At my Working Mamas small group last week, we had a phenomenal discussion about keeping a home (cleaning mainly) in the midst of a busy life + kiddos. The conversation was so good I wanted to share some of it on the blog!
I asked the group questions and then we expanded on them, these ladies shared such great wisdom that I’ve included in the post. I hope you can find something that applies to your season of life.
DOES GOD CARE ABOUT OUR MESSY HOUSE?
I know that God is a God of order – He took the chaos that was nothing and formed heaven and earth. He gave Adam a job of naming animals so they wouldn’t be running around in chaos. When the world had become chaotic in Noah’s life, God gave him instructions and guidance to help establish order. God does not bless disorder. So if I want God’s blessing, which I do, than I need to have my ducks in a row. That’s not to say God won’t bless you if your home is messy, but if you choose to do something fun when you could use that time taking care of what you own, that’s when it matters. This can also be interrupted that your relationships and family dynamics need to be in order. Your husband as the head, your children respectful and obedient, etc.
Another thing I noticed is that Jesus used “house” as a metaphor for “soul” several times during His ministry. I translate this as there is a connection to our home and our soul. Matthew 7:24-27 – ““These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit—but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock. “But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards.”” So naturally, I want my home to be a place of peace, of rest, of refreshment. I want it to be a hub for recharging. I cannot fully obtain those things if my home is in disorder, cluttered and messy.
So yes, God does care about your messy house, but He is also very understanding that there are season of life where it’s unhealthy to strive for a spotless home, and those seasons really do matter and shouldn’t be pushed aside by us. The season of young children (newborn – 2 years old), 1 kid vs. 4 kids, working parent, etc. all play a huge role in your season. Ultimately, God is far more interested in your heart and the heart of your family than if your house is clean.
WHY IS YOUR HOME MESSY?
There is a difference between your home being messy because you have a newborn and you’re just trying to keep them alive and your children being fully capable of helping with chores but you are so busy with life and, whether you know it or not, you’re choosing to avoid it by doing other activities. That is disorder that God will not bless. Which are you?
WHAT MAKES US FEEL LIKE OUR HOME HAS TO BE CLEAN?
I think as moms it is natural for us to want to keep our home in running order, and it can add to our mom guilt when we are trying to keep our home to a standard where it can easily function but also spend time with our people. But do we feel pressure from others, like we’re not a good mom or woman if our home is in disarray?
Pinterest can be such an idol when it comes to this area because everything in the picture looks perfect and we think that’s so obtainable and maybe it can be, but maybe that’s not right now. (I like to imagine that whatever is in the picture looks amazing and perfect, but right outside of the frame is a pile and mess. 😝)
We all have that friend whose home is always clean and you feel like you don’t have your life together because you don’t even remember that last time you vacuumed, but I think it’s important to remember that every mom has been given unique families with unique children who have unique needs. God has called all moms into the service of Christ within the context of their particular families. But every family is different, which means the hard work of motherhood looks different for each woman.
WHAT IS YOUR HEART ATTITUDE?
If you are in a bad mood and are feisty with your husband because the sink has dishes in it, that’s not a good attitude. Would you rather have a clean sink or a healthy marriage? This is a great topic of conversation too – find out what chore your spouse needs to be done. Maybe it’s the dishes being out of the sink, or the floor being swept so they don’t feel crumbs under their feet. Knowing this will really take the frustration of “I did this and this and this but you noticed this ONE thing…” another thought is to set aside some money in your budget for a house cleaner who can take care of the cleaning duties you guys might not notice every day so it can’t free up your time or take care of what is noticeable (like the dishes 😉 ).
Our goal should be to focus on creating a well-functioning home that promotes peace and minimizes frustration.
Sometimes, after a hard, long, exhausting day, we can begrudgingly do the housework but feel so unappreciated. I encourage you to keep a good attitude about it and know that God sees your work and is so proud and thankful that you are doing it, despite the day you had. Hebrews 6:10 – “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.”
Ultimately, God is an understanding God and He knows that we are trying to do it all and in this season it’s hard, and He wants to be our source of comfort, peace and energy.
You are not failing as a mom or a woman because your home is messy. Good moms have sticky floors, dishes in the sink, laundry piles, dirty ovens, but happy kids!
Dirty dishes prove you feed your family. Full trash cans mean you have more than you need so you can throw some things out. Piles of unfolded laundry means you keep your family in clean clothes. Wet bathroom floors means your kids took a shower. Toys all over the living room shows they have a thriving imagination. The house may be a mess, but you showed them Christ by not freaking out about it and just focusing on loving THEM!
I’ve been so convicted by the story of Martha and Mary. Martha gets such a bad rep in this story but we so often find ourselves as Martha, don’t we? I do! Luke 10:38-42 says, “As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.””
If you find yourself having to choose between chores and your kids, always choose your kids. If you have to choose between cleaning a room or helping someone, help someone. Choose whatever will reflect Christ. There needs to be a time for chores, but above that, there needs to be time for Christ.
And really, motherhood is messy. Challenging. Crazy. And unbelievably beautiful. Don’t let the un-swept floor steal your babies. Because they are not babies forever. And one day, the kids will be grown up and in their own homes. You’ll have lots of spare time to clean and it’ll quiet, spotless, and lonely. You’ll be wishing you could go back to the days when you had a sink full of dishes.
If you have young children, He loves that your house is messy because that means you are cultivating their hearts. He would rather your home be a game of Jumanji and full of love then spotless and full of resentment. If you have older children who can help with chores and can pick up after themselves, I’d say God is a God of order and having the discipline of picking up after ourselves is a strength and a trait that needs to be taught to our children.
I hope this was encouraging to you my friend. I know God has really been working on my heart in all these area. Big hugs!!!