Before I get into flourishing at home, I thought I’d start where – as a Christian – life at home is most important. With God at the centre. If He is not the centre of our home, it will not flourish. Sure, it may look and even feel like it flourishes – but the work we are doing then is not eternal. We want what the Psalmist says in Psalm 92;
Being planted in the house of the Lord … they shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing.
Psalm 92: 13-14
A life that flourishes because ultimately it is one that lives to glorify God. In the way we raise our children, the way we order our family life, the attitude we have to money and material possessions. We do not ultimately live to flourish as the world sees it, but to plant ourselves in Him so that our work has eternal purpose.
For us, what does that mean?
My own faith is nurtured – I can’t put God at the centre of the home if He’s not the centre of my own life. It’s not always easy to have regular Bible study time – if I read one more thing like “Just set your alarm to get up one hour before the children”... these people do not have my children. One whose wake up time is unpredictable, the other is like clockwork, but I’m not getting up at 3.45am every morning. If you have a very early riser, it’s fine to slip it into the moments you can and give yourself some grace if it doesn’t happen some days. It can be as simple as keeping prayer as something we do throughout the day. Going to conferences and Bible studies. Getting out to evening church so we can actually listen to the sermon. Reading Christian books. All ways to ensure we are feeding ourselves before we try and give away to others.
Family devotions – we have periods where this is done daily, then as with so much of life, it ebbs to infrequent, then back again. But we have regular whole-family time together reading the Bible or talking about who God is. We’ve tried a number of different books but my favourite is Everything a Child Should Know About God *. It’s a brilliant, short, simple devotion each day and covers concepts like God being Holy, why we go to church as well as the gospel message.
Praying – we pray every day. At the start of the day, on the way to school we pray for the day ahead, that we would be good friends to other people, to be kind and to remember that no matter what happens we are loved as a child of God. We pray at the end of the day and say a blessing over each child (including, as Daniel prompted me a few weeks ago, the baby). We pray with and for our children so that they will ultimately grow up to have their own faith. An eternal perspective on parenting. Mini rugby doesn’t seem so important in light of that!
Talking about our faith – in Deuteronomy 6 we are told to ‘talk of them (God’s commands) to your sons and talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up’. An everyday, normal topic of conversation. I failed today as I had a row (in front of Daniel) with a man at the recycling centre (I was in the right, but still doesn’t really justify the way I spoke in the car afterwards) and it provided a great opportunity to talk about how I was frustrated and tired and didn’t speak kindly or in a way that glorifies God.
Longer term, I hope to start teaching Bible verses to the boys. Daniel struggles with his memory and with delayed speech it has meant I’ve only tried this a few times. I’d love to get them to a basic bank of Scripture that they know off by heart and can recall at times this would be useful. I know myself I love the fact I can remember things I learnt as a child, including some entire passages. In fact, once my pregnancy brain has gone, maybe I should go back to learning Scripture myself.
We also try to live a simpler life, not placing importance on maximising the size of house we live in or going on foreign holidays, in order to have me at home full time with the boys to allow this day to day demonstration of faith to happen. By being the anchor in their lives, it ensures they are being raised the way we want - being pointed to Christ in the little moments of the day, and seeing how we can live in a culture of more stuff, more activities and more stress and not do the same.
So there is my quick thoughts on having God at the centre of our home, allowing it to flourish in the way that’s most important. Even though my kitchen worksurfaces are cluttered, I still have my clothes from when I was at school and the laundry isn’t always very up to date, our home flourishes when Christ is glorified in the way we live our lives. The rest can be a little rough around the edges. And that's ok!
I would love you to share how you keep God at the centre of your home!
Tomorrow I’ll be thinking about how we acknowledge the season of life we’re in (a whole lot of grace before we look at the more practical ways of having a flourishing home!) – see you then!
* the book can be bought via a variety of Christian bookshops here: (this is an affiliate link, but does not increase the cost to you)