Monday, August 26, 2013

A House Lived In

When Chris and I first got married, we lived in a great townhome. 3 bedrooms, 2 1/2 bathrooms, and
paid only $850. It was great! And it was almost always clean. Really, with two of us, how messy could it get?
Then we bought a 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom condo, and again, with just the two of us, it stayed pretty clean. Once kids came along, our condo/house we bought became messier, but the boys would pick up after themselves, and since they were little, I'd help them. We had our days of messiness, don't get me wrong, but overall, it was a pretty clean house.
I'm not sure how it happened, but once we moved to Colorado, and our children got older, the house became messier. Chris and I have taught them to pick up after themselves, and if they don't do it right, we make them do it again. But I'm not going to come in after them and clean it the way I do. It won't teach them a whole lot. Yes, there are times when I will clean a boy's room because we have guests who are going to stay in that room, or I will super clean the house on my own if they are in school and I have the time (working and writing takes up a lot of time and leaves me with little).
The other day, we had family come in for Chris' aunt's memorial service. My wonderful mother-in-law offered to have the luncheon at her house. And for that, I am thankful. I've been working a lot of hours, we had a slight flooding in my work area, and I needed to have Gage's room clean for our guest. I just didn't have the time to super clean like I wanted. But that was okay. People weren't going to come over to my home, except for my guest, but she raised 3 boys and knew how it was.
We ended up having Chris' family come over after the memorial service in Colorado Springs. I wasn't too concerned because, well, my house is lived in. We have three boys who make messes, who spill things on our carpet at times. Chris will dye my hair in our living room, and for the first time in 14 years, I dropped it on our carpet. Oops.
I don't have a lot of breakable things to display in my home. I'm not looking to have a gorgeous filled house, but a house lived in.
When we bought our house a year ago, we prayed God would put us in the neighborhood where we can be used. We prayed that we wouldn't have a gorgeous home, but one where our friends, family, neighbors and kids would feel comfortable. Where laughter can ensue and tears can be shed. We prayed for a place that was large enough to host a small group bible study (beginning this September we will be), a place where we can have neighborhood Christmas parties and s'more parties. We prayed for a place that would suit our needs, but more importantly, where people can come, sit, and relax.
My house isn't always going to be clean, even if we have get togethers. I may have stuff piled on my desk or on the futon. I may have our end tables a little crowded with stuff. And sometimes, it gets on my nerves. I like a clean house. But here's the one thing I will remember, my house is lived in.
Giggles come from the boys and their friends as they play hide and seek in the house or jump on our trampoline. I love having our house be the place to hang out, even if that means it will be messy because let's face it, having 3 boys of my own and then each have a friend over, my home will not be a clean, or a quiet home.
Is my house a home? You bet. Is it clean? Not every day. Am I okay with that? Yep, because mine is a home that is well lived in.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Are You on a Balance Beam?



I'm on a balance beam.

As a matter of fact, just like Mr. Chan describes, I was laying on the beam, legs wrapped tightly around it, arms holding the top of me. As one woman said she was doing, I did: I put pillows on each side of the bar, had a safety net under it and a ladder above it, just to make sure I had a way of escape, and if I fell, well, I wouldn't get that hurt.

That was me.

I liked security. I liked being safe. I'm the person who prays God takes her home in her sleep, so I won't suffer or feel any pain. And then? Yes, and then I'd stand like the gymnasts do at the end of their routine in front of my Judge and expect, "Well done."

Well done? For what? For living my life so carefully that I don't experience the full riches and joy God has for me? Well done? For playing it safe? Um, I don't think so.

God never promised our life of following Him would be safe. He never said He'd give us job security, a nice and easy marriage with 2.5 healthy children. No. He never promised we'd never experience the pain of death or the heartaches of loss and loneliness. Last I checked, God never gave the command we'd be rich in monetary fashion.

God did promise
 
 
He'd never leave us or forsake us. He promised He'd go before us, so we shouldn't be afraid. He promised He'd hold us in His righteous right hand. He promised nothing could separate us from His love.
 
Did you catch that?
 
Nothing can separate us from His love.
 
 
So, why aren't we like that baby bird, perched on the edge of a branch, getting ready to fly? Why don't we step out in faith and do what He's asked of us to do: to live faithful to Him, unsafe, joyful lives?
 
Fear. That's what has us in its ugly grips, isn't it? Fear of failure. Fear of falling short. Fear of not being secure and safe. Fear.
 
But if we don't let go of the beam, if we don't let go of our fear and trust God, we'll never make the landing.
 
We have to make the landing.
 
I'm letting go. I'm going to stand on that balance beam with nothing there to lesson the blow of falling except Jesus Himself. Will you pry your body off of the balance beam and join me? Because trust me: It's the Greatest Feeling in the World to Make the Landing and hear Him say, "Well Done."


Sunday, August 4, 2013

They're Baaaaack!!!!!

My children were gone for an entire week at camp. It was pretty awesome for them and for me and Chris. One of the greatest things about them being gone?

 A clean house!

I would wake up every morning to a clean living room, dining room, and kitchen. The bathroom didn't have left over clothes from showers or baths. Toothbrushes and toothpaste were put away where they belong. Baggies were zipped up nice and tight. Cupboards were shut like they were supposed to be. Don't get me wrong: Chris and I do our very best to get them to pick up after themselves. We tell them on a daily basis to take care of their stuff.

And yet, we find ourselves in a continual battle.

Until last week. A clean house. Loved it. All week long. Did you get that? ALL WEEK LONG!!! Loved it. While I missed my boys, I thoroughly enjoyed my house's cleanliness.

And then.....the boys came home.

I walked out this morning to scattered clothing, dirty dishes piled in the sink, toys and books all about the living room. My clean house no longer existed. And the battle began.

Which got me thinking.....

I do that a lot with the Lord. I "clean my house" for about a week or so. "Lord," I say, "I'm going to be more patient." And for a while, I am. But then....something happens, and I'm back in my old habits again. "Jesus, I'm going to spend more time in prayer, in Your Word." A week goes by and I don't miss a day. But then.....I sleep in, my kids get up before I have a chance to dig in, or the internet is too important to put off before I spend time with God.

So begins a vicious cycle. And the battle begins.

What do I need to do to change this cycle and fight the battle?
Take one day at a time. Don't worry about tomorrow. It has enough troubles of its own. That's not it, though.
 I need to discipline myself. And not give in to laziness.

When my feet touch the floor, what are my priorities?

Jesus.

That's my priority. Sit and bask in His presence, listen to His still small voice. My bad habits will come and go. But Jesus is the One who can take control of them. As long as I give them to Him. Yes, I will mess up. Just like my kids. I will fall into old ways and lose my patience or sleep in a little too long and not have time to spend with Him.

But His grace abounds.

When I go to bed, I will do an inventory of what needs to be "cleaned" and begin the next day anew.
I will often remind my kids to change their bad habits and pick up after themselves.

Jesus does the same with me.

 I don't love my kids any less because of their sloppiness. And neither does God. He loves me too much to let me stay that way, though.
So, what about you?

What are some bad habits you've gotten into that you're changing, with God's help?
For me, it's my eating (because gluttony is a sin), spending more time at Jesus' feet. I pray my bad habits will soon disappear!