Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Where I create HOME



As a stay at home mom I look to define “my job”. As words start to fill the description it quickly becomes obvious that no woman is capable of all that. I clung to the word “homemaker” for years to define who I was now. I liked that idea of creating a home. When I quit my job I felt the need to justify the loss of income by perfectly cooked meals, well planned grocery budgets, Pinterest decorated spaces, dust free corners and tidy organization strategies.

I was missing the point.

If a clean house was what my husband and I held in such high esteem we wouldn’t have needed a child to justify the loss of my income. I have always been a home maker. The home keeps changing along with the needs, but I was a home maker as a five year old helping my mom unload dishes. I was a home maker in training putting my dolls to bed each night. I was a home maker when I moved to college and when my husband and I bought our first house. Quitting my job as a producer wasn’t to take on a new job of home maker, it was to focus on a role I had already been playing!
I can be so narrow minded, so dialed in that I miss the big picture.

If our homes are beautiful, unhappy places to be we don’t really want to be there.

Creating home starts with the hearts that live in them. We as women, I believe, are to create peace and order. So many days I want that to be creating that order in a physical space because of the effort and tears it takes to create peace and order in my own heart and teach that to my children.

Guilt creeps in when the house is a mess. Those lies that whisper “What’s your excuse for having 5 baskets of unfolded laundry?” That lie that screams “Really? You couldn’t find 10 minutes to shower today?” That lie we all hear, “Are kids really a good excuse for not doing…?” The answer is “YES”.

I am telling myself over and over again; not to convince myself of a lie but because it is true!

It is better for my husband to walk into our house, stepping over toys to get to a kitchen with a sink full of dishes so he can eat peanut butter sandwiches at a table with a smiling wife and obedient children then for him to walk into a vacuumed room with toys put away but before he gets to the kitchen he hears me screaming at one kid for not obeying me while another kid is playing in the sink splashing water everywhere and the third child is crying in time out. The laundry is done though and dinner is made…a delicious one too! Yikes! Really?

There is something satisfactory about having uncluttered stairs, lined up shoes are just as beautiful to me as a Monet and I really do feel happy with a clean, empty kitchen sink. That order gives me peace and joy and makes me feel valuable. I mean, yesterday I managed to pick up my house and not have 3 kids fighting or crying or bleeding. That feels like success!!! But there are also days where I have looked around at my dirty kitchen floor, my dresser covered with piles of gadgets and trinkets and my ugly wallpaper covered rooms while cooking dinner with 3 kids helping me, or building Lego towers together, or them reading me a book and felt just as much peace.

The order that comes when our hearts are obedient, loving, joyful and focused on each other is more life giving and more valuable than my clean floors, weeded flower beds and checked off task list.
 
I am a mom who stays home for the purpose of raising kids and that means if you walk into my house you are going to see train tracks covering the living room floor, a pile of dirty towels waiting to be taken to the basement and water colors splattered on the dining room table. You will be greeted with kids that have messy faces and muddy boots on. It won’t be magazine ready and it won’t show that I am a great house keeper. It will show you I am a great mom because I am learning to ignore the dirt on the floors, the empty paper towel holder and the laundry baskets. I am learning to pay attention to the messy emotions of little people, the anger and impatience that flares up in me and intentionally give the overwhelming amounts of love 3 small people need. After that I rarely have energy left to clean, organize or complete a project and what energy is left is definitely not for the dishes…it is most likely for ice cream! 

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Noise






The morning starts loudly in our house. The 2 year old calling for me from his bed, the older 2 kids slamming opening their doors racing to the potty.  I remember the quiet of 3:00 a.m. when I got up to use the bathroom. I take a deep breath, "here we go!" encouraging myself that this onset of noise is okay, natural, even good. This noise is life in these walls.
 
Breakfast begins and I find myself taking orders for 6 different things, listening to 3 different songs and getting annoyed by the games and silly stories they are telling because I'm tired, because I like quiet in the morning, because I dont have complete control over everything.

