Weekly Contributor, Kim Brenneman of Large Family Logistics
The work that a home creates can become mundane and exhausting if our attitudes are not in tune with what the Lord has called us to do. We need to remember to not only care for our family and their dwelling place but we must also take care of ourselves. A physically rundown wife and mother does not have the energy to care for her home and family. Her home is one of disorder and dirt. It may not be that she is truly lazy but that she is simply worn out and does not possess the energy to move forward and do the next thing. She needs care.
At these times it would be nice to have a wife or mother for ourselves wouldn’t it? We as women must remember to take care of ourselves in order to do the work the Lord has called us to do. Along with good food and exercise, part of taking care of ourselves is creating a peaceful retreat within the home for us. We need rest, not necessarily sleep but a little bit of rest and relaxation.
The home is a retreat from the world for our families. Our role as nurturer of the family places our primary work in the home. We care for our husband and children in one way or another 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our homes are where our hearts are. Caring for children, cooking meals, cleaning rooms, and the never-ending pile of laundry keep us in constant motion.
We also spend energy taking care of the emotional and educational needs of our family. We as women need a retreat within the retreat.
We take a God-given delight in feathering our nests with color, art, handiwork, and furnishings that express our Christian values of home and family. Come along with me and add some extra soft touches to the nest. We’re going to work on the Master Bedroom and make it your special place! We’ll make it a place in the hills where you can be alone to pray. We’ll create a retreat from the world where you will want to spend time with your best friend–your husband.
“We’ll make it a place in the hills where you can be alone to pray.”
Close your eyes and think about what it looks like right now. Is it cluttered? Has it become a catch-all place? You need to find a different spot for all of the unnecessary and unsightly things. This is now the room where you get re-energized. It is the last place you see when you go to sleep at night and the first thing you see when you wake up in the morning. Let it be a place of rest and peace that will give you motivation for the coming day. Get your Goodwill box and a trash bag and do the de-cluttering.
Now, give it all a good cleaning. Take down the window coverings for cleaning. Then wash your windows and blinds. This will let in the light and show you where the dirt is hiding. It also changes the perspective of the room and will help you get some new ideas on what you want your retreat to look like. Finish doing the cleaning (cobwebs, dusting, and vacuuming) all the while thinking about what you need in a retreat.
When you’re done cleaning, make a list of all the cleaning chores and divide it into daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly. Slide this paper into a sheet protector and post it on your door to remind you until you have it memorized and can do it without thinking. Make yourself some rules, i.e. only ten things allowed on your bedside table, including reading glasses, drink, book, Bible, etc. Maintain this one place in the house to be pretty and peaceful and it will be a bright spot in your home and life. This refuge will keep your being more healthy and energized for the rest of the work.
Give thought to these words while you seek out ideas to implement:
Think about the purposes of the master bedroom and write down decorating ideas. Ask yourself how to create privacy, ease, convenience, and beauty in your master bedroom. This has to suit you and your husband so think about your favorite things, what favorite objects do you want to surround yourself with?
Make a list of things that define you and your husband. For example, I love quilts. I love the connection they have with the past. I love the art and handiwork of them. I also love flowers, the color pink (I use it as an accent), writing paper-journals, the sun, lace, dark chocolate, books, and the list goes on. Think about what defines you and use those things to surround yourself with in your retreat. These things are part of your God-given personality, and they typically are things that God has blessed us with at some point in life that taught us to appreciate some wonder of his creation. Express yourself and your marriage, with these definitions, in your retreat.
What about your bedroom do you dislike? Fix it ASAP. Anything that grates on you will be the antithesis of retreat. Maybe it’s an eyesore that simply needs to be hidden. If it can’t be hidden, then put it behind you by moving the bed or your reading chair. Move things so that the eyesore will be out your line of sight.
Create ease in your room by moving the furniture to create flow. You do not want to bang your shin on the same thing every night when you get up to feed the baby. Create ease by adding cushioned seating, pillows, or a soft rug by the bed.
Move the chair that you use as a clothes rack to force a new habit of putting clothes away. Write down on your list of daily bedroom chores to put clothes where they belong.
