This post is pretty difficult for me to right, but for the sake of having some accountability and share some truth...here it goes.
When we visited Austin in October, I noticed that my friend's house was like...immaculate. My husband said something about it to her and she said "Yeah...I'm kind of obsessive about it."
For a second, I thought I was a total slob.
I watched her clean up her kids toys as soon as they were finished with them, she wiped down her counters as she was cleaning, her dishes...I mean, WHAT DISHES? They were no where to be seen, except, well of course, her perfectly beautiful cabinets. She has two kiddos, the exact same age as mine, I just didn't get it.
"BUT, she isn't a photographer who was in the busiest season of her life, and she can take a break and get out of the house so it's not overwhelming, and she, and she...she isn't me." *eyeroll* Whatever, that's what I told myself. Over and over again.
Not long after, Eamon and I had dinner with some new friends at their house.
Same story. You couldn't see the vacuum cleaner lines on the floor, but you just knew that thing had never missed a day of being cleaned.
After we got home that night, I laid in bed listlessly, and tapped Eamon's arm [you know, that tap that says, "Hey, I'm not trying to be a pain in the ass, and I know that you are probably ALMOST asleep right now and this is probably gonna wake you up and make you think you're falling from a 30 story building, but I have something to talk about. Right now. At midnight."] After he realized he wasn't falling to his death, he gave me a very patient "....yes?"
"I think there's something wrong with me."
thinking that we were doing the weekly "Guess what fatal illness Mae has this week" game I got an "Oh yeah?"
"Yeah....why are we so messy?"
"yes, babe! We are! Why doesn't our house look like the Smith's or the Jones's?"
"Hmm...Well, we do live in apartment, ya know? We don't have any storage, you're really busy with your photography, and the kids are just messy! It's hard to keep up with them all day, no one really does that!"
See, that's what I thought. I just have a knack for picking really clean people to be friends with. Opposites attract, amiright?! *eyeroll*
So then I take pictures for these new friends of ours, sorta as just a thank you for their friendship. She loves them and asks me if she can repay me by cleaning our house while we were in Rockport.
"Uh...I mean...Is it really that bad?" She nervously laughs and acts like it ain't no thang.
I hand over the key to our apartment with way more reluctance than I thought possible.
To make matters worse, as we're leaving for Rockport, Eamon empties out our car, dumps all of everything he found in our living room, Norah has a HUGE blowout on my bed, and there's a ton of laundry that I didn't get to do that's just sitting there stinking the place up.
About once an hour on the trip I get a pit in my stomach.
"It IS that bad, Mae. She's not gonna want to be friends with you after she sees how bad it really is. You don't even have a sense of smell, you don't know how bad it smells like pee in there!"
Day by day the tension in me builds and I just don't know what to do. I bring it to Jesus and ask Him what on earth am I supposed to do about this? He simply tells me that it's time to start over. To start fresh. And it terrifies me.
I immediately remember the Proverbs 31 woman and start seeing "She does not eat the bread of idleness" Ouch...is my home a wreck because of this? Then I think back to looking at houses and remembering hearing in my head "You don't deserve this house, this house is too nice for you. You will trash it." I felt sick, how had I not realized that was the enemy keeping me under this bondage. And I just listened to him and accepted it as truth.
After some texts and emails back and forth to Erin, I was nervous to go home.
When I walked in the door, I felt like I was on an episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. I didn't even know that my house could look like that. From top to bottom, it was spotless. The pee trap of a couch was gone, every stitch of clothing and bedding we own was washed and put away, every thing had a home...it was [and still is] so unreal. Eamon and I were humbled, embarrassed, encouraged, and hopeful.
Almost immediately, the Lord began to instill confidence and knowledge into me. He specifically pointed out areas of my life that were causing and allowing the filth to just pile up, led me to resources to find management systems that will work for our family, and created an excitement in me and even Lily to start cleaning every day. The first few days were easy. We even took pictures of the entire house before we unpacked so that we would both know how clean the house could be and use it as an encouragement. But after about day 3, I felt the idleness creep in. Dishes started piling up, dirty clothes weren't going in their hamper, beds weren't being made, spills weren't being wiped up right away, and I kinda just got overwhelmed. Slowly I started to build momentum again, giving myself little tasks here and there to keep things up to par, but by Thursday of last week, I knew it wasn't...great. Not bad, nowhere near what it was before, but not what it could be. I took the day to wash/fold/hang all of the clothes and diapers, and room by room just, DID IT! I wore Norah and gave Lily little tasks to do. At the end of the night, I got into a bed that had been made all day, looked around my room that didn't have anything on the floor, and no clothes in sight, laid down and sighed a sigh of relief. I can do this!! I can't tell you how freeing that moment was right then. There wasn't more mess hiding in the bathrooms or closets, there wasn't a sink full of dishes, there wasn't a pee diffuser in the living room...my house was clean. ALL OF IT! And I did it! All by myself!
There are curses that have had their hold on Eamon and I that the Lord has been faithful enough to break, and this happens to be one of them. Sexual immorality was a sinch compared to this. This was harder than probably anything we've dealt with so far. I'm so grateful to be given this time that we have in our apartment to become confident in having a clean space to live in, that way when we move, it will be a much easier transition and we'll have a clean home :]
I want to encourage you to take this time in the New Year glow of hopefulness to let the Lord grab hold of the things in your life that have become too overwhelming. The things that embarrass you, that you ignore or hide away, that terrify you just thinking about them. Let God pull them out and work through you to move past it. It's going to hurt. Probably a lot, but when it's done, it's done. And you don't have that weight over you or your family anymore!
Oh, and here's something cute and completely unrelated to look at :]
Hope you all are having a great week,