02 October 2012

Despot of the Oikos

I’ve just had the most therapeutic weekend in a long time! 

I’m feeling refreshed, energized and delighted!

No, I didn’t have a weekend all alone by myself in a cabin in the mountains... I painted my bedroom!  Yes, I absolutely love painting my house!  

There is more to this weekend’s painting.  It’s been coming a long way!  This December we will be living in our current home for 8 years. The day we moved in our home (2004), the older gentleman from whom we bought the house, informed us he didn’t have time to touch up the polyfilla patches on the walls (where pictures were hanging) and he left us with a little tin of cream coloured paint… Well, we couldn’t paint the spots, which was ‘screaming’ at me, either. The colour of the tin wasn’t matching the colour of the walls anymore, which had faded to a creamy colour. Those of you who know me in person, I’m not a neutral, creamy colour kind of girl…!  

I was pregnant with Andrew at that stage and was only able to start painting our home by the end of the next year, 2005.  Our living room and kitchen was the priority. I just couldn’t face the cream walls with white spots anymore! I enjoyed every moment covering the walls with the thick paint.  Before I was able to paint more rooms I was pregnant with David and a few months after David’s birth, beginning 2007, painted the baby’s room and the girls’ room.  I was even able to hand painted (with a stencil) a border in the boys’ rooms. 

My intention was to paint a border for the girls’ room too, but before I could get to do that, I was pregnant with Daniel, and we settled for a wall paper border.

While I was pregnant with Daniel, painting was on hold again.  Soon after Daniel’s birth (2008), my husband and oldest son painted my bathroom, of which the ceiling was covered with fungi. With 7 children, three boys 3 years and under, there was no way I could fit in the time to paint.  In 2009 we rejoiced in another pregnancy, but missed a year of painting another room. We didn’t want to expose the unborn baby to the poisonous painting fumes. Baby Michael was born early 2010, but life was busy and finances in short supply! June 2011 it was Heidi-Mari’s 15th birthday.  I was still recovering from my miscarriage earlier that year, so Christo and CJ jumped in and painted the dining room 

and entrance passage 

for her birthday tea.

By now our bedroom was in desperate need of painting, and thankfully next in line.  Fungi was growing on the south wall, against which our bed stand and the one corner of the ceiling was also covered with fungi!  The room was a mess!  But I was suffering multiple miscarriages and painting was postponed numerous times.

Then two weekends ago we rearranged the bedroom. We moved the bookshelf positioned against the south wall, to make space for a single bed for little Michael who is currently sleeping very badly and we hoped that if he could sleep in our room, I might get some more sleep.  As we moved the bookshelf from the wall, we were shocked to discover fungi covering the entire part where the bookshelf was against the wall. We realized we had to paint immediately! There was no way we could just wash away the fungi. Finally painting was possible - I wasn’t pregnant, there wasn’t a newborn baby in the home, and we had the money and time to do it! 

Three days later we moved our bed into the lounge, all the other furniture in our bedroom to the centre of the room, covered it with plastic and started washing the ceiling.  Christo and CJ did the ceiling in the evening and I would start painting the walls over the weekend. I couldn’t wait to put my hands to the painting brush. It was 5 years since I painted a wall. Christo gladly gave his permission for me to paint the room myself and send me off to the paint shop to choose the colour of the walls.  In consulting him about the colour he just smiled at me and said I may choose whatever colour will make me happy! By Thursday afternoon I got the most beautiful wall paper border for the south wall and chose the colour paint complimenting the shades of lovely roses in the wall paper.  

Friday morning I was like a little girl in anticipation of a very special gift!  The ceiling was painted and I could start with the walls. CJ took out all the nails in the wall and Josua helped me fill the holes with polyfilla.  By 2pm I poured out the painting in the pan and made a first brush on the wall!  

Heidi-Mari and Danika took care of the little boys and dinner, and I was having the time of my life painting my bedroom!  Andrew and David wanted to paint too, would paint the whole room if they could, but was quite happy to go play again after they painted the one wall’s skirting.

By Friday dinner time all four walls had their first layer of painting. Christo had his off weekend and Saturday morning joined me in my bliss of painting. I painted the ceiling-, floor and door borders (I’m a pain in how precise it must be) with the brush 

and he would fill in with the roller.  

