Sunday, November 25, 2012

PRIVILEGED to Be a Housekeeper

The title of "housekeeper" isn't very impressive.

I've never referred to myself as a housekeeper because it sounds so mundane and undesirable.  
No education is required.  There aren't any promotions.  And the work includes things like scrubbing toilets, taking out the trash, and telling my four-year-old over and over again not to put tape all over his face.

But I was reading Psalms 113:9 today--about keeping house and being a joyful mother of children, and I started looking more deeply at the word "keep."  

For example, a phrase we use a lot at church is "keep the commandments," but in Spanish, it's "guardar los mandamientos."  Guardar suggests that we guard, protect, and treasure the commandments.

So then I wondered if I could apply the same meaning to "keeping house."  

Maybe it's not so much about keeping the tile clean and sweeping the leaves off the front porch.  Maybe it's about guarding, protecting, and treasuring my home.

A quick trip to the online dictionary revealed these definitions for "keep":
  • to be faithful to

  • to preserve, maintain

  • to watch over and defend

  • to take care of/maintain in a good, fitting, orderly condition

  • to support

  • to maintain a course, direction, or progress

  • to stay on alert

  • to celebrate
I love these definitions.  They change the way I look at my family interactions--like when I spend five hours on a Saturday rearranging my girls' rooms, vacuuming up the dust, and talking with them about their friends at school.  

Or when I make barbecue meatballs for Ethan, pick up photos for Grace's "star-of-the-week" poster, carefully scrutinize the blogs Alia has added to her Google Reader, do "finishing touches" on Spencer's teeth-brushing, and reorganize the piles of blocks, Hot Wheels, and Legos we have all over our living room.

Right now, the majority of my life is spent "keeping house" . . . keeping our home.  And more often than not, when I reflect on my efforts at the end of the day, I feel like I've hardly accomplished anything.  

But now that I look at this new definition of housekeeping, I realize all this work I never even count . . . really counts.  All that time that seems to EVAPORATE somewhere between breakfast and dinner is actually being invested in the people who matter most to me. 

And that is pretty special.
I'm grateful for the privilege of being a housekeeper.


  1. once again, you know just how to write what I need to hear. Thank you so much for these wise thoughts and words.
    I also loved reading your post right before this one, I feel we are a lot alike. I take myself and what happens in my life way too seriously as well. It helps knowing some else feels the same as me. :)

  2. So sorry you were sick, April. I hope you are feeling much better now. Thank you so much for sharing your insight here. It is a simple, but profound truth and just knowing you makes me want to be a much better homemaker.

  3. I love this! It's so true. I feel the same way as you do--some days I feel like I didn't get very much done, but when I think of the details of "housekeeping" and all that it really entails, I really did get some important things done. I really enjoy your blog and your thoughts and I'm thankful for your good, faithful example!

  4. Thanks Donna! I appreciate your kind comments.

  5. SO glad to have "soul sisters" out there! Eventually, I'm sure we'll learn how to relax a bit more. :)


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