Making Home a Refuge

Just one look at the news headlines or a quick scroll through Facebook will tell you this: the world we live in is a crazy place, and much of what is going on seems out of our control. As a mama, this can be overwhelming. There is a deep instinct in the heart of a mama and a wife to protect and shield her family. This is a beautiful thing, certainly. But the unfortunate reality is that no matter how hard we try, we can’t protect our families from everything and everyone. That realization is a weighty one, but there is hope! 

While we certainly cannot control everything, we can control some things and this includes the kind of home we create.

No matter what kind of day your husband has had, no matter what the mean kid on the playground said to your daughter, when they walk in the door of your home there is an opportunity for you to care for them. There is the ability to make the home your people live in a place of comfort and safety, no matter what is going on in the outside world. This is for every mom and homemaker, whether they work outside the home or within it. 

So how do we do this? How do we make our homes into a refuge from the hectic storms of life? Here are six tips to help you create a home your family can thrive in (mama included!):

1. Make cozy spaces

No matter what design style you prefer, try to create cozy and inviting spaces in your home. This can be as simple as lighting a few candles in the living room, having music on in the background, or having snuggly blankets kept handy. Making home a relaxing retreat is a great gift of love to your family. 

2. Spend 10-20 minutes each evening tidying up

While I fully support the concept that homes should look lived-in and loved-on, a totally chaotic house can feel stressful at times. Make it a goal to take a brief walk around the house once the kids are in bed and tidy up clutter on counters or shoes scattered around. This isn’t a keep-your-house-spotless mandate by any means; for me though, a semi-tidy house feels much more relaxing at the end of a day and keeps our home running smoothly. And hey, clean for 20 minutes and consider it your daily cardio workout! Way to go, you multitasker. 

3. Be welcoming

It can be so easy to get caught up with chores like folding laundry and cooking supper that we don’t take advantage of the brief moments where our people come back home. But pausing your task for a quick minute or two to put a smile on your face, give a quick hug, and tell your husband you’re so glad he’s home can be a beautiful show of hospitality and start out family time on the right foot. 

4. Realize that it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful

Every single woman I know has something about her house she wishes she could change. The countertops, the paint color, the layout, the décor, the list goes on. The reality is no one has the perfect home and that is ok! When I think back on the most welcoming homes I’ve been in, I rarely think about the expensive furniture or the fancy rug. What comes to mind is the way I felt cared for by the host, or the good conversations had while nestled in the corner of a well-loved couch. Be confident that no matter what décor you have, you have the ability to create a welcoming and inviting space.

5. Encourage creativity and communication

Make your house a place where it is ok to ask questions, make messes, and perhaps be a little wild and creative and curious. These parts of our kids’ personalities need a safe space to flourish and grow. Give them the gift of being a parent they can come to with hard things so that they learn some of life’s tougher things from you and not a playground friend. Also realize that messes can be cleaned up later; allow yourself to sit down in the middle of the mud puddle and ask what makes it such a compelling playground to your little one.

6. Know that you set the emotional tone in your home

If we’re having a crabby day and it shows, the rest of the family’s emotions will follow suit. Having a bad day? Take a quick time out (go for a walk, cook supper, or sit quietly in a room by yourself and gather your thoughts). Do whatever you need to do to process your feelings and reset your emotions so you can rejoin your family with a calmer, renewed frame of mind. If our heart and mind are not in the right place, home can easily be a stressful place. 

I hope these tips will help you feel encouraged to see the walls of your home as an avenue for love and grace to your family. Making our home a refuge is not about the amount of money we can spend, but the extent to which we will let ourselves and our living space be a reflection of the comfort and stability we want to provide for our family. 

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