Since quality time is one of my most important love languages, I couldn’t ask for a more perfect setting!  Painting my bedroom in the company of my dear husband and best friend!  We finished the room by 3pm and I just couldn’t get the smile of my face. It was beautiful! Our brand new bedroom in soft shades of pink, with a rose border wall paper for the one wall (which unfortunately will only arrive the end of this week).  

Now some of you might be shocked that I painted our bedroom pink. 

Did Christo approve the soft shades of pink, you might ask? Yes, he didn’t mind at all. Not because he is fond of pink, NO! It all went back to the year 2000, let me share with you.

During this time we were very actively involved with Walk Thru the Bible and part of the WorldTeach team by Dr. Bruce Wilkinson.  In 1997 we did our first biblical course on marriage, the Biblical Portrait of a Marriage. It absolutely changed our lives. 

In 2000 this course was supplemented with a Manhood and Womanhood series: 
Leading and Loving for the men

The Heart that makes a Home for the women.

Both these series would be attended by husband and wife.  During the 3rd session of the woman’s series on Helper, we learned two new Greek words and its meaning gave a total new perspective on my role as wife in our marriage.  

One of the main biblical principles for the Helper is to actively “manage the house” under her husband’s authority as the “Despot” of the “Oikos”.

Therefore I desire that the younger widows marry, bear children, manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully.” 1 Tim. 5:14

“...admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.” Titus 2:4,5

As you might know, “oikos” is the Greek for “home” and its “surroundings”. “despot” a very strong word which means to “manage” and “rule”.  

This all boils down to:

1.  The wife not passive, nor independent, but actively managing/ruling over her home and its surroundings.
She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.”  Proverbs 31:27

2.  Not problem-dumping on her husband, but problem-solving.
She opens her mouth with wisdom,

And on her tongue is the law of kindness.”  Proverbs 31:26

3.  The wife who walks in her calling as a helper invests her life in her husband, freeing him to take care of tasks/activities which will make him “known in the gates”
She makes tapestry for herself;

Her clothing is fine linen and purple.

 Her husband is known in the gates,

When he sits among the elders of the land.

 She makes linen garments and sells them,

And supplies sashes for the merchants.”  Proverbs 31:22-24

4.  In the process she will earns her husband’s trust. 
The heart of her husband safely trusts her;

So he will have no lack of gain.  Proverbs 31:11

5.  She contributes to his well-being.”
She does him good and not evil

All the days of her life.”  Proverbs 31:12

I was pleasantly surprised, and overwhelmed at the same time, to hear that I’m the “Despot of our Oikos”. 
Does this really mean I’m in charge of our home? 
In charge like in making decisions concerning the home and its surroundings? 
Am I competent and skillful enough to make choices involving our home and property? 

Makes you think doesn’t it?

Who makes the final decisions?  
The wife who spends more time at her home, who manage her children in the home, or the husband who is the head of the family?  

I’m going to answer by quoting from the Heart that Makes the Home course Workbook:
“According to the Bible, the husband should defer to his wife in this matter. The husband is still the head of the family, but when it comes to matters of the house and its property, the Bible is clear.  The wife is in charge of the home. When it comes to decorating, she should be given the final word. When it comes to remodeling, the plans should be drawn based on her vision of what the home should look like, what she prefers. According to Proverbs 31, the wife is free to manage the home, generate profit, and show compassion to the poor as she sees fit. In fact, the Greek word literally describes her as the “absolute ruler” or “monarch” of the home. This is the strongest word in the Bible used to describe a leader. 
Of course this doesn’t mean the wife should be a tyrant about it. But it does mean that the wife’s instincts should take precedence over the husband’s when it comes to the home. Ideally, husband and wife will treat each other’s opinions with love and respect. 
This can be a touchy subject for some couples.  It requires that the husband and wife be in complete agreement on this issue.  The wife should NOT force the matter on her husband, but should be patient and sensitive to his point of view.  Turning to the other extreme, it’s not an excuse to dump an overwhelming number of responsibilities on the wife either. So it may take some time before couples fully understand and embrace God’s design for the homemaker together.”
And over the years this is exactly what happened in our home.  Gradually my husband gave over the matters of our home and property to me.  He especially handed over decorating our home. With me taking into account the budget and his preferences, I’m free to do as I want. For this reason he gladly allowed me to choose the colour of our bedroom.  It amuses him to see my delight in our bedroom’s decorating, the joy with which I go around in our room, and the same in the rest of our home.  

