What Pinterest Won’t Tell You About Making a Home

Making a Home

This week we continue our Women Living Well series with a focus on finding joy in your home. 

The cookie jar is empty.

The laundry, piled six loads high on the dryer and the boys won’t sit through homeschool. I didn’t sleep well last night and I haven’t had my coffee and all I can think about is needing to make those cookies. Because what kind of mother doesn’t have cookies in her cookie jar?

I am constantly failing Pinterest’s Martha Stewart standards. I don’t have a chalkboard with tonight’s menu on it — goodness, I don’t even have meat thawing, and it’s day-old Chinese for lunch. Again.

I’m rushing the boys, yelling, taking my pent-up mother-guilt on them, forgetting, as Courtney Joseph tells me in her beautiful book, Women Living Well, that home is not a casserole or color-coded towels or clean toilets.

Home is mommy’s arms, is Daddy wrestling with his sons on the floor, is a stack of board books piled precarious on the coffee table because your two-year-old is addicted to building towers.

“God does not base your worthiness of His love on the cleanliness of your home,” Joseph writes. “But I want to encourage you, do not grow weary in your mundane tasks. Mundane tasks are the hidden treasure to creating a home that is a haven.”

In the pages of her bestselling book, Joseph gives me a hug, tells me I can breathe—that first of all, it’s good to be a stay-at-home mom, and second of all, I don’t have to be a great housewife in order to make a home. It’s not about my casseroles or my manicured lawns, says Joseph; it’s about my state of heart, and unless I am filled with peace and joy, my home will feel distant and cold.

“The woman of the home is content,” Joseph writes. “She knows that no home, husband, child, church or neighborhood is perfect. So she chooses to be content with what God has given her for today.”

Home is sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor and pulling your boys to you with tears in your eyes and begging them to forgive you for getting stressed out over an empty cookie jar.

Because your life is beautifully full.

And you sit there for a while, a tangle of arms and hearts.

It’s taken me 33 years to find this place with the broken doorbell and the dirty door mat. I traveled the globe searching for it. Because we’re all, deep down, searching for our Father’s house—our eternal dwelling.

Home is a place for the broken to break bread. And in my traveling I learned the comfort of a cooked meal, of a welcome mat at the door, of family’s open arms, and when my Mum got sick with brain cancer I returned to take care of her and found God at her bedside. In the eyes of a woman who homeschooled me, who baked bread every week, who made home for me.

My life is not Pinnable. It’s messy, with peanut-butter fingerprints and toy cars and runny noses. And you know what? To me, it’s perfect.

As Joseph writes, “Being a devoted homemaker is hard work. The daily grind … (is) exhausting. God sees you. He knows your babies are sick today, your dryer broke, or your husband just lost his job. Do not be discouraged and downcast… Your work is significant!”

Because in the end, it’s the family that makes the picture, not the frame.


Emily T. Weirenga


Emily T. Wierenga is an award-winning journalist, blogger, commissioned artist and columnist, as well as the author of five books including the newly-released memoir Atlas Girl: Finding Home in the Last Place I Thought to Look (Baker Books). She lives in Alberta, Canada with her husband and two sons. For more info, please visit www.emilywierenga.com. Find her on Twitter or Facebook.







  • Lorrie

    Thanks for the well-worded reminder! I REALLY needed to read this one-God is so good and faithful to bring encouragement through awesome ladies like you!

  • Belinda

    Such a freedom when we give ourselves grace to be “real”!! And needed even more so (in some ways), for moms who are forced by finances to go out to work …the guilt can eat you alive if you let it! I think we need to remind ourselves that not only is our work in the home significant, but WE are significant <3

  • Angela

    Sitting in the doctors office while reading this…and started to cry…people must think I’m nuts! But I cried bc there is such truth to this.

  • Buife

    Did I write this? My life is so not pinnable! It doesn’t appear all cheesed up and shiny, well-polished; but it’s my life, it’s my home; and God is in it!
    All messed up and so not pinterest-worthy, God dwells within it. And that’s the beauty in it…the real beauty of it.

    Thank you Emily for writing from your heart. God bless you.

  • Rosy

    mi idioma español , y este mensaje es de mucha bendiones para todas las mujeres del mundo
    gracias por todos ellos, Dios bendiciendo tu vida.

