Wednesday, May 20, 2009

How Clean Is Your House?

In the last couple of weeks something has come over me...I want to clean. (Yes, I'll come over to your place...leave your name, address and hourly rate on my comments!! He, he.) I mean seriously clean -- on my hands and knees scrubbing floors, washing baseboards, pressure washing my front porch and more. And you know what I'm house is filthy!!

Standing in my living room if you glance around it doesn't look too bad...a little dusty maybe (dusting is tomorrow!). Even in the kitchen, you wouldn't know the filth that I have found. It makes me want to apologize to those who have ever been in my house.

So here I was today, pressure washing the front porch, and I began to think about the layers of dirt and general ickiness that I have managed to strip off and blow away these last few days. You know, my cleaning "kick" has been inspired by God and my prayers to be more like the Proverbs 31 woman (see my last post for more on that). While I was cleaning I began wondering about other places in my house that look clean at a quick glance...I could name any number of them without much thought. And then I went a step farther...

Beyond my house what places are holding dark corners where things are hidden? Where are the gritty places that I don't clean unless I have to?

Let me pause here to tell you something...I hate being embarrassed, really HATE it. However, I am going to pull back the veil a bit and tell you a few embarrassing things in order to help clean some of my dark corners and maybe help you spotlight a few of yours.

Okay, so I found out the dark spots on my kitchen tile that were in the lower traffic areas aren't part of the pattern that hasn't faded. They are dirt. Yep, dirt. We've lived here five years and I'm just now figuring out that there are no dark speckles on the floor?? Um, can you say icky??

And while that is bad enough I have found places in life that are just as dirty and just as embarrassing. Places that are easier to hide from guests, but just as "icky" to God.

Like that part of me that eats the sweets in the house when no one is around, almost compulsively. I don't want to be the fat girl anymore; for a good part of my life I have been. I know I am fat by my own hand, but in the quiet bored moments of my life I eat. I don't think about God or my family or my health when I am stuffing my face. I am trying to create fewer "bored" moments -- less tv watching, more active activities, going to bed earlier, giving those moments to Bible study, oh & blogging!!

Or how about the part of me that doesn't put others first. I want to be someone who gives of myself and my resources freely -- not begrudgingly. Even at times when I know I should do things for others (my kids, friends, family, whoever) I will do them but it is not with a happy heart. I complain, even throw a fit, all in my head. And while the world may never see how wretched I can be God hears every thought, every word...and in His eyes I am as bad as my 3 year old when she does that at full volume in the front yard! Stop and think for a second...God hears EVERY word you think. Hmmm...

There are so many other things about my life that need to be cleaned out. The truth is, I need to throw open the windows and doors and ask God all the way in. Help me to clean out all that is in my heart that is not of You, Father. I want to be that woman you designed me to be -- inside and out!

I learned a long time ago one of the quickest ways to change habits in your life is to tell others what you are trying to do (or not to do as the case may be). And friends, this is one of those moments. I've given you two examples of things I'd like to change (I could go on for days, really). Two big examples. Will you pray for me? Will you help hold me accountable? Will you hold the flashlight while I clean out these corners?

How clean is your house?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Are You That Woman?

After a few weeks of being away from my family, I have changed. While I won't go into details today about all that I did and dealt with while I was gone I can tell you that God used those days to draw me closer to Him and to remind me of the woman I want to be.

I want to be that woman.

That woman might be different for you, but let me tell you what she looks like to me. She is bright, witty, patient and loving. Her house is a home -- well kept and cozy. She knows how to make a meal, keep the house, play with the children and romance her husband without ever breaking her stride or losing her sense of "self". She knows how to save money, spend wisely and always look like she spent a fortune (all the while rocking clearance rack clothes and bargain shoes!). She's charitable and thoughtful -- willing to give her time and resources to those who need a hand up. Her day starts and ends with the Lord and she strives to fill every moment in between with His plan for her.

Let me tell you, when I first met the woman of Proverbs 31 I hated her. Well, maybe that's a little strong, I didn't hate her I just disliked her very, very much because she is this unattainable ideal that only God could create.

...that only God could create...hmmmm.

During my time away from my family I dealt with some very emotional situations coupled with some physically demanding times. Every morning I stood in the shower, letting the hottest water I could stand run over my head and begged God "do it today...I can''s all you". If you've never prayed that prayer in earnest, let me assure you that God answers it. He did for me, every morning for 17 days in a row.

And as I leaned on God to get through the day I realized something. I was doing things I didn't want to do, I'm not capable of doing, and that I didn't like doing. I was starting to look like that woman...the woman only God could create.

So when I came home I began asking God for more. Teach me -- I want to learn all the skills needed to be that woman. Strengthen me -- give me the physical strength to lose weight and do more around my house. Pour into me -- patience, wisdom, discernment, understanding, love...Lord, let me mirror you in all areas of my life as I lean into you.

You know what? It's working. I can feel a difference...I have a desire to do laundry; to scrub floors (we're talking on my hands and knees here); cook for my family; teach my children; plant a garden; devour books on homemaking, money saving and more; I want to learn more about the Bible; be a woman my husband finds irresistible; I have begun to see myself as that woman (in training)!!

So who is that woman for you?

Who is the woman that you want to be?

How can I pray for you so that you can believe God to guide you toward being that woman?