Create ease for eyes and mood by painting the walls blue or green. Both are colors that have been shown to promote relaxation. Think of all the blues of the sky and the sea. Nearly all the plants of the field are some variant of green, and you’ll see that God used them predominately when he created the earth. When we stand still and behold the beautiful outdoors we are overcome with the splendor of it. We find rest in our souls when we rest our eyes on God’s artwork. Bring some of that inside by choosing colors that bring in a peaceful mood. You can find a myriad of blues and greens at the paint store. From dark to light, warm and cool, there will be a blue or green that expresses you and your idea of tranquility. When you bring ease to your retreat, as soon as you walk in the door your body will say, “Ahhhh” and you will relax.
Make your room convenient by having bedside tables with reading lights, paper, pen, and the Bible. Keep tissue and a wastebasket handy if you’re allergy-prone.
Use good light blocking blinds; dark rooms promote deeper, more restful sleep.
If you like to write or do some sort of handiwork, then create a place for that in your bedroom. For some people that might be bringing work into the bedroom and for others it’s bringing a restful activity that promotes a quiet spirit. Be sure to put a good light in the task area.
Put a CD player in your Master Bedroom to play peaceful music or whatever suits the mood of you and your beloved.
To make my room more convenient I have an old sofa draped with quilts that I use when nursing the baby, reading, and when we have a sick or scared child at night (with nine children, there is a limit to who fits in the bed). I also have a soft light if I need it at night.
Put your bedroom lamps on a timer to turn off when you need to sleep and come on with your alarm clock in the morning. This one convenience has improved my sleep routines immensely.
Add beauty with art, pictures of you and your husband, fresh flowers, or other expressions of who you are and the things that you enjoy. Try to create a harmony of favorite things expressing all of the senses. What fabrics do you like to feel? What do you like under your feet? What do you want to wrap up in while you sit and peruse a new magazine? When you want a peaceful setting what do you want to hear? Guitar music, ocean waves, the breeze in the trees outside, or silence? What do you want to smell? A favorite flower, a mug of hot chocolate, the night air drifting in? What do you want to see? Blank walls, art, photography, wallpaper? Lots of drapes and luscious fabric or simple, straight lines? Dark or light? Warm or cool? Simple, elaborate, or somewhere in between? Think about these things. Get some magazines and books from the library or visit Pinterest.com to collect ideas. Don’t copy a photo of someone else’s idea of beauty. What my Master Bedroom looks like will not be the same as yours. It should be an expression of who you are and what you have available to use. Spend time in thought, with pen in hand. What is beautiful to you and why? Do what defines who you are and your needs for a restful retreat. What are the simplest things that give pleasure and rest for your soul? Bring these pieces of beauty into your master bedroom.
Put things in your Master Bedroom that express who you are as a union with your beloved. Include photographs and mementos that reflect your history together. Create ambiance through soft lamps or candles for your evenings together.
Embrace your femininity and dress that way in your bedroom. Throw out the old T-shirts and boxer-shorts, this is not a college dorm room. Throw out the ratty bathrobe and tattered gown of yesteryear. This is your master bedroom–the place where the heart of the family finds a restful haven. It is the heartbeat of the castle. Wear what enhances the romance and makes you feel like the queen. Create it to be a place of honor to your marriage.
The mandrakes give forth fragrance, and beside our doors are all choice fruits, new as well as old, which I have laid up for you, O my beloved.
Song of Solomon 7:13 ESV
It is natural how God created females to feather their nests. Every mother in nature does it. We were born to nurture our families and part of this is by creating beauty in our homes.
When the stress of constantly being needed by your family weighs heavy on you, go to your nest within the nest and spend time with the Lord of all. Take your cares to Him. Slipping away for a break in the day to read the Word, quiet your thoughts, and pray in your retreat surrounded by your favorite things will inspire you for the rest of the day. Prayer and rest bring healing to our innermost beings. We need this to remain healthy Christian women. Jesus gives rest to the weary. Go and create a haven of rest. Make it a place where you meet your Helper who enables you to be a helper to your husband.
And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. Matthew 14:23, ESV
Kim is the joyful wife of Matt and the blessed mother of nine children.
When not busy homeschooling and farmschooling, she enjoys writing, gardening, cooking, reading, sewing, and crafting.
Kim lives on a farm in Iowa where her family grows beef cattle, corn and beans, and operates a micro-dairy selling cheese at farmer’s markets. She loves to write and speak about her passion for home and family. She is the author of Large Family Logistics: The Art and Science of Managing the Large Family. She blogs about the same subject at:
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