In a blog recently I read:
“Every woman’s home is an expression of who she is–her values, her faith, her relationships.” (http://everthinehome.com/
I find this statement to be true. Yet, I struggle so deeply with it. Especially as a newlywed woman with a husband in seminary and we’re trying to pay off college loans and several other debts. My home is simple, the hand-me-down couch from my parents, the focal point in my living room, is worn in from over 15 years of wear and tear, cat clawing, and flopping down my tired body after a long day. I’ve spent countless hours strewn out on that couch crying out in desperation to God for my family, for my friends, for myself. I’ve spent hours of deep, intimate conversations with the man I love, hours of belly laughs with my closest of friends as I’ve opened my home to them for a meal or even a Skype conversation, and hours of deep, sweet sleep curled up with both of my kitties contentedly pressed up against my chest.
You know how sometimes you walk into a woman’s home and you’re just awed by how put together and neatly decorated it is? Maybe it’s just me, but I walk into a home like that and I just stop and take it all in (with deep respect) and then I begin to wonder if I’ll EVER be able to have a house that put together.
It frustrates me. Now, let me clarify, I mean absolutely NO disrespect whatsoever to the women who are able to have this type of home. I recognize there may be a time in my life when such goals can be accomplished, it’s just not at this present time.
This is my couch right now as I type this – no filters, no cleaning up. I’m being completely open and vulnerable here. This is an accurate description of me. Look closely and you’ll see a plate leftover from my breakfast this morning (it’s currently only 10:00!), two shirts my husband and I won at the Texas State Fair yesterday, a blanket, Bath and Body Works Stress Relief lotion, a book for minister’s wives, my binder for a class for minister’s wives I’m taking at Southwestern Seminary, a historical fiction novel based in the 1920s (my favorite era in history), my 2007 MacBook Pro, my iPad mini, a prayer journal for my husband along with The Power of A Praying Wife book, a prayer journal for my friends, and a hand drawn card I’m working on for a friend of mine that I feel like needs some encouragement. And lastly, but most DEFINITELY not least, my sweet, sweet (but HUGE!) kitty named Frankie.
None of this is staged. It’s just what’s strewn about on my couch right now. It’s life. It’s life being lived. If someone walked into my house right now, they might be shocked by the slight disarray of my couch and living room. (My Bible is open on the armrest of the chair beside my couch.) And yet, they’d get a pretty accurate expression of me just from that right there.
So, maybe it’s not always about the decorations or having it together. Maybe it’s about being real with people. Maybe it’s about living life together. I mean, I see merit in both. A woman like me NEEDS homes like the above described that are neatly decorated and put together. It keeps this newlywed thinking, keeps me aspiring and dreaming. It’s a place where I find order and rest. Perhaps, a woman whose home is neatly decorated and put together needs my home to encourage her, perhaps to even make her feel like she’s in a home where she can rest and relax. I really don’t know about the latter, but I’d like to think it’s true.
You know what’s funny about this? Before I go to bed at night, I clean up my living room from the day’s events – I pick up books and neatly stack them or put them in my backpack, I fluff the pillows, make sure the cushions are pushed back and fluffed, and I fold up the blanket. That way, each morning is a new day, a new mess. Because let’s face it. Life is messy. Love is perfected in Christ Jesus. Learning to balance is the essence of both.
“Charm is deceptive and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised. Give her the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates.” ~ Proverbs 31:30-31
Live your mess.
Blessings, dear sisters.