  • Courtney

    First of all thank you for reminding me that I needed to thaw some chicken. I understand this and right now all I have to care for is my fiance, 2 goat’s, a dog, and a cat. I spend every day doing chores. The house we live in is falling down around us. So I am constantly doing things to improve it. My fiance got a little upset with me because I offered to mow the yard. His comment was you already do to much let me do something. I told him I get that but you work 6 days a week and Sunday is the one day I get with you and I would rather mow and have you to myself. I am also taking online classes and working on a memoir about being molested. My feeble attempt to save someone else. One of my hobbies is painting wooden objects I haven’t done that in about a month being focused on keeping us and the animals fed plus cleaning I have not considered painting. I might also add that I have lung problems and very easily get infections. This weekend I wasn’t feeling well and for the first time in months he was home all weekend (thank you rain) so he wouldn’t let me do anything. Of course it shows that I took time to myself. Anyways my point is I get that we have to stop trying to be super heroes and let help come when needed even if all that is is a nap. We also need to enjoy ourselves as well to keep from building stress. We have 2 tables that need revarnished and he suggested I do it for fun but also in the end I’m not feeling like I am discarding my duties of keeping house.

  • Lindsay

    I’m so grateful for this post! I’m at the library right now and I’m in tears! I can relate to the lady at the doctors office. …lol! I tend to be a perfectionist and really hard on myself. This post reminds what’s really important and what really matters. Keeping Jesus front and center helps keep my heart in line and that makes my home full of love – and that’s what really counts; ) I hope my 6th year old daughter and 5 year old son feel extra loved today. Thanks for sharing Emily- this post was so relatable and refreshing:)

  • Chris Carroll

    The point is not to “beat” ourselves over some percieved ideal of a neatfreak house. Regardless of whether we have kids, 2 income (no kids.. did someone mention cookies? lol ) or single mum/dad family, it is the journey not the destination that is the important part. We all have crosses to bear and that is why we rely on God to give us doses of much needed sanity… regardless if it originates at home or work! 🙂

  • Jennifer Godfrey

    Thank you so much! I really needed this. I love love looking at pintrest but there are times I find myself getting drug down because I’m not living up to those “standard”. I’m a newer stay at home mom of 3. I love it but sometimes I feel I’m failing my kids because I’m not crafty, or plan out every thing I should. I forget things….a lot…. But they are loved beyond words. This reminded me…not everyone is “pintrest” prefect. 🙂 thank you

  • Christina

    As, I sit here reading this my home is finally quite. Tears roll down my cheeks because the enemy makes me feel useless as a stay at home mom, but to my surprise God does it again. He uses something/someone to remind me of how important my job is!!! Glory to him and blessings to the one who wrote her heart out<3

  • Veronica

    Wow this is soo encouraging! !! Iam a stay at home mom and have four little one and one is fixing to start school so i know exactly how it feels. 🙂 “It’s not about my casseroles or my manicured lawns, says Joseph; it’s about my state of heart, and unless I am filled with peace and joy, my home will feel distant and cold.” And this worda juat hit home in my heart!! That right ut not about how the house looks of course it has to get cleanand cook dinner etc. But it goes more beyond that out attitudes towards our family. Thanks guys i needed to hear this today. May God bless you guys!! 🙂

  • Layla

    “Home is a place for the broken to break bread”. That is just beautiful. I’m going to paint this on a canvas. Your story is lovely and painful and full of hope and determination.

  • Jillie

    Emily, I loved this! I am about the strongest advocate for stay-at-home Mums that I know of, having done it myself. You took me back to those days of peanut-butter fingerprints, spilled milk, artwork on the wall. Not to mention the runny noses and no cookies in the jar. It took me many years to let go of the Martha Stewart image, but when I finally did, I found such freedom with my kids and my toy-strewn house. I learned to love and savour the moments, spending time with them, doing what they wanted to do. I think I’ve produced at least one free-spirit, although my son, first-born, is a little serious, a lot perfectionist. ‘They’ say we make all our mistakes on the first child, and I did make a few, but I wouldn’t trade being here for my little ones, for all the gold in the world! Motherhood is still, and always will be, the highest calling in the world. Bravo for this brave post!

  • Mary

    Thank you so much for this. My husband and I recently moved to a townhouse in an area that is perfect for us. I have had it in my head that the paint & decor need to be perfect, too. But lately I look around and I don’t see that my efforts have not turned out perfect at all. After reading your essay, I think it is because I have been fretting over the house and how it appears to others instead of making this house our home.

  • Lynn Mosher

    Emily, this was beautiful! As always! Home is in the hearts of its dwellers. Home is not the furnishings. Loved this! Thank you, Darlene, for having Emily as your guest. Blessings to you both!