ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING, Aurora Leigh
I found this quote by Elizabeth Barrett Browning and remembered a book I had read by Donna Otto entitled Finding Your Purpose as a Mom. The whole premise of her book is that we should take of our shoes because our homes are holy ground. Holy Ground? I’d never thought of it that way; but when you begin to think in terms of your home as Holy Ground it takes on whole new meaning and importance.
“Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground” (Exodus 3:5). When God told Moses to take off his shoes, He was emphasizing the importance of showing respect and humility in sacred places. And letting him know He had significant work for Moses to accomplish. Donna believes these words run parallel with women today.
I believe the Lord is speaking a similar word to women today who have the joy and responsibility of tending a home and caring for a family. Take off your shoes, he is saying. The place where you are cooking, cleaning, and raising the next generation is indeed holy ground because you are mine, and your home is part of my plan for changing the world.
Regardless of who you are, whether you’ve made the choice to be a stay-at-home mom or work outside the home, whether you are married or single, whether your house is a double-wide in a desert or a mansion on a hillside…I believe this word is for you. Your home really is holy ground because it’s a place where God has chosen to live and do His work–Donna Otto.
Our homes and families is God’s vehicle for furthering the Kingdom of God. Be encouraged, what may seem mundane, ordinary is a whole lot more in God’s economy.
From the very beginning, God has made it clear: Home is holy ground. Your home is holy ground. And it’s your privilege and your responsibility, even amid the messes and confusion of daily life, not only to take off your shoes, but tend the holy flame. As a human being in whom God’s Spirit dwells, you have that privilege. As a woman and as a mother, you have a special set of gifts and responsibilities. You are called to create and maintain a home environment and atmosphere that reflects God’s love, God’s hope, God’s peace–quite literally, to build your home on holy ground–Donna Otto.
Donna believes we must be intentional about the work we are doing within our homes. We cannot just assume, that it will all just happen, without any thought or planning on our part.
Intentional thinking is important because I think much of our culture has fallen into the assumption that home will just take care of itself. Women use to know better, but I find that many women today are completely unaware that shaping a nurturing home environment, like any other important endeavor, takes planning, purpose, organization, and time. If we want our homes to be warm and welcoming and to be successful at raising saints for the King, we need to arrange for that to happen. We need to do it on purpose–Donna Otto.
Donna also believes we are going to have to start thinking counterculturally if we are going to be successful in our endeavors.
And I think that countercultural thinking is absolutely crucial because our current American culture tends to be absolutely clueless and perverse in the way it views home life and motherhood. We live in a society that features entire cable channels about “house beautiful,” whetting our appetites for homemade bread (with homegrown herbs!) and crisp, fragrant hand-embroidered sheets–yet seems to assume we can do it all in just a few hours in the evenings after a hard day at the office. It’s a culture that assumes a home can be broken up at will, regardless of the consequences, and that everybody will “adjust” just fine. It’s a culture that glorifies “nurturing children”…and deeply distrusts people who choose to make nurturing their entire career.
As followers of Christ, no matter what our specific circumstances or our personal decisions, I believe we need to take a stand against this schizophrenic culture that both idolizes and devalues home life. We need to move beyond house beautiful and house status and house drudgery into the heavenly reality of house holy.
Take off your shoes, because your home can be a gift of safety and comfort and freedom for you and your family. Because something sacred can happen there–in fact, it’s supposed to happen there. Your precious Savior wants to use your life and your work and your role as a mom to change the world–Donna Otto.
All text written in green type comes from Donna Otto’s book Finding Your Purpose as a Mom. I highly recommend this book, I enjoyed it immensely.
Take off your shoes!
Count blessings, Kasey