need to be entertaining.
I tend to think of hospitality as rather low-key chats over coffee or hot dogs on the grill with another family. Entertaining seems to have more a feeling of putting on a show. As Christian homemakers we should make it our goal to be able to be hospitable at almost any time and to relegate entertaining to those times when it is needful for us to do something more formal. Of course, that doesn’t mean that being hospitable can’t involve a nice table setting, etc.
Let me explain. There is clean dirt and dirty dirt.
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Clean dirt comes from the natural messiness of really living in our homes. Toys get taken out, meals are made, dust happens – I’m not sure where all the dust comes from, but it seems to continually reappear as soon as I finish dusting.
Our daughters will learn by the example we set as we welcome visitors to our home graciously even in the daily messiness. Children are great imitators and will easily follow our lead in these things.
We do try to keep our entry neat so that their first impression is one of order, which causes people to expect to see order in the rest of the house—and we often see what we expect to see. Messiness and imperfection in other areas are less noticeable once that first impression is set. This is an old thought left over from my days of selling real estate.
Dirty dirt comes from neglecting our responsibilities as homemakers. When we allow dishes to stack up for several days, fail to keep up with the laundry, rarely expect our children to clean up their toys, and never look to organize our homes in a workable way. Once again, let me remind you, our daughters are quick to learn from our example.
One of our children once asked me, “Whoever told you clean was right?”
I explained to her that our God is a God of order, not chaos. We never wake up to find that He misplaced the sun and can’t find it. We are to be imitators of Him and grow more and more like Him every day. That is why we turn our hearts toward Him each morning and ask Him to help us follow His example of orderliness rather than give in to our sinful nature of chaos.
Orderly homes promote our ability to reflect Christ’s love by showing hospitality. With a little planning you can free yourself to respond to whoever stops by in a loving way, even if your home isn’t perfect. This example of hospitality will go a long way toward training your daughters to be hospitable wives in the future.
I would urge you to consider what small, manageable changes you can make to your daily maintenance to better show Christ’s love to whoever enters your door.
Proverbs 31:27-28 “She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.”
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