When Mark and I got married eleven years ago we had pictures of what we thought marriage would like. He would get a job, work a 9-5, get paid and support us. I would work until we had kids and then I would become a homeschool mom. It sounded like a great gig in my mind. Then we actually had kids and it took me four years into having kids to love being a mom. I had friends who loved every second of being a mom and I was not that mom. I wanted to be, but I wasn’t. I am also not a neat and tidy person by natural gift. It is something I have to mentally and emotionally pull myself together to accomplish. It has become easier and easier over time. Purging has definitely helped in this area. Naturally having less means there is less to wade and sift through. If something is floating around the house without a home it is time to have a chat with myself and perhaps throw it away or give it away.
While I am not a tidy person naturally, I do enjoy an organized space. I do appreciate being able to consistently find the things I need easily. When I worked at Camp Redcloud my boss always told us our living space represented our spiritually life. I find this to be true in my own life, even if I did not want to admit it at the time. Experience has taught me this is very true. When my house looks like a tornado went off, there is chaos somewhere in my life.
Mark use to come home and be a raging inferno that the house was a disaster. He would walk in the house after being at work all day and wondered what exactly I had done that day. After all I was not showered, the kids were still in their pajama’s, supper was not on the table and the house looked like a bomb went off. Actually not a bomb, a bomb would have left neat little confetti lying around everywhere, this was more like a tornado came through and didn’t care where it happened to drop things. Another thing I learned at camp was if I wanted something to get fixed then I had to have management come to the barn and try to use or do what I could not. Knowing they could not, but they needed to experience and know I could not. It was amazing how much quicker things would get fixed after management struggled with it. This holds true in our marriage. It’s hard to explain the daily chaos if you don’t experience it.
I finally yelled at Mark one day and said, “if our house looks like this, the first thing out of your mouth should be, are you ok?” You should be asking me if I need chocolate, a friend, the mall, a bath, something. Because if the house looks like this a war went on in our house. Some times the war is going on in me. Some how I have to let Jesus do his perfect work in me while dealing and loving with a toddler who has a little mouth of sass all of their own. Some days lovingly mentoring our toddler through a sass day is all a mama can do. She sees her house and is on the brink of tears, she sees her little ball of sass and she is sure she has messed them up for life. The truth of the matter is she has already beaten herself up without anyones help.
What she needs is you! She needs you to ask her if she is ok. She needs a shoulder to cry or hit or both. She needs a bath, a shower, chocolate, quiet, dishes washed and laundry folded and put away without a fuss. She needs someone to be strong because she tried to be strong all day and it didn’t work. She needs you to be her gentle, consistent loving encourager and cheerleader. She needs you to show her and tell her the kind, loving, gentle little human beings she is raising. Be her light, lead her to Jesus and let him wash her anxious worries away.
If your house looks like a tornado came through, this is the moment she needs your love and patience even more. She is beautiful, but she doesn’t know it. She is wise, but she doesn’t feel it. She is courageous, but her armor has fallen off. A good cry and a strong, gentle, caring husband can go a long way. She needs to blow off emotion, she is an emotional being. Let her blow off the emotion and she will come back and whip your house into shape. She just needs time, please give her time.
Mama’s with a house that exploded, you are not your messy house. You are not the pile of dishes in the sink, the stack of laundry by the washer. You are not the pee spots on your bathroom floor and you are not the daily grind of diapers, bottles and car pools. You are loving your family, you are caring for their hearts and if it is the difference between tending hearts and tending laundry, 100% of the time go for the heart. Laundry can be done tomorrow, dishes will get done, but children grow up and they need you, their mommy. I see you tired, weary mommy and God sees you. He is well pleased with you and loves you.