The snow swirled briskly outside as four of my daughters joyfully and very excitedly left the house, in a bit of a rush, to spend the day at grampa’s sledding. As the big black truck pulled out of our snow-covered driveway, I picked up Leia, our youngest daughter (for yet another month) and gave her a squeeze. It was just the two of us, for most of this cold, blustery day. The house, toasty warm from the woodstove, and bread rising on the counter, soup simmering on the stove … Leia and I had the house to ourselves. I trimmed her hair, together we mopped up the leftover muddy snowy footprints from her sisters and washed the breakfast dishes. Leia played and chatted away beside me …
Having five children, homeschooling, just living life together, can be rather messy sometimes … top that off with being very pregnant and not able to do as much as I would like, often days, I find it can seem discouraging to get it all done – just getting homeschooling done can be tricky if little ones do not nap or if my well-planned schedule gets interrupted, which it often does.
But this week, I read a devotional and it helped me change my thinking ….
Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean,
but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.
—Proverbs 14:4 ESV
What is this scripture saying? No, we’re not referring to our children as livestock – however, it paints a picture of a clean tidy barn without an ox and without a crop. The second barn is messy but has life, it has an ox, it has abundant crops. A success, in the eyes of a farmer, I would imagine.
Sometimes, in order to accomplish something (for example, raising children, homeschooling, creating a godly environment in the home, investing in the eternal) can mean a mess ensues. Snowsuits are soggy, pencils are missing, dishes need washing, laundry needs hanging, devotions need reading, sick children need soothing, dinners need prepping, bills need paying , the family vehicle needs cleaning (oh yes, we just tackled that this weekend – long overdue!)… and of course, floors need sweeping … all. the. time.
But if we look at our messy, slightly chaotic lives, our fridges covered with pictures drawn with markers and love, and our piles of scattered homeschooling to do lists and dreams, and our full arms of laundry and bedding after a week of the flu, I pray that we see our hearts are full, as well. Please don’t read this that you don’t have to clean your home (I’m a huge fan of a clean home and some order among the chaos!) but rather, just a suggestion to see the good in the messy as it unravels before our eyes …
“Having children makes our lives messy.
It makes our schedules chaotic. It makes our floors dirty.
It makes our homes unkempt.
But in exchange for all of that disorder, we get them.
When we willingly take the trade-off—
the messy life of motherhood instead of the clean barn that comes without children—
we trade up for the promise of productivity in God’s kingdom.”
All that being said, it was too quiet today. I miss my girls when they are gone! I know they are having a grand ol’ time with their grandparents so that makes me happy – in the meantime, I’m very glad there is a little someone following me closely and helping to make more mess in my life, in turn, reminding me of God’s promise of an eternal investment!