Someday I will only have to do laundry once a week.
I'll be able to listen all the way through a sermon without a big word question or giving reminders to sit still.
Someday I won't trip on the toys on the stairs.
I won't have to worry about soccer balls in my garden.
I won't have to read stories over and over...Goodnight Moon will be forever engraved in my memory.
Someday I will clean the kitchen floor and it will stay clean for days.
I'll have the time to study more theology and read all those books on my reading list.
Someday I won't have all those dirty fingerprints 3 feet from the ground on the door jams.
There will never be globs of toothpaste in the sink.
I won't have to break up fights, listen to whining and be annoyed by the constant, silly questions.
Most days I love my life. And most days I am content with the cleanliness of my home. Except on those days when I realize I am washing the floor for the third time that day, a fight breaks out between two sisters, another child walks in with a bloody nose and I stub my toe.
Those are days when I think those above thoughts. I have chosen this path. I have given up many things to take on the role of a parent. Instead of pursuing a career and having adult conversations all day, I have chosen to teach my children at home and listen to their endless chatter. Instead of having bathroom floors that are so clean someone can eat off of them, I have a kitchen floor that was washed three hours ago and is now sticky from juice, an opened tea bag and the remnants of some goldfish crackers that were accidentally dumped out.
But someday things will change. The children will be gone; it will be just my Sweetie, myself, and our garden out back. We'll spend all our evenings reading, talking, relaxing and playing ping-pong. Things will be nice and quiet. But then I sit back and think: do I really want things to change that way? Do I really want immaculate floors, or perfectly clean stairs, or a nice quiet house every single day?
The answer, when I think about it, is no. Because Lord willing, at least one of my offspring will begin a family of their own and I will have grandchildren. And Lord willing, those little ones will leave their fingerprints on my door jams and windows. And will accidentally spill their juice or kick the soccer ball into the flower bed. And I do pray that those things will happen often, and not just twice a year on holidays.
When I look around me now, I see that my house is not a complete wreck; there is some order to the chaos that goes on around here. But sometimes it still seems crazy. And I have bad days.
But instead of grumbling about the clean pile of laundry that I just found under the dirty towels, I need, no I want to find the joy in mundane jobs. When I realize, with horror, that the chocolate chip on the living room floor is not a chocolate chip, I want to see joy. I don't mean the kind of joy that makes you jump up and down with excitement, but the kind of joy I have when I am doing something for someone I love.
Real joy. Joy in all things.
And really, is my purpose right now in life to have a totally clean house? The most important lesson I am teaching my kids is not how to properly clean the bathrooms, but how to live for Christ, and to remember His grace through the cross.
That is where our true joy comes from.
I will teach them to care for the things God has blessed us with, but not with obsessiveness. And I am trying to the best of my ability to find real joy; in the messes, dirty windows, and piles of laundry. And to encourage my children to see the joy in doing their chores and schoolwork; and that in all that they do, to do it to God's glory.
*And lest you think from the above post that my kids jump from room to room making messes and I follow after with the cleaning supplies; they do have chore lists, and we have the simple but effective rule that if you made the mess, you get the privilege of cleaning it up. :-)