Monday, March 28, 2016

From Slob to Hostess

I am not a neat person.

((I can hear my mom and sister burst into laughter))

My husband is even less so.

((I can see my MIL roll her eyes in agreement))

Put the two of us together and well, you just don't want to see it. And then add 4 miniatures of us and it's a miracle we ever see our floor or countertops!

But miraculously the floor is usually mostly visible, and the countertops don't stay covered for too long. It's an area in which God has been growing both of us.

I am learning that keeping up with the house, while sometimes it feels completely pointless, has major benefits like lowering my stress level.
Derek is learning that helping me with the housework as much as he hates it has major benefits like lowering my stress level.

But I'm not here to tell you how to overcome your inner slob. I am still quite the slob. I'm here to tell you how I hosted Easter yesterday without a single meltdown!

I'll start with an ugly truth: it was literally the very first time we had people over that I didn't lose it beforehand.

God is still in the miracle business, people!

Looking back on it, I can see a progression. I see us before kids. We lived in a tiny apartment without a dishwasher. If anyone ever came over (which was rare), I threw everything in our bedroom and told everyone to stay out of it.

I see us in our first house with one babe. It was an old house in desperate need of some updates that we couldn't afford. The fact that it was probably triple the size of our apartment only spread out the mess into more rooms and onto more countertops. We had people over more often, but still very rarely.

I see us in our rental here in Indiana with 2 babes. We didn't even unpack half our things. We lived among boxes. I was embarrassed just when someone came to the door for fear of them looking in. I think we had someone over for dinner once in the 6 months we lived there... one of Derek's homeless students.

I see us here, 5 years ago, sitting in the car outside of this beautiful home. We held hands and prayed with overwhelming thanksgiving for God's provision and excess of this house. We committed it to Him. Let me tell you, He held up His end of the deal!

My housekeeping skills have definitely improved. Derek's have too! But when I look back on all that, I see so much more than that:

1. Committing our house to the Lord has opened up opportunities for us to bless others (and be blessed!) in ways we never imagined. And that is what has made it home. We enjoy each other, and we get to work together as a family to welcome others in.

2. Recognizing that it doesn't have to be perfect has allowed me to say yes more often, invite more often, and stress less. I'm so far from arrived on this but, by God's grace, I'm getting there. I've learned over the years how much worse it is to miss out on sharing our lives with people than it is for them to accidentally see my off-limits room (when we have one, which isn't always, praise the Lord!). Am I really gonna close the door to the possibility of entertaining angels because my bathroom isn't clean, the dishes aren't done, the yogurt hasn't been scrubbed out of the carpet? No, I'm just not going to.

3. Creating the look in my home I've dreamed up on my pinterest boards takes time and money, neither of which I have much of. But opening our home shouldn't wait. Being Jesus to others doesn't require a beautifully decorated home, or even a perfectly clean one for that matter. It doesn't require you to serve a 3 course meal complete with fresh flowers making up the centerpiece. Loving people means loving people, not only where they are but also where you are! We should always be working toward improvement, but God is not waiting for your living situation to be up to par, He's waiting for YOU.

4. Finally, I see looking back all the joy that has come from inviting others in. We've been burned, taken advantage of. We've been embarrassed (ok just me. Derek couldn't care less about the cleanliness of our house!). But these things pale in knowing we are pleasing our Savior. You know the quickest way to destroy that joy? Comparison. If someone walks into your home and judges the imperfections, it's a reflection of their heart not your housekeeping. The joy is in pleasing Jesus, not in pleasing anyone else.

The tomb is empty! He is alive!
A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body; jealousy is like cancer in the bones. Proverbs 14:30
Now I see us yesterday, hosting our 5th annual Easter dinner. I don't know if we were able to bless others, but we were certainly blessed. My Aunt asked if we were sick of hosting it. Nope. Not for as long as God calls us to it.

Open up your home, imperfections and all. Take it from a recovering slob, it's worth it.
Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ. Colossians 3:23-24

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