clearing the airways

“We tend to pour much of our design energy into the core areas of our homes, the places where we’ll entertain or spend most of our time as a family–I get that. Philosophically speaking, I do believe that what’s on the inside matters most. It’s a value I hold for myself, and that I teach to my children. But I’ve learned that tending to the outside has a pretty profound effect on how we feel on the inside.”
~Joanna Gaines, Home Body, introduction to “Entryways”~

The kids have been looking forward to sweatshirt weather and one thing you can be sure about when real fall comes is that sweatshirts are more than just nice, they are needed. It always takes me a little by surprise how cold it gets when the weather does turn. The difference between fake fall and real fall is the night temperatures. We’ve been down in the forties the past several nights, and while I usually leave our bedroom windows cracked open so I can hear the crickets on summer nights, I closed them last night til only about an inch of screen accessibility remained. Soon I’ll put the flannel sheets back on.

It’s just me and three younger boys today. Dad and the older ones are at 24-hour confirmation retreat. I’m cooking supper for them later tonight, but other than that I have no obligations. Last night the boys wondered what we were going to have for breakfast this morning and I had to admit I hadn’t thought about that yet. That is to say I knew we had plenty of food for them to eat, and until this morning, there was no need for me to think about it any further. I bought some fall muffin baking cups that I’ve been looking forward to using. I think I’ll bake some blueberry muffins this morning.

I did plan, however, to take some time today decluttering the downstairs junk dressesr corner of the school room.  Several years ago I bought an old dresser to serve as a tinkering station for the boys. They absolutely loved it, but over the past year it’s slowly become overridden with Legos. I’ve never really had a good Lego system here, other than buying little decorative baskets to keep for storage in the living room, or the flatter plastic tubs that fit under a bed.  Come to think of it, I actually have a perfectly fine Lego storage and organizational system.  What’s also needed are diligent and willing workers.

That last line stings.  For crying out loud, I’m a pastor’s wife, homeschooling mother of five. How in all that is cooking, cleaning, cooking, and teaching could I be anything but willing and diligent?  Well, it happens, and this isn’t a guilt trip, but a gentle nudge back in the other direction.  I marvel at the unmatched spiritual depth of training we receive through these long and sanctifying mothering years. God truly knows everything that we need, and I have never before felt so known and so loved.  Proverbs 13:4 says, “The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.

I’ll tell you this right now, I’d much rather give a motivational speech than preach a firm but necessary sermon on work. But yesterday, I preached the sermon. I’m learning through these years that a sanctified life isn’t all about surrender, about letting go, or not being in control.  There are also times when you need to take action, and in the case of mothering, apply some age-appropriate pressure. It all goes back to the serenity prayer I’ve seen for years on Hallmark mugs, “Lord, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and Wisdom to know the difference.”

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