Clean this House

When I was single, I would often look up to married women who seemed to have it all together. They knew the Lord, had Prince Charming, a couple of kids, a pet and a beautiful home. I told myself that this was a dream that could be real for me. Very early I knew that I would be a wife one day. I actually looked forward to marriage much more than even having children (which is another reason why it was about five years later). I knew that I could do this wife thing: submission, sex and cooking. What I did NOT prepare for well was the cleaning!

Now, I'm a neat person. I really am. I put things back in their places and most people are rather impressed that my home is not a pigsty considering that I have two boys that are eight and "about to be seven mom". However, my husband has one idea of cleanliness and I had another. We are both neat, but there is neat and there is "excellence". My hubby says to strive for what is excellent. We are stewards of our home and therefore it ought to be kept as unto the Lord. Well...okey dokey then. I got to work after I got home from work and from doing my homework and helping the kids with their chores and homework and doing my workout. Whew..I got tired. Fast! So we made a schedule and that was a challenge as well. My boys got messier, they ate more, people came over, they ate more...it was overwhelming to do all this work and clean afterwards, right away and in an excellent way.

Then, doors opened for ministry. Woo-Hoo! We are busy serving the Lord, so I served at home a little less. Hmm...mistake. We got busy in ministry, so I planned to clean the next day and the next day and over the weekend. What started as excellence became not even quite ok.

What I began praying for was a mentor. I needed a woman who had it all together to show me how to organize my life. It's not cool to be ministering to a broken wife with piles of dishes in the sink and your kids wearing last week's socks! I was determined to do what God had called me to do, but my priorities were all out of whack. Honestly, my heart was not in the right place. I needed to clean there first. I work for God, not any man. God reminded me (very often through my hubby's looks of disappointment) that the goal was not perfection but right priority. I sought out a woman who had it all together and could show me how to make the money, keep the hubby happy, have nutritious meals and a perfectly clean home. And guess what? I had to stop looking. She doesn't exist.

What I have learned instead is this. If I clean my house from the inside out, meaning replacing my ideas of what I should be with God's ideas, I am making God happy, and consequently, hubby too! I learned how to manage my time better from a woman who was always on time. I invited a great cook into my kitchen and gleaned from her. I follow women in ministry with clean homes. I need to see that you have Christ in first place and your primary ministry in order before I am mentored by you. I sit among great mothers with their children. Because one thing I notice is that they actually have a relationship with their children. What I am trying to convey to you is that we ALL have something to share with someone else. You have succeeded in something and instead of keeping it to yourself, you should help someone else out! The Proverbs 31 woman is the Body of Christ. She can do it all but look closely - she has help. If we are the Body of Christ, when we all help one another instead of putting our mouths on each other, we make Christ look good! It's nothing that you can accomplish on your own. So perhaps, like me, this is your struggle. Or maybe, you can relate in a different way. It really is all the same.

And guess what? God wouldn't even let me post this on Sunday as I had scheduled until i completed my mopping, did two loads of laundry and cleared the sink from our last meal. Real ministry.

Once I realized the power of community, my marriage, family and ministry changed. Now, I am in the process of teaching other women to do the same thing. Networking is a untapped power that women are afraid to use. Often we just don't trust each other. But that just shows me that there is housekeeping of the heart that needs to be done. Clean that house first and the rest will follow.


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