Proverbs 14:4 says:" Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox."
I was having one of those days where I felt like no matter how hard and fast I went, the house just wouldn't every be "caught up." You other mommies must know what I mean. I don't think I am a lazy person, but this school year has zapped my time like no other year. Just keeping up on basics is a challenge. I have resigned myself that for now, at least, we are just striving to keep up on maintenance, but not improving in the household cleaning during the week. Anything "extra" will have to fit in at odd times, or on Saturdays.
I walking around the house, and my eyes fell to every area that day that needed some attention. The more I walked around, the more discouraged I got. It seemed like every corner of the house, every flat surface, every place that was a designated spot for putting something away was needing cleaning up. I was getting quite worked up about it when the Lord brought that verse in Proverbs to my mind.
I thought about that for a few minutes, pondering just what was really important in my life right now. I like things tidy, decluttered, and in order. It bothers me to have "stuff" everywhere. We are a large family in a small house, and this is something I have been dealing with. There must be a balance between just chucking everything that we don't absolutely need right this second, and wisely saving for later. However, at this stage as in my life, as much as I would love to toss all the "stuff" out, and keeping the bare minimum... except my sewing stash of course!... it isn't going to happen. With seven children it is wise to keep some of the clothing to pass down. It is wise to save school books for the next child coming up in the grades. It is wise to have the games, puzzles, craft bins.
The thing that was bothering me wasn't the "saved" stuff for later, though. It was the items we use NOW that were all over the place, not put away properly, and cluttering my living room, kitchen, and the kids bedrooms.
But again, the Lord brought Proverbs 14:4 to mind. I meditated on it a bit, and walked around the house again. This time, I was slowly seeing things different.
This unmade bed was representing a child who got up extra early to say good morning to her Daddy, do her Bible reading, then started school work. She was working diligently before I even had coffee!
Here is a pile of some of the school work of my son Caleb. He is learning to read, and do math, and watching him grasping a concept in phonics is exciting to me. I look forward to the day when he can take his turn in our read aloud time for morning devotions.
Here is a messy stove top. The lid is from a nutritious breakfast of oatmeal and applesauce. The bread was made by one of my good helpers that day. Healthy, hearty, delicious whole wheat bread, provided for the family. Oh yeah, and it smelled so good!
Here is evidence of another helper making whole wheat banana and raisin muffins for the family. What a blessing!
Here is an example of some of our manipulatives we use in homeschooling. I am thankful we have these tools to help us, and children that we can teach.
This one about brought tears to my eyes. One of my dd's Bibles. Left on the end table by the couch after she finished her reading that morning. How precious is the sight of our children getting into the Word of God.
What a wonderful thought that these items belong to little ones that God has given to us.
All that music is actually being used by one child or another. What a wonderful sound to hear my children singing or practicing the piano!
One of my favorite spots, despite the clutter of many ongoing projects at the moment. I am thankful for the ability to create clothing, quilts, and do mending for the family that God has blessed me with.
Thank the Lord for my many bookworms!
My ironing that still needs to be done. Thank you Lord, for the bodies that they are to clothe.
Hopefully my perspective has changed. Martha Stewart would not be impressed, but frankly I don't care. I hope to do the best I can and be contented with a wholesome balance of chores and time with the children. So the house isn't spotless.