Those who know me well learn quickly that I hate when my house is messy. I mean, seriously hate it. I am a control freak and not proud of it!
Being a control freak who wants everything in its place - at all times - is not advantageous when you are also a mother of four busy children. Believe me, I’ve had to learn a lot about patience in the eleven years since my firstborn entered the world – and I’m still learning!
I’ve had days when I’ve stomped around my living room, carefully replacing throw pillows to their proper positions on the couch, “”Throw’ is not to be taken literally,” I mutter under my breath, the offending baseball players having already escaped to the diamond in the back yard.
Try as I might, I learned quickly that a perfectly pristine home was not going to happen. There was always laundry in the hamper, dirty dishes continued to appear out of nowhere and shoes often landed under tables and behind furniture.
One day while despairing over these truths, God spoke to my heart, “These are signs of life, Lynette.”
“What?” I wasn’t sure I wanted to hear this. Cleanliness and organization bring peace and calm to my chaotic world and I didn’t want anyone, not even Almighty God to try to talk me out of something I thought I so desperately needed! As I contemplated what God was saying to me though, I saw how true it was.
Candy wrappers, dirty socks, backpacks and footballs are all signs of life in my home. If they were gone, something would be terribly wrong! A healthy garden has both plants and weeds, while a barren plot sits brown, windblown and lifeless. As mothers we will always have weeds to chase out of our homes - the attitude we do it with is for us to decide.
Does that mean we give up and let everything go? Of course not! There is balance – finding it is the challenge, and unfortunately there is no one-size-fits-all formula. For myself, it’s been taking a deep breath and moving the kid’s books from the top ledge in the closet to a shelf they can actually reach (was I really that OCD?) and not freaking out every time the house gets trashed.
If God hadn’t spoken to me about the signs of life around me, I would have missed out on the fun games of Skip-Bo with Corey, or playing catch with Ty in the back yard. I wouldn’t have gotten to enjoy those moments of closeness with Amy as we colored pictures together and I never would have seen the fight between the lion and the “hynena’s” with Kobe.
I still appreciate a candle burning on a clutter-free table. I also continue to organize my days in a way that allows me time to keep a relatively clean home, but I’m learning to offer grace each time the children miss a couple of toys when cleaning up. I’m trying harder to overlook the times the couch cushions get turned into a clubhouse or juice spills appear under the kitchen chairs.
They are all signs of life and I wouldn’t trade those for anything!