When we lived in Prairieville, there was a house on my way home that has forever affected me. It was filthy. It was lifted about 10 ft from the ground and the piles of trash and debris were stacked at least that high. You could see through the windows junk piled to the ceiling. There was at one point 10 broken vehicles in the yard. The house was a revolving door of adults in and out almost never the same adults. But always the same children. One little girl , with long red hair always dirty playing in between the trash. I felt like this little girl was mine, to spiritually adopt. I watched her every time I passed for the 5 years we lived there. The striking thing about this house was the sheer “ugliness spewing out.”
I could only imagine the ugliest on the inside.
In contrast , I have seen beautiful things that make me think of God and nature and holiness and goodness.
That’s when I started internalizing that appearances can matter. The way we present ourselves to the world can either attract people to the faith or give them a stubbing block in which to reject the faith.
I started trying to keep the outside of the house somewhat attractive. I know people would think we should understandably have broken toys thrown all over the yard, diapers on the porch , one shoe in a tree and a headless baby doll in the flowerbed. Lol
(We probably have had all of this )
But I do try really hard to keep up the yard / and entryway. ( not the grass , but the toys and stuff just visually appealing)
It does matter. It gives people a glimpse into your home. It shows that you take pride in your home and the blessings that God has given you.
Here are a few tips I have learned:
⁃ Try to throw away 100 pieces of trash, broken toys or moldy yucky things. Ask the kids to find 10-20 items to throw away , it maybe a rubber band , straw , or a cracked frisbee. After you do this 2 to 3 times over a few days the trash / yucky stuff will be gone.
⁃ Pair down riding toys to a manageable amount. And designate a “parking lot”
⁃ Set up a tall laundry basket near the parking lot for balls and other loose outdoor toys.
⁃ Before you go inside with the kids announce “one minute clean up …. set up the parking lot, throw away trash” we have timed it , it usually only takes about 20 to 40 seconds.
I have often pictured Mary’s home. I bet it was beautiful! Simple, orderly, well kept but beautiful! I would imagine handmade wood furniture from St Joseph . And fresh flowers in vases!
I also find this to be true with clothes. The second most comment I hear when I go somewhere is # I you sure have your hands full and #2 I can’t believe you have makeup on , and you are smiling?!?!
I have heard this sooooo many times I can’t even count. It always amazes me. I guess I’m wondering what they were expecting, maybe oily hair, and wearing a stained tshirt??
But I do think it’s part of inviting people to God , if we look miserable and exasperated, aren’t we the same as everyone else with no faith?
Isn’t it so refreshing or beautiful to see a young priest? Or a stylish couple in Church?
Just because people live their life for God it doesn’t mean they lose their God given style or beauty. You are not stripped of joy and attractiveness, in fact the opposite is true ! When someone is filled with God , they attract everyone! People love to be near them and often imitate them. It’s as if their beauty and smile is contagious. Like a light in the darkness!
⁃ I also feel this way about modesty. I think you can be modest and still stylish. Just because you are mindful of how short or tight your clothes maybe does not mean wear a moo moo. We are presenting our lives to others and that maybe their only glimpse of modesty.
I did a post that I didn’t publish about simplifying my wallet, purse or diaper bag. I feel like your bag is like a tiny portable home. If people see me rummaging through piles of trash , and overflowing junk, they probably have one image of us. If my bag is neat and my wallet zips shut nicely they may have a different view or no opinion at all. I just don’t want to bring negative attention to family life. Like “have a bunch of kids and you never own anything nice again ” lol
⁃ one last reflection on appearances. My friend Jayme shared this reflection years ago. She said that if she allowed herself to “let herself go” like not comb her hair, or change her clothes. She was acting like a Pharisee. The Pharisees would lengthen their tassels or look gaunt from “fasting.” They wanted to portray their “holiness.” If we look like hell, r we trying to say to our spouse and public , look how hard I work , look how busy I am?
Isn’t that powerful?!?!
Side note 📝:
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