The laundry towers, dishes pile up, trash multiplies, toys scatter. The dog needs feeding, bed needs making, the baby needs attention…
I mustn’t waste this day away on chores.
Today there are laughs to be had, beauty to see, tastes to savor, words to be read, written and exchanged. Love to be shared, sidewalks to stroll, ducks to feed, and swings to play on. Coffee to be enjoyed, smiles to pass along, messes to make, and places to tidy up.
She will not remember the clean home. I will not wish for another moment to wash dishes or fold laundry as I reach the end of my earthly journey. I will wish for more moments to allow Love to come in, take charge, and trickle powerfully out.
And so I began packing up in preparation for our upcoming walk to the park. And then I saw them.
The socks. His sock. Dirty socks. There – sitting on the ground. In the living rom. Again.
I have told my husband thousands of times to help me manage the house simply by placing dirty clothes in the hamper. Seemingly such a simple request…
We all have these quirks don’t we? All marriages or roommate dynamics do.
At least I hope so. We turn them into laughter eventually. Sometimes we turn them into tears. They really are a foundation for so many amusing arguments. “Marriage moments,” we call them.
Ryan and I have had this sock conversation countless times. Seriously, since we were first married.
As silly as this sounds, I felt the Lord tell me 5 years ago to pray for Ryan and to consider something positive about him every time I pick up his dirty socks. This discipline began to change my heart – no longer did I find myself riddled with anger when I happened upon a nasty, dirty, boy-sock under my coffee table. Instead, it became a precious moment to meet with the King and serve someone else. A reminder that life is not about me.
Then I had a baby and became exceedingly sleep deprived. No longer were these sock-moments precious opportunities for me to pause and thank Jesus for my amazing husband. Instead, these moments happened while sleepwalking and breastfeeding or between the occasional naptime during which I would race around the house and try and cross every chore off of my list.
So today, when I saw those socks, I huffed. I looked away, put my baby in the stroller, leashed my dog, and off to the park we went for some fun. The issue did not even cross my mind until later when I climbed into the shower.
I looked down, and before my eyes lay a screwdriver. In the shower.
I have been showering with a screwdriver for about 8 days now. My husband left it in the shower while he was tampering with something recently. I had been staring at it each day secretly hoping he would take initiative to put it away. After my morning sock moment, the feeling that rose up in my raw soul was something foul. I felt myself become angry.
Why has he not put this thing up? Why is this all my responsibility? Do I really have to ask him to do something so basic as put up a tool that he uses? Suddenly the marriage moments began to pile up until they towered over logical thinking and feeling. The screwdriver situation had melded into the sock debacle which collided with the dirty dish issue and magnified the unsorted-junk-mail-pile chaos which folded into general communication frustrations and this tower of thoughts was causing me to spiral into a place of anger where I wanted to distance myself from my husband.
I asked the Lord to come teach me.
As I pondered these little instances of frustration, I realized how the sock-moments had morphed into something very different in the wake of Summer’s birth.
In fact, a lot of things have changed since she joined our family. My attitude has changed. No longer do I recognize and easily alter my patterns of unloving meditation. It is harder now. Taking thoughts captive is something entirely different on 3 hours of sleep.
I felt the Lord gently reminding me of the grace upon grace extended to me in this sleepless season, I also felt him inviting me into a new sort of Love. He is showing me how my to-do list has not been love centered. It has simply been a list of tasks instead of opportunities to love and serve.
As He began to reframe my perspective on simple house chores, I found myself growing less bitter and more understanding. The fact that Ryan had a 70 hour work week and was doing his best to help me with bedtime and bath time and everything in between was a lot. The grace extended to me in this sleepless chapter is equally extended to him! In fact, I can be a vessel of that grace.
And so the Lord is teaching me to be a vessel of grace. To wake up to “get-to’s” instead of “have-to’s”. To have a “love list” instead of a “to-do list.” To discern when and how to have necessary conversations about the needs and desires of my heart.
He is reminding me that our marriage was built on serving one another. That parenthood is about servitude. To serve like a princess and rule like a servant is a powerful position in our world.
So, I put away that screw driver and picked up those socks. I no longer want to shower with the screwdriver. I want to meditate on what is loving and true and I want for all of the work of my hands to be dripping with love and grace.
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.