Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Is Your Housekeeping Keeping People From Coming Over?

"I feel like I can't ever get my house clean enough for people to come over."
The words she spoke broke my heart. And I bet a lot of you can identify with that.
This isn't about how to get a clean house. This is about your attitude about your house and your insecurities about yourself.
Ask yourself these questions: Am I embarrassed to have people over because they might see an imperfect house? Am I basing my self-worth on how clean my house is? DishesWhen I go to a friend's house, do I inspect it for flaws? If so, why? If there are dishes on the counter do you secretly smirk within yourself because her house isn't perfect?
Or do you notice the dishes on the sink and sigh with relief because now you know that she isn't perfect, just like you are not perfect, and then never think about the dishes again?
If you are so concerned about what other people think of you and your housekeeping skills, you will never open your heart to invite people to really know you. The worst thing that ever happened to the modern household is magazines and TV shows that pretend to portray what a house "should" look like.
Let us, as women, stand united and support each other and say, "I don't care what your house looks like, I like YOU for who you are, not where you live." Holding on to an unreachable image of what the perfect house looks like will ruin your ability to show hospitality.
Lately I've seen many an article ranting about how the airbrushed images of celebrities and models have ruined the healthy self-image women have of themselves; and how we shouldn't compare our bodies to the fake bodies in the advertisements. What Photoshop has done to the female body is the same thing that magazines have done to the home: made an unreachable ideal. I have three kids. My house is NEVER going to look like a magazine cover. Nor would I ever want it to. As soon as my house is spotless, that means that no one is living in it, or else I have turned into a monster that does nothing but nag my family to clean up after themselves.
The underlying problem is contentedness. Be content in who you are as a person, not as a housekeeper. Be content with what you have: a place to live in and a family that lives in it.

Be content knowing that imperfect is okay; because any person who decides who you are based on how your house looks is not worthy to be your friend.

Don't ostracize people just because you feel like your house isn't perfect. A real friend will love you in spite of your flaws, and maybe even because of your flaws. Your self worth should not hinge on what YOU think other people think of you. Your self worth should hinge on the fact that God made you who you are and you are beautiful in his eyes.
We all have flaws. Don't let your flaws keep you from enjoying your friends in your house. Don't shut people out because they might see a little bit of the real you. If you want to nurture friendships, be real. And I can't imagine anything more real than my house after a long day at home with three little kids.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Day

Do you ever have a day where everything seems to go wrong? I have actually left out a bunch of “things gone wrong” in this story, like jamming my finger, missing baseball practice, discovering I left something important in our van while it’s being repaired, and many more; it is the many small things that add up to make a day seem awful. I hope my story of this day encourages you to keep up the good fight.
Photo credit: Frank Andree

The day actually started at 11:30 p.m. the night before.  My 7 year old son woke with stomach pain, and I took him to the Emergency Department to make sure it was not appendicitis.  Turns out he was constipated.

After very little sleep, I woke early and left my kids with my mom so I could go get a rental car while our mini-van was in the shop for repairs. After waiting for 45 minutes, the rental agency told my husband and me that they didn’t have the car we had reserved.  It was then that I felt the enemy attacking.  I immediately went on to Facebook and posted in two of my church groups that we needed prayer.

You see, I was already sick.  I had pink eye, and was pretty sure I had a sinus infection.  I had planned on picking up the rental and being in the Urgent Care at 9:00 a.m. when they opened.  So my physical body was sick and my mental state was weakening because of the frustration with the rental.  Satan was using my weakness to attack me spiritually.  I felt like I was being attacked in the spiritual and physical world.

I returned to my kids at noon after visiting two different Urgent Care facilities and finally getting a diagnosis of conjunctivitis, sinusitis, and a urinary tract infection.  I thanked my mom and sent her home because she was starting to feel sick.  All three of my kids had a doctor appointment at 2:30 p.m., which is in the middle of nap time, but my mom had put the baby down early, so he woke up just in time for us to leave.

While waiting for the doctor in the examining room, my kids were all whining and complaining, and being disrespectful.  I felt the enemy attacking again.  I called the kids all close to me and said, “Ok, you all are sick, and hungry, and Satan is using this against you.  He is whispering in your head that it is okay to be whiney because you don’t feel good, that it’s okay to disobey because you are hungry.  Don’t let him! Resist the devil and he will flee from you!”  And then I prayed.  Then Eldest prayed, which surprised me.  Sometimes he can be quite ornery and doesn’t want to pray, but other times, he volunteers amazing little-kid prayers that get to the heart of the matter.

We went to the grocery store to pick up our prescriptions (all three kids were diagnosed with pink eye and sinus infections), once again the enemy attacked. The kids' disobedience and whining was at an extreme.  I stopped in the middle of an aisle and prayed with the kids, reminding them again, to resist the urges they have to whine and complain, because that is what Satan wants them to do.  I reminded them that our words and actions are to be uplifting to each other, and kind.  After we prayed, the kids were able to control their desire to fuss a bit better.  Side note: I find that when we know the reason we are acting a certain way, it is easier to control ourselves.

That evening, my husband and I talked. We are confident that God wants us to move to Kentucky.  However, we have been having all sorts of little set backs that make us wonder, is this God’s way of saying we aren’t to move, or Satan trying to get us to doubt? We concluded that God does want us in Kentucky, and Satan is making life very difficult in the mean time.  I’m not saying that our illnesses are caused by Satan, but he is using those illnesses to wear us down and cause us to doubt God’s will. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:12)

So the next time you are confident that you are doing God’s will, yet all seems to be going wrong, just remember that Satan is our adversary, and he fights hard to make us give up and turn away from the right path we are on.  Because when you submit yourself to God, the enemy attacks, but when you resist the devil, he will flee. (James 4:7).

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

What "Frozen" Has Taught Me About Parenting

The first time we watched “Frozen”, I had no idea what a fixture it would become in our house.  I love the movie, but it is actually a very sad story about how well-intentioned parents broke a friendship between sisters.  Here’s what “Frozen” has taught me about parenting:
  • When a child is hurt by another child, my immediate reaction is, “What did you do?!?”  This places guilt on the offender that may not warranted. Even though I’m scared for my hurt child, the child that did the hurting is probably scared too.  I need to be sensitive to the other child; even if he/she struck out of anger, the result was probably unintentional and now there is regret.  I don’t want to add undue guilt to those feelings that may last a lifetime.
  • I need to figure out how to help my kids learn to control with the seemingly uncontrollable. Instead of hiding a problem they are having, teach them how to work out the problem for themselves. I won’t be around forever, and if I don’t teach them how to handle what seems impossible, they will hide away or stuff it down, and that will just destroy them in the end.
  • I will teach my kids that as siblings, they have a very strong bond, one that will last forever, if I help them nurture it while they are young.
  • I’m not going to make my kids hide their perceived weaknesses.  Hiding something doesn’t make it go away.  I will teach them how to cope with the weakness and learn to turn that weakness into a strength.  My daughter has quite the dramatic personality.  At four years old, it is a weakness that often has her melting down.  I will teach her how to use that drama and passion in a good way – we all need passionate people in the world.  I won’t make her just stuff all that emotion down, but help her learn how to direct it to be useful, and not just a way of manipulation.
  • I will warn my kids about strangers, but also teach them that sometimes strangers are exactly the people they may need in times of trouble.
  • I will teach my kids that helping someone, even a stranger, who is in need, is always the right thing to do.
  • I will accept my child’s friends for who they are, even if they seem to be a “fixer upper.”
Has “Frozen” taught you any life-lessons?