A Happy Home Starts With a Healthy Me (Part One)

When I first started this blog in 2013, I knew that I wanted to utilize the word “Headquarters,” because let’s face it, it’s punny. And funny. So I guess that would be pfunny? And we have always called our home our Headquarters.

Being a bit Type A, I knew I needed to use an H-word to go along with it. (Remember how all of my kids’ names start with E’s?) ‘Humble’ sounded too religious. ‘Honest’ didn’t provide the alliteration I was hoping for. ‘Hilarious’ set this blog up for disappointing the readers, since many times it’s serious. ‘Homey’ sounded a bit “urban.” So I settled with the word Happy. And I love Happy because I love cheeriness, and frankly, when I think of our home, I want it to evoke (not invoke, for all your grammar nerds) feelings of happiness.

I realize that choosing this title was risky. Being a very transparent person, I never want others to think that this blog was written by someone who has it all together, someone who is happy all the time, or someone who runs her household gracefully with ease. Because, as you may have been able to tell from many posts by this point, I do not have it all together. I am not happy all the time. And somedays I feel like my household is running over me rather than me running it with ease.

So instead of viewing the word “happy” as a current state or a goal achieved in my homemaking, I prefer to view it as more of the journey and process on which God has me to bring happiness into my home. I love how God speaks to our future self. Our complete self. He tells us who we are based on how we will be when we are whole. And that is the same thing I want to do with Our Happy Headquarters. To speak to that future state of home, the complete state, the place that gives life to all who enter. The place that gives rest to the weary traveler. The place that provides safety for my husband and children to dream. The place where memories are made and lives are changed.

So what is the secret to cultivating a happy home? Is it the paint colors we choose? The décor style with which we go? Celebrating numerous traditions? Choosing to guard what we watch or listen to in our home? Doing morning devotionals together? While all of these factors are important in having a happy home, I believe that having a healthy home starts with being a healthy me.

I was at a teaching at church several years ago, and the teacher said “The woman is the thermostat of the home.” The woman is the one who sets the tone. The one who creates the atmosphere. You’ve heard it said before, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” Why is that? Why is it that the house can be absolutely beautiful, but when the woman of the home is bitter or downtrodden the life is sucked out of it?

For years, I have done my best to make memories with our family. We have done adorable Advent calendars at Christmas time. Picnics in our grass. We have slow-danced in the kitchen. We have hosted game nights. We have decorated and created, giggled and tickled. We have cried together. We have sought God together. We have lit yummy candles and cooked scrumptious feasts. But over these last 7 ½ years, I have still struggled with having a happy home. And I believe that is because MY personal headquarters, my head, my heart, my temple have not been healthy at times.

For a long time I have neglected my own personal healing. I have wounds and hurts that are still very real to this day, and I keep thinking that with time, they will heal. So I sweep them under the rug, and I fill my calendar with busyness. Then, I start to slow down, and the hurts come back to the surface, so I fill my plate with more busyness. But the hurts DON’T just go away. If you keep sweeping your hurts under the proverbial rug, eventually you are going to trip.

I can humbly write about this because I know that you, sweet reader, also live on Planet Earth, and that you also have pain and wounds and hurts that need tending to. Admitting that you have weaknesses and pains does not place you in a “lesser than” category of Christianity. But it’s a great place to start to find healing that your soul needs.

I am currently on a journey of healing. And honestly, I think that our lives will constantly be filled with new areas in which we need to find healing. We are a broken people, and if our broken places are not mended, we will not be able to thrive. But in order to be mended, one must first GET STILL. Have you ever tried to put a Band-Aid on a kid that was running or wiggling around? God cannot bring healing to the tender pains of your life if you continue to binge on busyness. To distract yourself with to-do lists. To fill all your down time with chores. Yes, the first step to being the healthiest version of me is to BE STILL, and let God bring healing to the hurting places.

This whole “being still” thing is not just a cute phrase for wall art. It’s not just some sort of Christian mantra. It’s a choice that must be made daily so that you are able to be the healthiest version of you as you can. Busyness has become a bad habit for me, and I am asking for grace each and every day to break this habit. This has not been easy, but here are a few things I am doing to still myself:

1.     Lay down things that do not need to be priority at this time in my life. You saw in my latest post that this meant saying goodbye to our Boutique. It was so tempting after closing it down to think up some other grand adventure to start, but God wants me to use my free time to be still.

2.     Utilize free time wisely. Rather than checking my Facebook feed or reorganizing a closet, I have been brewing myself some tea, sitting in a comfy chair, and pulling out my journal. In those moments I write what the Lord is speaking. I also asked Trice to take all social media and internet off of my phone. I needed the distractions out of my pocket. How many of us have ever almost dropped our phones in the toilet? My point is that we can't even use the restroom without filling our minds with more information! This has been such a game-changer for me!

3.     Take time to process my feelings. Grieve when it’s time to grieve. Motherhood alone is full of grief. The daily grief of saying goodbye to your babies and hello to little responsible humans. The grief of picking up your child for the last time. The grief of having your last baby and knowing that your womb will never be full again. I believe that you can’t be healthy if you don’t grieve all of these precious losses. I’m allowing myself to feel again. Getting quiet and still has given me permission to cry when I need to cry. To actually feel sadness instead of brushing it off. And I think it is totally healthy to feel each and every emotion and process that emotion.

4.     Strategically place little nuggets of life through my home. I set a mama’s devotional book on a coffee table. I have placed Scriptures in places that are well-visited. I have made it a point to look at or create something beautiful each day. To notice the sunset, the color of the grass, the smell of the rain. To allow my senses to sense once again.

5.     Seek outside help. Trice and I have sought out mentors, friends and counselors all throughout our marriage. There is nothing wrong with this. This doesn’t make us weak. Sometimes when you get really still, the Lord will bring to mind places that need healing. And sometimes it’s just too much to process on your own. I started seeing a counselor in March, and it has been life changing. I am so thankful for my counselor!

Once you have a healthy mind, you will be better able to care for your homes and families and give them life. It is so easy to let our homes become a giant, never-ending, life-sucking to-do list, but in reality, our homes must be a sanctuary. And if we as homemakers aren’t stilled and at peace, then neither can our houses be a peaceful sanctuary.

So what about you? Do you have areas that need healing? Are you binging on busyness so as to not feel the pain of past wounds? Do you need to get still? How can you slow down today? The Lord is patiently waiting for you to be still enough for Him to tend to your soul. I am so thankful for His prompting to slow down this year!