At the Well - Maintaining Home Peace in Times of Chaos
Throughout the years I have learned and yearned that our homes should be considered places of refuge. There's so much going on out in the world around us. Maintaining a home of peace in times of chaos is not an easy task sometimes, but it's one we are called to do, nonetheless.
In describing the kind of wife King Solomon's mother wanted for him, she gave us the model of the Proverbs 31 woman. She wrote of a woman who was strong and wise.
She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. " ~ Proverbs 31:25-26 (NIV)
I believe there are great nuggets of wisdom to be gained from these verses regarding maintaining homes of peace.
The Hebrew word for strength is `oz. This noun means:
1) might, strength
a) material or physical
b) personal or social or political
Personal and physical strength will come in handy, reminding us to pray and to plant our feet firmly as we go into protective mode of those around us when chaos strikes.
The Hebrew word for dignity is hadar. It means:
1) ornament, splendour, honour
b) splendour, majesty
c) honour, glory
Dignity helps maintiain the sense of calmness that should be in our homes. Honor and majesty for our Father should be on our lips, ready to beesech God when times get tough.
The Hebrew word for laugh is sachaq. This verb means:
1) to laugh, play, mock
1) to laugh (usually in contempt or derision)
2) to sport, play
1) to make sport
2) to jest
3) to play (including instrumental music, singing, dancing)
c) (Hiphil) to laugh mockingly
Finding the humor in chaotic situations will go a long way to diffuse the snares the Enemy has for us. We can laugh off life's problems with our husbands and our children, knowing they have no power in respect to the grand scheme of things (our eternal lives).
The Proverbs 31 model woman was also wise. The Hebrew word for wisdom is chokmah. I love this feminine noun. It means:
a) skill (in war)
b) wisdom (in administration)
c) shrewdness, wisdom
d) wisdom, prudence (in religious affairs)
e) wisdom (ethical and religious)
When times of chaos hit, disrupting our orderly world, we can be wise in the way we handle everything, especially the situations mentioned above.
The Hebrew word for faithful, in regard to the words we speak, is checed. This noun means:
1) goodness, kindness, faithfulness
2) a reproach, shame
The words we speak during times of chaos do matter. They should be words of goodness, kindness and faithfulness. These are calming words and should be a balm to our husbands and children.
Time of chaos will come into our otherwise normal lives. In our household, chaotic times have mostly manifested themselves in the form of illnesses or medical emergencies. A sudden miscarriage here, the pending need for a hysterectomy there, a broken toe here, a planned surgery to fix a broken nose there, a major snafu where wrong medicines caused Tourette's to spiral out of control here, a lump requiring surgery there.
I look back on other times of chaos and see where financial strain or emotional insecurities or depression gripped our home and see how far the Lord has brought us. In all the storms that came, we could have handled them differently, but we did the best we could with what we had at the time.
Our nest is empty now, but when times of chaos hit, I try to implement the practices of the Proverbs 31 model woman. In the past, not so much. I have learned from my mistakes, though, and praise God He has brought us so far!
Life's storms will come sometimes when we least expect them, how do we give our children a "safe feeling" in the midst of a life storm?
One of the best ways we could keep Kristyn feeling safe when the storms hit was to maintain as much of a sense of normalcy as we could. During my surgeries Steve was at home with her as much as possible at night. On the first night where I required overnight help, she would go to my Momma's and she would get her to school, etc. Kristyn's mother was available alot and she helped tremendously, too. When Steve was hospitalized with Tourette's, this could have really rocked her world. It did to a degree because she was older; however, routine was our friend. We just did the next thing in our routine and didn't break it if at all possible.
Talking about the chaos is helpful, too. Children are very perceptive and it's been my experience that they don't miss a thing. Granted, Kristyn was 6 when we married, but I'd venture to say that even a 4 year old can understand some things on their level. Explaning what's going on, shielding them as much as you can if it's really bad, is helpful. Denial is not your friend in most cases. Including them on decisions, even if you don't take their advice, is helpful. It makes them feel like they matter and are significant. I would never pressure Kristyn to go see Steve at the hospital. If she wanted to, I would take her. If she didn't, I didn't make her feel guilty. At night I'd go into her room and chat with her about seemingly mundane things. Eventually we'd get around to how she felt about what was going on and those conversations were freeing. Reassurances given to her through the words I'd speak helped her alot, I like to think.
The main thing that helped was prayer. Talking to God about the chaos in your life always helps it seem less chaotic. Kristyn and I would keep up our morning devotions and prayer times before school. This helped tremendously.
Sometimes chaos is created by our own efforts of trying to do too much, how can we maintain a peaceful home where chaos is prevented?
Three words. Just Say No. We can get overextended so easily. Teach this class, coach this team, volunteer for this, visit them, join this committee, coordinate this event...Before you know it, you can meet yourself walking out the door. We can invite chaos into our homes when we take on too much. Maintaining a peaceful home has alot to do with wanting to maintain a peaceful home. Are you content? Are you happy with your husband and kiddos? If so, make them the center of your world, don't let everything else invade their space. If you're not content and you are unhappy, do some self-evaluation and figure out why. Meet with your pastor or a counselor and see what's up. Sometimes we need help.
There are times where chaos cannot be prevented. It's going to sneak in the back door and snuggle right up next to you before you even know it. Realizing that God is in control and preparing for those times by setting routines and extending love and time to your family will help tremendously when chaos strikes, though.
How can we as wives and mothers actually calm the storm?
Do we actually have that power? Yes! We can close the door to most of the chaos around us. We can kiss bo-bo's, we can hold our babies, or grandbabies in my case, we can take the phone off the hook (or set the cell phone to silent), we can let the doorbell ring and the cake burn if we have to.
There is so much we can do to just stop the chaos all around, but we have to do it. We have to be willing to risk being the bad guy, though. Sometimes those around us don't want the chaos to stop. They want to keep going at break neck speed and be a part of everything. As mothers and wives, it's our responsibility to make sure our children and husbands lack no good thing to the best of our ability. As long as their needs are met, we are not required to make them participate in every activity under the sun, leaving no home time, or when they are at home, making for very chaotic times.
We have to remind our children and our spouses and ourselves that order is a good thing.
Is there a storm of chaos raging in your life right now? Is it temporary or there for the long haul? In the midst of the storm, don't forget to do the simple things. Love, pray, breathe, talk.
Calming the storm of chaos restores peace to our homes. When you can't calm the storm, trust the One who can.
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." ~ John 14:27 (NIV)