But, this is good, this is life being lived out joyously in 3 little people and me having everything just how I want it is not the goal. So I turn down the heat on the eggs, ignore my hot cup of coffee and turn away from the task of breakfast to face them and watch. To force myself to enter into their noise, because in that I can live life with them.

If I'm playing with them will I find the noise less stressful? Yes, at least most of the time! I'm pleasantly smiling as I turn back to finish cooking eggs and reheat my coffee. I answer knock knock jokes, and make up silly songs. When they throw the next punch, "Can I have the blue cup, blue straw and blue lid?!" (That question grates on me every time because I know what follows is fighting; because everyone wants that cup! Why? I have NO idea!) Deep breath! Enter in!
 
I fight my desire to not give it to anyone, to throw it away to avoid fighting but in that deep breath, I choose to enter in. We talk about sharing and taking turns and who had it last and in minutes there is no fighting, no tears, no angry mama. There is noise, but noise of laughter and jokes and songs.
So breakfast continues, so the day continues and as I continually make the choice to enter the noise I find myself thankful for moments to teach my kids what love looks like, to show it to them with patient words and gentle discipline. I find that those silly songs make great dance party songs and those laughs lead to tickle fights and that in all that noise we are surprised when it's bedtime because in entering into each other and all the fights, tears, laughter and noise we found enjoyed each other!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

I am confident of this very thing


We need to hold sleeping babies to remember they don’t always cry. To remember and imprint on our minds and arms and chests what it feels like to hold this warm, soft, squishy gift. Babies need to be held they find it comforting, sometime they need to sleep on us. I think sometimes we need it too. Sometimes we need to snuggle with them and let it go on for longer than they would. We need to take deep inhales of their sweet smell. We need to count their fingers and toes without them wriggling down to run and play. Sleeping babies don’t need to be held, they are sleeping…but we need it. We need the reminder of grace and peace. We need the bonding of holding them in quiet after a day of screaming and crying and fighting naps and no showers.

I still feel this with my 3.5 and 5 year old. I need to lay in bed with them at night and sing songs and pray and snuggle. I need to have them hug me and I want to be hugged. I know I’m their mom and they aren’t responsible for filling my love bank. But, it feels good when they do. I need quiet and I deeply love when I can have quiet with them.

My mom sang a song over me that I find myself singing over my kids. Especially on the hard days, on the days where I am not sure if anything stuck, on the days where I lost my temper and need the reminder that God is working in my own heart too. That we are new creations and we are not finished yet!

“I am confident of this very thing, That He, who began, a good in you. He will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ”

This parenting thing is hard, being a Christian is hard, being a human being some days feels hard. We have a lot to do. We have a lot of sin to fight in our own lives and then we have to teach our children how to fight sin in their lives. Somedays it feels like a battle on every front. Like you are fighting a man in front, behind and on both sides and you just didn’t win the battle today. Somedays we don’t win the battle. Some days we fall into bed seeing our mistakes, seeing our sin, being ever so obviously aware of our need for Jesus and on those days this song reminds me of truth. IT reminds me to wake up and keep fighting. It reminds me that these little people running around my house saying “whatever” or screaming “no” are not finished. It is not my job to finish them. But it is my job to walk alongside them and to pray that we make it to the finish line. To teach them to hear God’s voice and to know the difference between lies and truth so that when the lies distract them from all fronts the truth’s whisperings are consistent and solid. So that their roots have gone down deep and strong and help them stand up.

He has begun a good work in me but He is definitely not finished yet…praise God! I believe He began a good work in them and as the Creator who is good and loving and cares for us He will not let it wither and die. He will not give up on them. So, on days when I feel like giving up. When I give up on myself I look at my sleeping baby, I curl up next to my sleeping toddlers and I sing in the quiet and praise God for a new tomorrow to try again and a new tomorrow with God working in us all!

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