Every day. I dreaded it.
Cheerios mixed with dried spaghetti sauce plastered on the kitchen floor.
Books scattered everywhere.
My hubby's socks. (*Hehe, for more on that story, check out my post about it here...)
It was never-ending. And I despised every minute of it. I could be doing SUCH bigger and better things for God like writing songs on the piano, counseling a friend's broken heart over coffee, creating a sermon, planning a church event, something... anything outside of cleaning where I could change the world.
Ehem. Cue the humble pie.
I remember the exact day I was scrubbing dishes with disdain looking out the backyard window. My attitude smelled about as awful as the dirty plates in my hand. "I am wasting my time cleaning this house day after day when I could be doing something of actual worth in Your Kingdom, God!" I muttered under my coffee-stained breath.
As quickly as the words tumbled out of my heart I heard a still, soft voice whisper, "Oh my child, but you are."
That moment began the long and winding path my heart would take through the jungles of humility and servanthood in my home. That moment sparked a fire in my bones that would soon engulf my attitude and change it for the better. What was left became ashes of beauty... as I began to lean into cleaning.
I've loved being a stay-at-home homeschooling mom from day one. Not one person coaxed or forced me into this lifestyle, I felt God calling me to it from day one. There was no doubt about that. But the cleaning part... well... that didn't come so naturally.
Oh I could clean, that wasn't the problem. I could clean like nobody's business (thanks to my mom and Bible college practical training work assignments). The problem was my attitude. Every minute spent scrubbing and folding and dusting and vacuuming and organizing felt like moments lost for the Kingdom.
But the Kingdom starts right here, in my family, my house, my heart.
I felt the Lord impress upon my heart that if I couldn't serve my own family with a heart of gratefulness and humility, how was I equipped to serve God's people outside of my home?
Now don't get me wrong, my husband bears a huge part of the load in taking care of our home. He cooks, cleans, fixes things around the house, puts the kids to bed, wakes up with them in the night, yadda yadda. But as a homeschool mom, there is much to be done during the day while my husband is at work. We take turns, which is such a blessing, but I was disgruntled when my turn came.
It was like a lightbulb clicked on inside my head that day and suddenly I could see the light. Why not embrace and lean into my cleaning roles instead of fight against and resent them? Why not use those hours to better my relationship with the Lord, encourage my mothering heart, and seek direction and inspiration for ministry? Why was serving my family not ministry in my eyes? Why was cleaning inside a different box in my head than homeschooling or loving my children?
I realized that I had a plethora of tools at my disposal to help my cleaning routine that women all around the world do not have access to in regards to technology. I then started listening to my audio Bible app, podcasts, sermons, music, and audiobooks while I cleaned. After a few days, it dawned on me that I was actually beginning to look forward to my cleaning routines. My heart would sing, "It's almost time to soak in God's Word and listen to my favorite podcasts!" I liken it to an animal performing tricks at the sound of a bell or hand signal from a trainer knowing full well a delightful treat is on its way. My hard work would be rewarded by time spent with my Creator and buckets full of knowledge and wisdom attained! I would end my cleaning sessions encouraged and challenged in my walk with God and I began to actually feel sad when it was time to stop cleaning.
Hold up. Shut the front door. Can you even believe it? Feel sad that cleaning time was over? Who was this woman I was becoming???
I cherish the feeling when my husband and kids walk into a clean and organized room and they feel at peace. Not only was that room disinfected and decluttered, but it was filled with God's words through Bible reading and music. I was soaking our home in the presence of God and prayer while scrubbing the physical dirt off. I was declaring God's promises while wiping the grime and dust away.
I know it sounds silly and a bit cliqué, my friends. But it worked. And oh... how my heart has changed.
My prayer for you, dear one, is that you can lean into your work, your responsibilities and obligations with gratitude and praise as you dedicate it to the One Who gave you breath. Our earthly work may not be our favorite, but we can ask Jesus to change our hearts and attitudes in order to fully embrace the joy and mundane beauty of it all.