Our busy world is flying by faster than we can change out of our floppy PJs most days. Beyond the main street chaos, there are countless women who stay at home by choice or by necessity: behind closed doors while the family is out, the husband is at work, the children are at school, or if you’re like me, dealing with a chronic illness. If you’re one of these women, it can be a huge blessing to have the ability to stay in the home. Sometimes, it can also feel like a burden as we watch the world fly by outside of our windows, wishing we could join in.
Our culture places enormous worth in what we do. Jesus values our actions too. The difference is, he measures our accomplishments by a heavenly standard, rather than the money in the bank, our closetful of adorable business attire, the adventures displayed so artfully in the photo albums we share over group texts, or how many exciting places we “check in” on Facebook.
God has called each of us for a divine purpose. It’s not always convenient or easy staying home in a fast-paced world, but we can still do work for his kingdom from our living room. Here are five ways I’ve learned to serve God as a homebound woman.
Choose to see your quiet time as a gift, rather than a heavy silence. Make a daily choice not to fill all of your time with empty noise. Try using the minutes to communicate with your Maker, who longs for our hearts to open up in genuine conversation. Ask him to open your eyes to the day's potential, and to use you and your time and individual talents in a way that will be pleasing to him, no matter how limited you think you are. Psalm 145:18 says, “The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” Daily seek to be near to Jesus so he can work in your home.
Though most people’s phones are glued to their hands these days, so many of the words we convey to each other are sent through a quick text message. An encouraging text is a wonderful way to remind someone you care, but set aside a few minutes to have a fluid conversation where you can hear the tone of your contact’s voice. Where you can sense and be sensitive to their moods. Where there is room for sniffles and real laughter that sounds far more beautiful than “LOL.” A voice makes a person feel more connected than black letters on a white screen. Take some time to call the ones in your life and re-establish connections lost. Ask the people in your life how you can pray for them today.
If they don’t answer? Surprise them by leaving a prayer for them as their voicemail. This happened to me once, and I later sat listening to it in stunned silence, brought to tears by a woman I hadn’t spoken to in months leaving me three minutes of gentle encouragement. Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Give yourself the opportunity to encourage and be encouraged.
Pull out the pen and paper or open up that email, because 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says, “So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” Take special note of that: Just as you are already doing. Let your encouragement be continuous. Weekly. Daily.
Write to the people in your life and find ways to share encouragement, letting God shine his love for your brothers and sisters through your fingertips. You never know when a quick email or a letter dropped in the mailbox could arrive for someone at just the right time.
Though we want to, we may not always have the ability to go to the weekly meetings, the coffee shop dates with the Bible study class, or that prayer meeting with a friend. If you’re able, open your home so that people can come to you.
If you’re like me, your instinct may be to put off flinging wide your doors because of the pile of last night’s dishes or that leaning stack of laundry. It can even be that undercurrent of vanity in me that fears people will see I’m not as “together” as I want them to think I am.
Remember this: Hebrews 10:25 says we should “not be giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
You may be homebound, but don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you have no reach. Your household is your primary mission field. For better or for worse, you influence your family. Your voice lingers in your spouse’s ears and heart. If you practice God’s love within your home, the ones closest to you will be blessed, even if you can’t quantify the results. As you bless others, you will be pulled into the blessing as well!
The ones you minister to within your own home will harbor the light you shine into them, opening the door to allow God to move through them. Let your words be gentle, your hands be helpful, and your heart quick to encourage.
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