Awhile back, I remember standing in my kitchen one late-fall morning right after breakfast, watching the morning sun stream in from the windows in the morning room across from me. I felt a warm feeling of contentment; I love that time of day, when my home is just lit up with the beautiful sunshine, warm and bright, and the day is fresh before us. And then, as I looked down, I remember seeing handprints on my oven door. And streams of dried juice running down the front of the fridge. And smudges and nose prints on the windows I just cleaned a few days ago. And crumbs under the table, and lost puffs and cheerios hiding out in the high chair. Contentment evaporated, enter exasperation!
My first thought was to break out the cleaning stuff right then and there and erase all those marks and smudges and wipe up the dust so I could keep my contented feeling going. But then, I stopped and thought. Every smudge, every nose point, every juice trail is a testament of God’s faithfulness and a tally of the blessings in my life. I prayed and prayed and cried out to my Father for these things — children and a home of my own, full of life. I absolutely love a clean home, and feel like I function so much better when everything is as it should be, but why should I be in such a hurry to wipe away these reminders? This is the stuff of my old dreams, little noses pressed to windows, waiting for the first glimpse of daddy coming home. Juice trails on the fridge and floor because someone was squealing in delight as her big sister chased her and dropped her cup. Dust from having the windows open to catch the last beautiful fall breezes, curtains dancing in the wind. Crumbs from lunches with healthy, hungry little ones all around my table.
This morning I was reading Joshua, and the account of how God parted the Jordan river so that the Israelite soldiers could cross over on their way to Jericho. As they were crossing, God instructed Joshua to tell a man from each of the 12 tribes to carry with him a stone from the riverbed, and that on the opposite shore, they were to set up a monument of those 12 stones, so that every time the Israelites saw them, they would remember the moment of His faithfulness, and tell their children about the miracle of the Jordan. Just like I value the stretch marks across my belly because they remind me of the miracles I was blessed to hold inside my body, I want to change my perscpective to value these life marks in my home as signs of the wonders of God. I will still clean them, of course, but first I will adjust my perspective as the light hits them, and say prayers of gratitude for the blessings of God.
As a lot of moms do, I get caught up in the to-do’s and wonder why my daily tasks of mothering and homemaking don’t always feel miraculous, but lately, my heart has learned that sometimes the mess is the answered prayer. The mess is all a part of the miracle, and one more thing to serve as a monument to draw our hearts back to our Father, and recite again the record of His loving faithfulness to us!
Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations,Deuteronomy 7:9