Saturday, June 25, 2011

Guest Author...

This is a first for me.  I know of plenty other bloggers who use "guest authors", but I haven't ever found one that was "worthy" of use!  Well, that has changed.  Meet my friend, Angela...

Angela is a stay at home mother of 5, who deals daily with the struggles most mom's have.  I know I often feel like I don't measure up to the "perfect" image of the "Proverbs 31" woman.  So, grab your coffee, and read on!

"My Messy House" - Angela Studebaker

I'm not a blogger but I am a writer. A sporadic writer, but a writer none the less. Here is something I wrote this morning. I hope it blesses someone else.

I have a Messy House.

If you would make a surprise visit to my home on 7th street in Goshen, you would see a lovely flower garden in the front with a lawn that needs mowing, an old porch that is badly in need of replacing and yet has a welcoming presence.  Inside you would find a messy house. Laundry in varying stages of being unfinished lays in baskets and on floors in many rooms of the house. You will find toys, clothes, mp3 players, dog toys, dishes adorning many flat surfaces.  The bathrooms need scrubbed, the floors need swept, windows and walls need wiping…. The list goes on and on.  If you are really brave and venture into the garage and basement in spite of dyer warnings from myself of the hazards you may find in those two places, well….I just hope you can find your way back out, unharmed.

Why is my house so messy? Well the most obvious reason is this: I hate to clean. I just don’t find any enjoyment in it at all. Many of my friends say things like; “But it feels so good to have it done” and “I just can’t stand it like this.”  I suppose for me the reward of a clean house is just not strong enough to help me face the torture of going through the process of getting it clean. This would involve one of two things. Either cleaning it myself which could take days or weeks of being alone doing something I loathe. By the way being alone is on the top of my dislike list as well. Or yelling, bribing, cajoling the other people in my house to help me.

I think perhaps there is a bigger reason as to why my house is chronically dirty, a deeper reason if you will. I don’t have it all together. I am not some sort of supermom.  I am human and I struggle.  I am not able to emotionally and mentally invest in parenting my children, feeding, clothing and caring for them (I have 5 btw), while keeping a tidy house.  Something has to give. I have made my choice.  It is the house work that gets left aside.

I have struggled for years to find a balance between being a house wife and being a mom. I am a lousy housewife, if by definition that means one who makes beds, keeps an immaculate house, makes complete gourmet meals every night and presents neatly groomed children who never make a peep. I am, I think, an ok Mom. I enjoy spending time with my kids, going to their concerts and events and just hanging out. I enjoy taking them to the park and swimming. I work hard to keep them fed and clothed. Maybe I haven’t achieved balance but it’s working for us.

Life is not tidy. It is messy. Raising 5 children is dirty work. I have chosen to invest in the maintenance of the emotional and spiritual health and well being of my children, my husband and myself over the cleanliness of my house.

I know that this does not fit into many views of our society of how life should look.  Even many Christians feel that “cleanliness is next to godliness,” which is not in the Bible by the way.  Life should look presentable many feel. We should always have our hair combed, our clothes neatly pressed, our dishes washed and put away, laundry neatly folded and tucked into drawers. Beds should be neatly made because we wouldn’t want any one to know we slept (or God forbid did other things) in that bed. And the list goes on.

Well, I suppose I am a “what you see is what you get” kind of person both literally and figuratively. My house is not tidy, because I am not tidy. I’m messy and loud and difficult at times. I am busy taming the messes inside of myself and my children and so my house is dirty.

I have come to a place of peace with this. I am happy.

I will not be perfect until the day my Savior comes to take me Home. My house will be dirty at times.  I choose to spend my energy enjoying my children, helping them navigate the choppy waters of adolescence, finding interests and talents that fulfill God’s purpose for their lives. I also choose to contribute time and energy to making my community a better place. I choose to invest in the lives of other children who may not have parents who are capable of caring for them. I choose to take care of my inner life. I choose to trim and prune my inner garden of spirituality.

I live with a chronic illness. Some days getting out of bed is a real chore. Walking around the house and moving things takes more mental and physical energy than I possess on some days. I choose not to mentally berate myself when I just can’t find the strength to clean up.

As I have grown in my walk with God, I have become confident that His love for me is not dependent on my ability to present everything in a neat and tidy package. He is with me always. We walk in sweet communion through the day. His sweet spirit is a constant presence with me. I’m not perfect and I’m not super. Yet I am loved and forgiven.

My choices are in no way a judgment on the choices of others. Others may choose to focus on the cleanliness of their homes and that is ok. This is where their journey is taking them. We each must find our way through this foreign land.

My heart is grateful and peaceful, even in the messy places.

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