Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Having it All Doesn't Look Like I Thought it Would...

This afternoon I laid my girls down for their naps and was straightening the house and felt the Lord download something into me with such force that in all truth I had to sit down and pray right then and there. And now I am here, to share it with you, in hopes that you will find it as encouraging as I did.

Our oldest daughter, Olivia, just turned 5 this summer. She is bright, beautiful, sweet, and loves life in general, finding no greater joy than in the happiness of those around her, and in the Lord. Lately, she has hit some pretty big milestones, one of them being voluntary assistance around the house. She likes to set the table, help put away the dishes, make the beds, fold the towels when they come out of the dryer, all these things and many more. Being 5, her joy and willingness to do this is still more on her terms and timing than ours, but we're learning to work with it, and 'take advantage' of and encourage her in it when presented.

This being said, my home is starting to look a bit different than the pottery barn catalog picture I'd prefer it to resemble after a day of cleaning. Here is where I got hit today. The girls spent part of the morning folding the towels, but I hadn't gotten a chance to put them away yet, so after laying them all down, it was my first 'to-do' on the list. Let me tell you, every part of me looked at them and wanted to refold them. Not because I didn't appreciate the time and effort that had been put into them at all, but because my knee-jerk reaction to things is to 'fix' them to fit into my little control freakish preferences and appearances. I started to do just that, justifying my actions by telling myself how much nicer they'd all fit into our limited linen closet space, and things like that. But I was WRONG. Just as I picked up a stack to 'fix,' I really felt the Lord ask me what the point of having my daughter help was if I was just going to show her that her efforts weren't good enough?

OUCH. But, very true. How often do we encourage our little ones to help, but then tell them that it wasn't help enough? When they're older, there is a definite refining of skill that should come, but at this age, no way. Either I want to train my daughter to joyfully serve the members of her household or I don't. Either I will teach her that even the slightest efforts can be greatly appreciated or I won't. They are so tender, so impressionable, so fragile at this age, and they're hanging on every word of discouragement or affirmation that we give them.

When I had Olivia, right then I knew that my goal now was to aim toward being that Proverbs 31 wife not only for my {and my husband's} sake, but for hers as well. Because she would be watching me, learning from me - learning to serve joyfully or begrudgingly - or not at all. Then God gave us 2 more daughters and that desire only increased. I want my daughters to learn to be women who serve and care for their households willingly and JOYFULLY, and that starts here, now.

With a changed heart, I now peer into my linen closet rejoicing over folded towels that don't look like they came from a hotel housekeeping closet, but rather were pridefully presented by the hands of my tender-hearted 5 year old little girl who was beaming at the opportunity to help, and I beam just as brightly with pride. I look at their beds, made by my daughter, at the blankets laying nicely, but not tucked in, and rather than wish I could just get in there and 'fix' them, I also notice the loving way she arranged her dolls and lovies, and her sisters as well. Already taking so much pride in her efforts, already so willing to serve - who am I to discard that as nothing? As a mom, it is EVERYTHING.

Sometimes 'having it all' doesn't look like we thought it would, sometimes we have to look a bit harder and with adjusted vision to see that we've really arrived at one of those moments. But the peace and joy that comes with such a realization is so incredible, amazing, and motivating. I know there are so many things to come - lessons to learn and trials to face - but in this moment, right here and now, I feel like I have it all, and it feels awesome.

Until next time, I'll still be laughing,
Crystle