There are dishes in my sink and piles of laundry to be washed. A busy weekend of visitors, dinners served and (mostly!) cleaned up after, planned activities and impromptu trips taken have left my home looking a bit like a tornado has passed through.
The best antidote to a messy house? A deep breath, a good cup of tea, and a reminder of the truth about living the joy-filled life. From Seasons of a Mother's Heart:
"I am more convinced than ever that even in the midst of the mundane, burdensome, and oftentimes frustrating tasks of life allotted to me as a mother, God wants me to find His joy. He wants every single day of my life to be a celebration of his blessings, whether they are large or small. He wants me to celebrate life ... the life He has given to me.
But what does it mean to "celebrate life?" Does it mean that I can let my house be a wreck so I can enjoy my children, or that I never have negative thoughts and attitudes, or that I never discipline my children? Does it mean that I simply overlook the myriad difficulties that inevitably spoil the best days, or that I ignore the burdens I carry as a stay-at-home mom, or that I close my eyes to intractable sins that won't go away?
Of course not! The joy-filled life is not found by trying to diminish my God-given responsibilities as a woman, wife and mother, nor can I find joy merely by refusing to face the hard realities of life in a fallen world. There is a tension that God is asking me to acknowledge and accept--the tension between ideals and realities. True joy is found by living somewhere between the "ideal life" and 'daily realities.' that is where Jesus meets me, where His Holy spirit empowers, and where I learn how to live the Christian life with supernatural joy."
A moment to pause, to take in some lovely music, to ask the Lord for new strength, allows me to rise from my chair with the intention of subduing my home with joy rather than frustration. After all, dishes mean there was food to eat. Laundry piles mean we all had clothes to wear. Tracks on the floor mean we have many friends who came to celebrate life with us.
"Where no oxen are, the manger is clean, But much revenue comes by the strength of the ox." Proverbs 14:4
“If our gardens need cultivating to grow well, our children need that attention much more. Seeds of excellence and grace must be planted and tended. The weeds of selfishness and bad attitudes must be plucked. The plot must be protected so that the wild storms and prevailing winds of culture will not damage the fruit. In addition, wise food for thought and the finest of art, music, literature, hospitality and creativity must be fed to fertilize the soul so that the child may grow fruitful and productive.
Children do not accidentally become mature adults of strong character, great faith, gracious relational skills, effective leadership qualities, and sharp intellects. Gods’ design includes the presence of a hands-on gardener, a mother, to tend and cultivate their hearts, souls, minds, and relationships. As a garden cannot flourish without a gardener, neither can a child reach his or her potential without someone committed to careful cultivation. Just as a garden without a gardener will eventually go to seed and be covered over with weeds and debris, a child whose growth is unsupervised or left to chance will likely grow wild and undisciplined or stunted and unfruitful.”
Mission of Motherhood