This was a very challenging matter in the beginning.  There were many times that we were not in one accord about decorating our home and for that matter me managing our home and surroundings. He would give his reasons and concerns, and I gave mine. But by the grace of God, we could work it out, and now a few years later it is much easier for Christo to step back. He has come to trust my instinct even more, as I proved to him that he and our family is of first and utmost importance to me. After all it is not about me, but about us - we are one. When he is caused harm, I’m harmed too. 

This is a big responsibility on the wife. It is asking great maturity from her, to not take advantage of this privilege, not acting selfish or use it as a weapon against her husband. To always keep in mind he is the head of the family and as long as she moves together  with him as one, they will reap the blessing in their marriage - honoring God and what He wants to accomplish through their Oneness.

With much love

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Huisvrou said...

ek het dit nou geniet. En weereens besef ek moet die Vader aanhoudend bedank vir my man...

Sy ma kon nooit 'n besluit neem nie, selfs nou nog. Alles was in sy pa se hande.

En die dag wat hy my na ons huis gebring het, ag voor dit, met die bou van die huis al, het hy my gevra watter matte ek wil hê, die verf was ongelukkig effe (jy weet mos, af-wit), omdat hulle drie huise gelyktydig gebou het en dus kon beding vir afslag.

Toe ek die eerste keer iets by hom wou weet, was sy woorde: Die huis, die tuin, dis joune. Maak daarmee net wat jy wil.

Dit was byna te groots! Maar nooit het ek iets aangepak sonder om hom in die saak te ken nie - buiten om die meubels in die huis rond te skuif.... ;-) En dit gebeur gereeld!

Net een keer het ek 'n muur in ons kamer geverf (ek wou my hand slaan aan die trek-tegnieke en wou hom verras) - dit was een groot flop!! En vir die beste deel van 8 jaar leef ons nou al met my flop... (tyd vir verandering!) Ek het hom by die stoor gaan inwag en gevra dat die WVK moet sit. Hy het vraend na my gekyk: WVK? Jip, sê ek, ek praat die waarheid en jy versoen.

Hy het maar net gelag.

Jy, of nee, Vader spreek my egter ook aan deur jou inskrywing. My liefdestaal is erkenning. Sien raak en reageer op wat ek doen. Vir geliefde lê dit egter laag op die ranglys... So het ek maar mettertyd dinge net laat gaan. Wat maak dit tog saak of dit sus of so is, niemand sien dit raak of waardeer dit tog nie.

Sal moet gaan mooi besin....

Anonymous said...

nice post thanks for sharing..found you thrue other bloggers hope visiting more..blessings

Jacqueline@ Deeprootsathome.com said...

I am so thankful to come across your blog and this post! We, too, heard Bruce W. many years ago at Walk Thru and have still been working this out...I'm encouraged!
May I ask you to share your wisdom and application of this teaching on the 'EOA' Wednesday link-up? I would love for ladies to understand this and your pink paint will help them to grasp how this works in reality!!
Bless you, new friend! I will be back :)

Linnie said...

Thank you Jacqueline. :-)

Urban Homestead South Africa said...

Aaah Linnie you take me back about 10yrs when I did the course. I remember this teaching. Thank you for reminding me.

Sunflowerx said...

Ai, wat 'n kosbare post, Linnie, so baie dankie ! Ek kom van 'n huis waar die vroue op geen manier enige sê gehad het nie en so het ek die hele proses van aanpassing om my eie huis te regeer, met baie spanning begin, bang om die 'verkeerde' te doen ! My dierbare skoonma se HELE huis is in skakerings van perske geverf, binne EN buite ! AL die gordyne pas in by die huis se kleur en skoonpa is totaal gemaklik daarmee - dis die huis waar my man in groot geword het. Nou, na 12 jaar, het jy my die moed ingepraat om my eie stempel op die huis waaroor ek AANGESTEL is, af te druk !! Nog 'n stukkie waarheid wat vrymaak, nogmaals dankie vir jou lieflike blog. Jy's 'n inspirasie.

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