It’s been a long, busy, stressful week. I decided to start cleaning my own house about 4 months ago (I’ve had a housekeeper come in every 2 weeks for the last several years), I am working on Thursday from 9-12, in addition to my other 3 days in the office, and there is just not enough time for me to be my lazy self and my productive self. Add to that mix the need to be on the treadmill at least 25 minutes a day/4 days a week, and the added meal-prep time that healthy eating requires, well….suffice to say that my house is suffering.
My younger brother gave me a sign one year for a birthday gift, and it fits me perfectly. The sign says: “Martha doesn’t live here, and that’s a good thing.” Now that sign can be taken 2 ways:
#1–Martha Stewart, the ultimate home diva/interior decorater/crafty lady, does not live in my house, and that’s obvious because of the state of my house. My dining room table, which is a beautiful piece of furniture, shiny wood with a gorgeous grain, has not seen daylight in ohhh, maybe the entire 9 years we’ve lived here. I keep a tablecloth on it at all times, because this is the catchall place. This is the place that everything gets dropped off, and with 3 sons and 2 parents, that’s a lot of stinking stuff. I clean it off, and stuff comes back. About every 6 months, I completely clear it off because I have company coming and it needs to be used for its original purpose: To eat on.
Way taken #2: Martha doesn’t live in my house, and that’s a good thing because I obviously couldn’t tolerate living at DEFCON GUEST 1 for the rest of my life. I hosted a small group Bible study group for several years here at our home…I so totally freaked out on the Sunday afternoon before the first one at our house, that the kids would have “Heil, Hitlered” me if they’d known the reference. No lie. I was a whirling dervish, hiding things in my closet, pushing crap under rugs and into any unoccupied space I could find. I was totally freaking out at the mess and couldn’t believe I would have people over with my house not “Martha” perfect.
Well, Hubs said, “If this is what we are going to have to go through every time we have this at our house, then don’t volunteer for this again.” That struck home. That’s why some of our church’s other small groups failed; they kept getting ritzier and more complicated and harder to accomplish with food and such.
We decided that we’d bring what we’d have on hand, and we wouldn’t have a theme, we’d just bring whatever…and we always had enough. I told them to eat dinner before hand, and we would do desserts. And listen, those Sunday night small group meetings, those were the bomb. And yes, I still had my dining room table completely covered with crap, and my floors were messy and my house was not perfect…but my heart wanted to be with my brothers and sisters, and I kept 1 Peter 4:8-9 in my mind: “Above all, love one another deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.”
Which leads to me to two points…
#1…what are you missing out on just because of a “messy house”? As believers, we should love one another, and love covers a multitude of sin, right? Open your heart and home to someone today. We have company all the time, and trust me, my house is never “Martha Lives Here” perfect. But God is perfect, and my desire to fellowship is stronger than my discomfort over the state of my house. Now my bathrooms are clean and my kitchen is picked up, but my small group peeps never cared about the state of my house, really. We just loved being together.
Point #2…Hubs and I made a deal when we got married: he would do all the outdoor work and I would do all the indoor work, and life would be grand. We have stuck to that pretty well since 2001, with very few problems, until I let go the housekeeper and started working more. We have had some serious things come up lately, that have taken up more of my time also. Today, after working at church for 5 hours to prepare for VBS, I came home planning my cleaning strategy and how to accomplish everything I needed to do before Caboose’s bday party he’d been invited to.
I came in the house, and noticed that the dishes were done. Then I noticed that the crumbs were vacuumed out of the floor, then I noticed the floors were clean. And then I heard a voice say…”Show the boys how to clean the bathrooms before you leave, one will do the hall bath and the other the boy’s bath”. Yall….I had to literally hold myself back from just attacking him right then. Men…if you really want to get your wives’ love and affection, notice what they do and help them accomplish it.
I fell more in love with my husband and my life today. He knew how stressed I have been about the house and all I have had going on, and he really stepped up today. Is our marriage perfect? No, not by a long shot. But are we perfect for each other? Absolutely. Martha doesn’t live here, and that’s a good thing. Because Tina does, and she is just fine.