Mark 4:19 (NIV) But the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.
Since getting married my husband and I have moved seven times. When we stayed in rental properties, I would dream about our own home and how I’d make it a beautiful place to create family memories, enjoy spending time in the evenings and weekends, and host family and friends. Once I heard someone talk about hosting the presence of God and so I intended for my home to be inviting for God too.
Fast forward to about 10 months of living in our own home and I realised I had little of what I’d dreamt of. I had spacious rooms with slightly off white walls, flowy curtains, and large windows letting in natural light. However even with our minimalist approach and post-decluttering, all that space very quickly got filled with essentials such as furniture, clothes, books, toys and a million little things always landing on my once empty and streak-free kitchen bench top (think pens, keys, mugs, unopened mail, magazines, broken toys, baby spoons and drink bottles...)
As a busy Mum of two I was finding it hard to make time for soaking in God’s presence. I bought devotionals recommended in various forums and I had my Bible handy but it didn’t create any more opportunities to meet with God or feel the presence of the Holy Spirit. That’s when it hit me: my dream for a peaceful and inviting space to create and enjoy, and host God’s presence, got choked by possessions taking up the space and distractions in the form of trying to keep on top of things.
Now, I love it that Jesus meets with us in the middle of our “mess”. It’s comforting to know that He can come into my kitchen full of dirty dishes and floors covered in spilled milk and bread crumbs, and just Be with me. I had to ask myself though “How is my home honouring God?”. I felt like the Holy Spirit didn’t have space to breathe in my house.
As a Life Coach, I often see my clients find inspiration and solutions when asked “Who has what you want”? Applying it to myself, I turned to Prov 31:27 “She watches over the affairs of her household”. Watches over. I felt like the word to me in that season was to clear and simplify our house so that there’s room and time for God.
Transforming these four areas freed up my mind and time:
1. creating functional spaces with few things carrying information noise, especially in the kitchen/dining which is a place where we all gather for most time
2. using vertical toy storage in containers and kid friendly book shelves
3. adopting cleaning routines (aka 15 min a day to a guest ready home)
4. organising To Do lists into a master list on an erase board on the inside of the pantry door.
Once there was space, I put and began to regularly rotate the Bible, prayer cards and devotionals (bonus - kids ask what these are when the new ones appear!). In the tidy and clutter free kitchen, I can make and share meals with the kids mindfully. A dedicated space for musical toys is inviting for the kids to praise and worship. In our bathroom I keep a wall calendar where I write my daily prayers for my husband most of which are said while I do my make-up. My current project is to have a “prayer wall“ - photos of the moments that signify miracles witnessed and prayer answered and of the people I pray for to be put on the inside of my wardrobe door.
I feel God’s presence is tangible in my home now. I hear His voice again. I freely sing songs of worship, and prayer flows easily. I believe it’s a combination of my heart’s desire, seeking God’s direction on which areas to transform and how to go about it, and pure faith that God’s word is true: “Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them” Exodus 25:8 (NIV).
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