Saturday, February 10, 2018

Lean into cleaning


Every day. I dreaded it.

Dishes.

Laundry.

Cheerios mixed with dried spaghetti sauce plastered on the kitchen floor.

Cluttered toys.

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?

Conviction. Boom.

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. 





Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Light the Night

Our little jaguar, Spiderman, and Olaf had a blast trick-or-treating tonight with dear friends while Danny and I helped with our church's Halloween outreach. It is SO simple and yet SO amazing at the same time! We hand out hot chocolate and candy to the kids and parents as they walk through the park trick-or-treating. The atmosphere is so light-hearted and friendly as we chit-chat with old and new friends while they stop to warm up with their hot chocolate. It is a great way to bless our community and get face-to-face conversations and smiles. 

My kids helped me prepare the night before by stuffing bags with candy and tracts sharing the gospel message in a fun and kid-centered way. We watched "When Calls the Heart" on Netflix while we worked and prayed that God would show His love and truth to each and every child who would read the words in the pamphlet. 

My husband and I have been serving together in ministry since we started dating over 12 years ago. Nothing makes my heart beat faster than serving alongside my best friend and the love of my life. Days like today make my heart happy. 

I hope you can help Light the Night in your community in the future if God leads you too!



























 






 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

33

I can't help but giggle thinking of Taylor Swift's song "22" as I slide into year 33. What was I doing when I was 22? I was a newlywed, first-time homeowner in a new town far away from anything familiar, and was working diligently to figure out my new role as a youth pastor's wife. 33 brings me to our 11th year of marriage, three beautiful children, our second home, a role of a senior pastor's wife, and a slew of life lessons learned and new friends to boot.


In honor of my 33rd birthday, I would like to share 33 of my most favorite life lessons learned thus far (in no particular order)...

  1.  Humility goes a long way.
  2.  Make time for your close friends, even if you think you are too busy.
  3.  You can never encourage others enough.
  4.  Spending time in nature is food for the soul.
  5. Make time for quiet. No music, no media, no talking. Don't be afraid to face your fears and your hurts. Don't drown your feelings with being busy.
  6. Continually remind yourself that you are uniquely you, so don't compare yourself to others or copy their version of themselves.
  7. Cheer others on in their accomplishments. Their successes won't mirror yours, and that's ok. 
  8. Saying, "I'm sorry," and "Help me understand," can be some of the most key phrases in a relationship.
  9. Make sure to find a way to laugh every day. It does wonders.
  10. Give yourself some credit and grace.
  11. Give others the benefit of the doubt. You never know what kinds of battles they are facing.
  12. Train your mind to think praiseworthy and loving thoughts throughout the day. Negative thoughts and angry words are birthed from habit.
  13. Don't be afraid to spend time with others you don't agree with and read articles that differ from your opinions. Take the time to learn the "other side" of your thought process and imagine walking a mile in someone else's shoes for a day.
  14. Devote your life to making the lives of others better. It's simple really.
  15. Give money away in different ways. Steward your finances well so that you can freely give when you see a need tugging at your heart.
  16. Be honest with God. He already knows the truth anyways. He can handle it.
  17. Trust God. He has a way of working things out over time, but you have to be patient.
  18. Check off the items from your bucket list. It's exhilarating.
  19. Forgive even if no apology was given. 
  20. Investing in others requires sacrifice. It's not going to be easy. But it's worth it.
  21. Listening to audiobooks can transform your cleaning routine! You might actually look forward to it.
  22. Creating something, whether it's art, a song, a letter, a poem, a book, a photograph, whatever it may be, can be therapy for the soul.
  23. The longer you are married, the more you think alike and literally can finish each others' sentences. 
  24. It's not possible to perfectly balance your life. Some things will fall through the cracks. You just have to prioritize and make sure the important things in life don't get ignored.
  25. Friendships change. It's ok. Some people come into our lives for a season. Some stay forever. You never know who is going to stay so keep opening up your heart. 
  26. Listen to your body. It will break if you don't.
  27. Cooking from scratch can be daunting. If it seems too difficult at first then just pick 5 meals and practice them like crazy. After a while you can add a few more. Don't expect yourself to be a gourmet chef overnight. 
  28. Invite people over to your home. They are not expecting magazine worthy perfection. Warm hospitality is what people are longing for, not Pier 1.
  29. Constantly push yourself to learn more. Read books and articles, ask questions. Don't let your comfort zone keep you from seeing what's on the other side. 
  30. Spend time in God's Word and in His presence, even if you don't feel like it. Discipline leads to desire. There will be dry times and there will be moments of depth. Press on through them all.
  31. If you can't say something nice, then don't say anything at all. 
  32. You can always decide to add more to a conversation, but you can never take back words already spoken. 
  33. Be willing to admit you don't know everything. Be a learner.