I have no profound words or lessons tonight. No funny stories, no deep inward struggles, just typing to process my mind again. My husband is truly amazing! You see, I am a terrible housekeeper. I have a slight amount of perfectionism in me (thanks, Mom!) and if I can't get the job done perfectly, I just don't want to do it at all. So things pile up. Then they get overwhelming and I avoid my house so I don't have to see everything I need to do. I get so overwhelmed by it that I don't even know where to start and because of all of this, I tend to live my life in a state of physical and emotional chaos. My husband is somewhat the same. He wants it done perfectly and he thinks he can accomplish perfection in half the time a normal person would. When it isn't done on that time frame, he gets discouraged and also lets it pile up. It doesn't help that we are both youngest children and very classically the youngest. We tend to look at life and think everything will just come together and work itself out. We are not anal retentive about plans, timing or housework. We also DESPISE hurting each others feelings. This sometimes poses a problem because it is hard to keep each other accountable on some things because we don't want the other to be upset. Emotionally and spiritually, we totally rock at accountability. Housework and finances though, uh, yeah we need to work on the accountability factor a little bit! It's easier to pick up the other ones dishes than say, "Hey, could you take care of that before you go to bed?" I know it is silly, but it is our life.
Well, here is where my amazing husband comes in. We have been wrestling with where God's plan is taking our lives for some months now. (Those of you who are regulars to my blog already know this!) We have spent a lot of time in prayer seeking God's face and asking for godly wisdom and direction. We both feel like we have so much potential and that we are not living up to that potential. We waste so many God given opportunities because we live in a constant state of hurry and chaos. My husband came to me and told me that things need to change. It has been said before but this time he said it with a different conviction. Maybe that conviction comes from the fact that now we are starting to see the same in our children. Scary thought! I'm seeing my children not wanting to pick up their messes (though I know it is a challenge for all parents, ours seems a step beyond what I see my friends walking through), not respecting their own or others property and having an overall "who cares" attitude. I know they are capable of better! I see how respectful they are when they are at friends houses, their teachers tell me how amazing they are at school. They have the ability but aren't living up to their potential. This is the part as a mom that really sucks, it's my and my husbands fault. Ouch! What example have we set for them? What expectations have we given them? We have set our kids up to fail! Thank God that He in His grace and wisdom can cover over that! Thank God that our kids are young enough to make these life changes without harsh side effects!
My husband said it and then implemented it. I've got to admit, I wasn't sure how it was going to play out. And how on earth was it actually going to get accomplished? Every bare surface had a stack of papers or books or kids treasures stacked on it. (Did I mention earlier that we are both stackers as well? Yeah, well......) But my husband just started tackling it one pile at a time. His goal was for a perfectly organized living room. It's the first room you see when you walk into my house and the room you see from our picture window. (Have I mentioned that my mom-in-law is my next door neighbor? Talk abt keeping the curtains pulled!) I had beautiful intentions of helping him. Life had other plans. They entailed a puking 6 yr old, then a feverish cranky extremely clingy teething 2 yr old and now a 4 yr old who suddenly spiked a high fever and doesn't want to drink anything because it hurts to swallow. I have spent my free time holding my children and administering motrin every 6 hrs. I was so discouraged at what I thought was going to be a set back. But my husband did something he has never done. He factored life into his calculations and didn't get discouraged when things weren't perfect in the perfect amount of time. Though I apologized for not getting more done (my role has involved making dinner, holding kids, going through a small stack of papers to file or throw away, and mowing 1/2 the lawn before being called in to run a lukewarm bath for a feverish, shaking, aching 4 yr old) my dear sweet husband did exactly what he should have. He reassured me that I was doing the most important thing I could by taking care of our children.
I'm proud to say that for the FIRST time in almost 11 yrs of marriage EVERY surface, closet, bookcase, picture, window, tv and carpet in our living room is completely clean!!!!!!!!!!!! Those of you who are clean freaks will never understand how good it feels for two clutterbugs to have one room finally completely organized and clean! The kitchen is next. He caught up with all the dishes, there is not a single dirty dish in my kitchen (even though I cooked dinner tonight)! My counters are free of clutter and completely clean. My coffee pot is completely accessible!!!!!!!! We still have some projects to go in there before we can start on our room, then the bathroom, then the kids room and finally the basement but we have a beautiful start! My husbands state of mind seems better. He has more patience and is way less stressed out. My kids have still had some disrespectful moments but they handled their consequences much better than usual. It has been easier to be consistent about demanding respect and first time obedience. We still will have the battle to teach them to be respectful of their things but for the first time that battle doesn't seem overwhelming and an unattainable goal. And I am better. I LOVE having an area of my house that is peaceful. It has been nice to spend some quiet time in the mornings before the household is awake and in the evenings after they are asleep. It's much more enjoyable to have my morning coffee and time in the Word in a peaceful place not a chaotic place. Like, did you know that God speaks in living rooms too? Not just parks, car rides, church or any of the usual places I tend to look for Him and hear Him the clearest. Who knew?
I am for the first time in my life encouraged and excited about the state of my house. For those of you who have visited my home, you would be amazed and floored at the slow but steady changes that have happened and continue to happen. I actually have time and space to iron, something I haven't done in years! I know it sounds silly, but I feel that we are on the right track to beginning to live up to the calls God has for us. I'm still not 100% sure what those calls are or where He is taking us, but I do feel that we are the closest we have ever been to knowing what He has in store for us!
Jer 29:11-13 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."