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Posts Tagged ‘cleaning’

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Twenty years.  That’s how long Mr. Rodeheaver and I have loved each other.  Today is our 17 year wedding anniversary and I could not be more in love.

There were many years where I could not have imagined our marriage being what it is today.  I can say with all honesty and without exaggeration that it is better now than ever before.  This is the result of a faithful God and a faithful husband.

I spent the past week cleaning the house.  School is out – homeschool, that is, where mom is always home but never able to get anything done – and cheer season is over.  Finally, I had time to do all those jobs I never get around to.  Cleaning out drawers, closets and bookshelves, scrubbing floors, baseboards, and walls, and, my personal favorite, throwing away everything that isn’t nailed down.

House cleaning is not my favorite job.  There are only two reasons I clean: 1. I can no longer function due to the chaos happening around me 2. My husband told me to.  If it was not for Mr. Rodeheaver’s consistent reminders about doing “my job” I honestly might be featured on the next episode of “Hoarders.”

It is because of my husband’s unwillingness to overlook or ignore sin in my life that I have grown in the areas that are most difficult for me to find success in.  Because he neither fears telling me the truth nor accepts any nonsensical excuses I make that keep me from being better, I have no choice but to grow.  He understands my potential and he accepts nothing less than my best.

Twenty years is a long time to be learning something.  Most would have given up instructing and encouraging me a long time ago.  Love never fails, though.  Tim’s faithfulness to me extends far beyond dinners out and depositing paychecks.  Tim’s faithfulness to me is often found in his consistent correction in the things I figure out how to continuously fail at.  Housecleaning is just one example.  We can also add cooking, planning, spending, and eating, just to name a few.

If I am honest I would have to say I fail a lot in almost every area of my life in some way.  We all do.  Fortunately life is not a competition against anyone besides ourselves.  If I am better today than I was yesterday, that is progress.  It is a reason to celebrate.  It does not mean I won’t regress and fail again tomorrow.  It means I have victory today and I have a faithful voice to correct me again tomorrow, if need be.  I can think of no greater blessing.  Faithful love instructs, encourages, corrects, and forgives.

If any one of those elements is missing, I would be hard-pressed to call it faithful love with any amount of confidence.  Things I would call it may be idolatry, selfishness, fear, or resentment.  These are what love is not.

Idolatry.  Idolatry worships.  When we make someone an idol, we only encourage and forgive.  Idolatry lacks the ability to instruct and correct appropriately.

Selfishness.  Selfish relationships only do what is best for self – not the other.  They may instruct, encourage, correct, or forgive, but all things are done only in one’s own interests depending on which manipulative action will give them – not the other – the most satisfaction.

Fear.  Fear is not found in true love.  The Bible says,  There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” One who fears in a relationship will never correct or instruct appropriately.  They may not encourage or forgive, either, depending on what kind of fear they are entertaining.

Resentment.  Resentment is when a person only corrects and instructs but never encourages or forgives.  Resentment is not a characteristic of true love.

Faithful love instructs, encourages, corrects, and forgives.  Love is not idolatry, selfishness, fear, or resentment.  If I am honest, I would have to say that over the course of our marriage, I have fallen prey to all of these things which are not love at one time or another.  Thankfully, true love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.  Thankfully, I have a husband who sent this message to me first thing this morning:

text

Love covers a multitude of sins.  We fail but love never does.  Keep loving no matter what else happens.  I will leave you with a few verses from the song we chose as ours in May, 1997 and has been true of our lives:

Better than I was
More than I am
And all of this happened
By taking your hand
And who I am now
Is who I wanted to be
And now that we’re together
I’m stronger than ever, I’m happy and free

Oh, it’s a beautiful thing
Don’t think I can keep it all in
And if you ask me why I’ve changed
All I gotta do is say your sweet name

It’s your love
It just does something to me
It sends a shock right through me
I can’t get enough
And if you wonder
About the spell I’m under
Oh it’s your love

~Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, It’s Your Love, May, 1997

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housew

I have always been one to point at Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet and justify my lack of Martha skills.  Clearly, Jesus liked Mary’s idea better, right?  He even said so!  Well, I’d like to think I can hold onto that day in and day out but I really don’t think Jesus quite meant for that.  Just look at Easter time.  We all want to worship Jesus on this most important day of the Christian calendar, but if I’m stuck in prayer and my Bible all day who is going to bake the ham, set the table, and run the sweeper?  I need my Martha to balance my overwhelming Mary-mindedness.

