It’s 2:30 in the afternoon on a recent Monday. Does your house look anything like mine?
- Crumbs are under the kitchen table.
- The countertops are covered with art supplies and snacks bags.
- The kitchen sink is full of unwashed dishes.
- The family room floor features an array of blocks, puzzle pieces, and a lone skate.
- The bathroom sink is streaked with paint.
- Glass surfaces are decorated with handprints.
- Crayons and Lego pieces are nestled in between the sofa cushions.
At that exact moment, looking around the house brings me down. I wonder if I’ll get the mess cleaned up before my husband comes home. I wonder if the dishwasher repairman will go home home and tell his wife about the crazy and messy house he worked in today. I wonder if my sweet elderly neighbor, who occasionally stops by to share some her of garden goodies with me, will recoil in fear as she surveys the colorful collage within my home.
When I head over to the sink to begin washing the breakfast and lunch dishes, I look out the window that overlooks my backyard. My three girlies and five of their friends are outside playing. It’s a hot day and they’re happily cooling off as they whiz down the Slip and Slide. They’re squealing with delight as they race around under the shade of a tree. They’re smiling as they lounge in cushioned chairs on the covered deck and chat about Minecraft and Webkinz.
Just as I finish up the dishes and consider what mess to tackle next, one of the friends comes in for a bathroom break. As he passes me by he says, “Thanks for letting us play here Mrs. Thorpe. I always feel safe and happy when I come over here. It’s like I’m at home.” At that exact moment I realize I have a happy home…a messy happy home.
Sometimes I forget that this is not the season for a spotless home. I don’t have an HGTV tour worthy home, but I do have three wonderful girls whom I love dearly. They live with me and as they live, they make messes. And though I’m saying this mostly for my benefit, I want you to hear it too. Repeat after me. It’s okay. It’s okay to have a messy happy home.
I know this flies in the face of the appearance driven society in which we live. I know it contradicts what we read in magazines and what we see on television. But we must remember, life is more than neatly folded laundry, spotless countertops, and sparkling floors. I love how King Solomon summarized the meaning of life at the end of the book of Ecclesiastes:
Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil. (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)
When Solomon speaks of hidden things, is he speaking of those lost crayons in the sofa? Is he talking about the mess under the bed? No. Solomon is warning us about our actions. He’s reminding us that God sees all and He knows whether or not we’ve lived according to His commands.
Here’s what matters most to God. Developing a relationship with His dear Son, Jesus Christ and living as Jesus lived. Last time I checked, how soon the dishes were washed wasn’t important to God. The method I used to fold the towels and how neatly I put away the laundry wasn’t a big deal to Him either. And He certainly wasn’t concerned about the dust bunnies behind the sofa.
Here’s what God is checking. Do I have a sincere relationship with Jesus Christ? Am I fulfilling the motherly duties God has assigned me? Am I loving my children as God wants me to? As I’m going through my messy day, am I taking time to teach my children about the God who loves them? Am I leading them to Him and teaching them about the importance of salvation? These are the most important things.
I’m learning to love my messy happy home and it’s because it’s a home where Christ is Lord and love abounds. So don’t fret as you look around at the mess. Instead, be thankful for that messy happy home and praise God for the children who make those messes. Take heart in knowing that the kids are having fun. Rejoice in knowing that the kids are healthy. Enjoy knowing that your home is a welcoming place full of God’s love.
Later on in the day, I’ll gather up my kids and together, we’ll clean up the day’s mess. But even if I don’t or can’t, I’ll be glad to know that God looks past the mess and peers into my heart. Yes, I have a messy home most days, but it’s happy one. And I’m proud of it…
Most of the time.
© 2014, Andrea Thorpe. All rights reserved.