I love running our home. I love keeping our home clean and hopefully functioning smoothly and for my limited artistic ability, I do love trying to make it beautiful.
And recently I've been reminded of a dear friend's daughter who, when she was 2 or 3 y.o., obsessed over her dollhouse. She would tell her mom sometimes while they were out of the house, "Mama, the doll's feet are on the floor and her hand is on the shelf and she's standing by the couch and the couch is on the bed and the bed has bananas on it."
Now our own girl plays with her tea party the exact same way- she set things out on the window sill and sometime serves up a ball on a cup (an ice cream cone of course) or cars in plates and bowls or sometimes we eat books.
And no one is allowed to touch it. She's got it just right and she has it memorized, so don't even try to budge those things one inch.
We are trying to teach her to be generous in sharing and open-handed in how she serves, and we are headed that direction but not there yet. And shouldn't I model those characteristics in how I run our home?
Sadly, sometimes I act like parts of my home (actually... ours) can't be messed with one little bit either. (There is some truth in this, but it can't be the overarching rule of our home.) I know I have precious friends who probably cuddle their kids and laugh with their kids more than I do because I'm vainly wiping up the floor again.... and I know I'm not even as neat a neat freak as I could be. But still...
There's a difference between these toy houses, toy tea parties, and our home, our table. One is where you play. One is where we live. And while play can sometimes be messy, living almost always is.
I do believe this, and at the same time I am also deeply committed to teaching our kids to be neat, to pick up after themselves, to be respectful of others and helpful with chores... but who am I fooling? 4 kids, 5 and under~ if our home is mostly spotless one day, I think I've probably missed out on much better things.
After sharing about her teenage son's appearance at church with mismatched shoes, my dear friend Ann wrote:
I haven’t got anything together and I can stop looking for some hidden door that’s going to someday open up to my real, perfect life and I can stop waiting and I can start laughing praise, because this wondrous mess, this is it.
This IS it. We live here... in this "wondrous mess."
Lord, would you make our lives full of your exuberant joy! Please teach me to be relaxed about messiness and diligent to serve when I should. Please help me to train our sweetheart kiddos to also be diligent and respectful and to value cleanliness and FUN in healthy proportions... so that your joy, Full LIFE in you, might be evidently displayed in our well-lived in (and hopefully decently clean - tidy) home and in our smiles and laughter and (hopefully some) quiet pleasures every day.