Everyone knows that if you want to improve your game, you play with others who are better than you.

Housecleaning has never been my strong suit.  If you want to be the next Martha, don’t watch me.  It’s not that I don’t know how.  It’s that it is not my favorite thing to do.  I can always seem to find something more “urgent” to attend to.  I don’t feel like I’m very good at it.  I’ve never really been taught about how to be a good stay at home mom.  Has anyone, really?  I mean, unless your mother is a Martha, the answer is probably no.  In short, obtaining the discipline needed to keep up on daily housework is difficult for me.  (Let me just add that I thank God every day that my mom spent more time with me than with her feather duster.)

Nevertheless, when the shoe closet begins to overflow with too small shoes and I find myself picking hordes of dog hair off of my tights after sitting on the couch, I start to freak out.

I got to thinking about this adult life long issue and I consider the fact that maybe, just maybe, I have never really given housework my all.  And don’t get me wrong, I definitely do not think it is the most important thing…obviously.  If it is between reading a storybook to my kids or teaching them about the Bible, I will drop the mop faster than you can say Dr. Seuss.  But, if I am honest, our home is quite possibly the whole of the world around them. If I do not serve them well in it, I am not serving them well.

I am reminded of a home economics hospitality class I attended a few years ago.  Afterward, I was anxious and excited to try new ideas and wow my family with special napkin folds, new recipes, and unique organization.  I had been taught some basic housewarming ideas from an experienced expert and she was, believe it or not, excited about housework.

It got me to thinking about how sometimes we lazy humans just need a good example.  We don’t need more condescending voices telling us how we must do thus and so better or how miserably we’re failing.  We already know that part.  We don’t need another 12 step guide to the galaxy.  On the contrary, we often need an expert to simply take the time to show us how; give us some fresh, new ideas on how to go about it; exemplify doing that unappealing “job” in a very appealing and energetic way.  We need someone to help our perspective on the given task from “I have to” into “I get to” do this thing.  Yeah, adults need pep talks, too.

When I think of how many people think about their spiritual life like I think about my housework, it saddens me.  I compare my notes.  I hear so many Christians say things like, “I don’t read the Bible because I don’t understand it or get anything out of it” or  “I wish I could trust God and stop worrying about everything.”  Many people seem to feel overwhelmed and defeated before they even begin on the road to real growth and maturity – just like me in the toy-strewn living room.

  When anxiety, anger, frustration, impatience and spiritual dryness begin to take their toll like old shoes and dog hair, we know we need to go to God some way.  But how?

I have learned that if I am going to clean and beautify my home effectively, I’m going to have to do it one room at a time.  Step by step; begin at the beginning; build a foundation upon the basics I already know and then get more advanced.  If we’re dealing in spiritual terms that means one prayer at a time, one verse at a time, being purposeful to spend time with strong, experienced, mature believers, watching them, asking advice and taking it, gleaning from their wisdom, asking questions, studying their spiritual disciplines and then doing our own.

One thing I should mention is that the lady who taught the class on hospitality was not only very excited and interested in her craft – she was also very willing and available to share it.  Helping other Christians grow in their love for the Lord requires more than a good example.  It requires openness, transparency, and willingness to sacrifice our own time in order to share our gifts with others.  I believe this is the single most important trait of any good leader.

My husband owns a specialty car garage and he is an expert.  He is not only an expert, though.  He loves his trade.  He shares his trade.  He answers questions constantly, makes time for every customer and tours them around showing them what he does, how he does it, and why he does it these very particular ways.  That is why he is successful.  He gives others a sense of belonging and excitement about what he is doing.

Back to my housework, though.  A few years removed from my Martha in the flesh experience, I am back to square one.  No one goes to a one time class and becomes an expert and let me tell ya, the thrill wears off.  I need a boost.  I look up hospitality on the internet.  I ask friends for fresh ideas.  I scour pinterest.  What it really comes down to, though, is whether or not I’m willing to give it my all.  If the answer is no, I will stay stalled, frustrated, and overwhelmed by that which I have no real desire to accomplish.  I have to actively push in to the things I’d rather pull out of sometimes simply because they are the right things.

I hope if you are spiritually stalled, you will do the same.  Ask yourself if you have really given it your all and do not be surprised how much better at it you are than you originally thought when you do.

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