I meant to stop and take a real life picture of my kitchen/dining room this morning but I ran out of time. Let me give you a little word picture instead. I had made a feeble attempt to dust mop the floors, but the pile of dirt, hair and leaves remained in a heap in front of our fireplace for at least two days along with the mop. The final step of actually sweeping it up alluded me.
Our dining room table is covered with papers from the kids, dried up, spilled food chunks and sticky juice glasses that hadn’t yet made it to the dishwasher. The kitchen island wasn’t any better, cluttered with books and toys and papers….it was all threatening to overtake me.
A few days ago I was voxing with my best friend about the work God had done in my life, the dramatic changes He had done in my spirit from the really awful year of 2015 into early 2016. It was ugly and if you thought things were ok then I did a good job of wearing my “I’ve got it all together mask on” well. The reality was I was holding on by a thread for months.
But God. There was some really hard heart work that took place during that time. Some letting go of the things that had held me in chains and I did find freedom because of it. But it doesn’t mean that I am perfect! By no means!
I still need grace, I am constantly learning how to give and receive grace every day.
Case in point. This week has been brutal and it is only Wednesday. We have more final delivery meetings at work this week than we normally schedule, and it has kept us at the office longer in the evenings than we would like. We are getting some new carpet in the office space that we lease next week but as an agreement to get this done, we committed to the removal of the old carpet ourselves. That is happening this weekend. Isaac is coming back home to help and since he will be home for the first time in a long time we are sneaking family pictures in there somewhere.
And it is going to snow and be cold and windy….but that is for another post.
I have been stressed. Overwhelmed really and feeling like we are just barely hanging on to keep everything in order so that we can accomplish all that we have on the calendar in the next few weeks.
I share all of that to give you some background to why I had a mini nervous breakdown a couple of times this week. Yes it IS only Wednesday. On Monday night I got home at 7:20pm. Our evening delivery went longer than we hoped and when I arrived home I discovered that the kids had not even eaten supper despite the fact that there was a crockpot full of warm soup ready and waiting for them.
Something about that set me off. I just was so mad. It was bedtime and they hadn’t eaten. Karlena had not read her book, we needed to practice spelling words and the house looked as I described above. I think at this point all sanity went out the window as I started to stomp around. I’m not kidding either. I really was throwing a fit, ask my kids, they will attest to it!
I opened up the recycling drawer and the two cans were overflowing….”I guess I will take these out myself”, I said. “And I will do all the dishes, and all the laundry…and I make dinner and you don’t eat it. And everyone leaves all their junk all over the place and no one cleans it up…”
Stomp, stomp, stomp…
It was pathetic really, the kids started to get food and Gabe hauled out the recycling. I went into the laundry room to fold something and calm down. While I do think that at times my kids struggle with a bit of selfishness and not recognizing how easy they have things…they really are great kids.
I knew that I was tired and stressed and I was taking it out on them. So I marched back into the kitchen to apologize. Moms make mistakes too. I told them how sorry I was, explained that it had been a rough day at work, but that wasn’t an excuse and I shouldn’t take it out on them.
We also set a new rule that in those times that I do have to work late, that they will all eat together at the same time, at dinner time, because I always make sure on nights like that there is something ready and easy for them to eat.
Here’s the reality though and something I need to remind myself again and again. While I can teach our kids about being responsible and taking care of their things and putting things away…they will not ever care about the tidiness of our home like I do. I never did as a child! I can place something on the stairs and expect that they carry it up…and then get angry each day that passes that they walk past it unbothered by it.
Isn’t it easier if I just say please carry that up to your rooms?! They do, it’s done and I don’t have a reason to allow a resentment to fester. Sometimes I set myself up for problems by not communicating my expectations well!!
Monday night I needed grace. I am sure that tonight and tomorrow and into this busy weekend full of furniture moving and carpet ripping…I will need grace. I need to be willing to freely give it to others and grateful when they are gracious back to me.
And when I voxed my friend on Tuesday I laughed as I recounted the horrors of the night before. How funny it was that I had talked up all the ways I had changed and then how completely downhill the evening had gone just hours later.
But the difference I am starting to see is that I am not holding on to the anger for days on end. Yes I used to do that. It was awful and miserable and thankfully I am quick to recognize when I have failed and much quicker to apologize. God has done a work in me and while I am not perfected, I am a work in progress and that is a gift.
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