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Heaven at Home: Establishing and Enjoying a Peaceful Home Review by Kathy Gelzer and Andrea JonesGinger Plowman
PO Box 24
Wapwallopen, PA 18660
Preparing the Way Ministries
518 Camelot Way
Opelika, AL 36801
Subtitled, "Establishing and Enjoying a Peaceful Home," Heaven at Home is written to Christian moms with guidelines for every area of their home lives. The twenty chapters are divided into five parts: personal identity, marriage, family relationships, discipline of children, and home atmosphere.
The first section has four chapters discussing how mothers set the tone for the home, and author Ginger Plowman points out how Jesus himself is a "homemaker", referencing John 14:2b: "I am going there (heaven) to prepare a place for you." Here you will also find practical ideas for nurturing your spiritual life while in the trenches of being a mom. Then there are more ideas on how to meet your husband's needs by getting to know him better. The final chapter in this section discusses ways to help your children grow closer to Jesus.
Part 2 focuses on unity in marriage, sexual intimacy, facilitating your husband's leadership role, and suggestions for getting along better. There is also a chapter on sibling relationships with some excellent strategies on how to handle tattling (worth buying the book for this alone).
The section on family relationships has chapters on what to do when your husband won't lead, getting along with in-laws, friendships outside the home, and encouraging your children in their spiritual walks.
As with other books published by Shepherd Press including Shepherding a Child's Heart and Don't Make Me Count to Three, the section on disciplining children promotes spanking as the Biblical method. The Biblical role of parents is spelled out, and specific examples of how and when to train children in obedience are given. A very interesting chapter entitled, Demonstrating Grace in Parenting, is a good reminder to rely on Christ--not ourselves and our agendas. The last chapter contrasts ineffective discipline methods with effective ones.
The last part talks about your home as haven for your family. Here the author discusses the benefits of having structure in your day and in your children's day, maintaining a clean home, and opening your home to others. I was a little surprised to find the suggestion of computer and video time for toddlers and those two activities plus television time for preschoolers on up, but I am admittedly Spartan in regard to screen time for my children.
Although Heaven at Home is written by a homeschool mom, her suggestions throughout the book cross over to all Christian wives and mothers. This book transcends the usual homemaker book on many levels, dispensing much wisdom and out of the ordinary tips for Christian women, and I heartily recommend it.
The title of Ginger Plowman's latest book left me somewhat skeptical of its claims. Is Heaven at Home really possible? However, after reading the book twice, the author's heart and purpose are clearly seen. Not only is heaven home possible, but establishing and enjoying it is for God's glory- our ultimate life purpose. Heaven at Home challenges our motivation at every turn asking the reader, "How can I radiate the peace of Christ so His character might be glorified in and through me?", "How can I bless God in the way I treat my family?", "How can my mind be transformed that I might become more pleasing to Jesus?"
Mrs. Plowman offers practical, biblical wisdom for women who desire God's presence, a little taste of heaven, in their homes. Each chapter is filled with appropriate counsel from God's Word. Scripture is well-chosen, not haphazardly thrown in or used as an after-thought. Time and again, we are reminded of the heart of the gospel, to bring glory to God whether it is in tackling endless mountains of laundry or disciplining a child for the hundredth time. It's not about us, it's about God. The benefit, however, to focusing on Christ, is a home where joy and peace abound.
The book is divided into five parts of four chapters each. Each section begins with the words, "Home is heavenly when..." 1) When the Woman is Happy, 2) When Unity Prevails, 3) When Relationships are Right, 4) When Children Obey, 5) When It Serves as a Haven. Chapters under these sections address everything from "Delighting in who you are", "Letting your husband lead", "Getting along with in-laws", "Demonstrating grace in parenting", to "Keeping your home clean and organized". Don't believe that you can read this book and set it back on the shelf unmoved as a Christian woman. God will prick your heart as He did mine to act on His Word. My rebellious heart often balked at what I knew to be wise ways in creating heaven at home. But I also began to recognize my self-centered motivations for a peaceful home. Mrs. Plowman offers hope, Godly motivation, and real-life suggestions for establishing heaven at home. She reminds us that we cannot adhere to Scripture in our own strength, nor should we despair in our failures. When we fall, we push forward because Christ has already won the battle of sin for us. He can more than fill our inadequacies.
Reading the book with another woman or group of women is highly recommended. The added accountability would make implementing ideas easier as well as provide encouragement. While no book can replace God's Word in teaching us how to live, Mrs. Plowman's practical application of His Word can help us grab hold of our role as wife, mother, or friend and the part we play in creating Heaven at Home--"a haven where spirits are renewed, dreams are nurtured, and the best of life is lived."