Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Dirty Little, Ahem, Huge Secret | Prov 31:27

This post is pretty difficult for me to right, but for the sake of having some accountability and share some 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?"
"Uh....are we?"
"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.
*tires screeching*
"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" 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 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 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,


Keri Duckett Photography said...

First of all, holy hell that picture is AMAZING. Seriously.

I digress. I so struggled with this! Remember I posted on Facebook something about keeping up with it all and so many moms commented along the lines of "I DON'T keep up with it! My house is messy! Just accept it! It's ok!". That just didn't settle with me though. I knew they were right. It's NOT like having a messy house is sinful.

But like you described, I think I knew it wasn't the mess, it was my idleness..that bothered me so much.

So beautifully written, my friend. Thanks for exposing yourself. Love you!

Chelsea said...

I second keri! This is beautifully written indeed.

we all struggle with it, but we don't HAVE to surrender to the lies the enemy is so eager to feed us.

It's like weight loss. After I had conrad, woman would always say to me, "I'm still fat and I had my kid 5 years ago! Still trying to lose the weight, and I can't, so this is just the way I am. I'M A MOM!" And I was like, WHAT? are you serious, you're a mom now so you have the right to just be fat and your'e settling for that because it's hard to change??? I still have baby weight to lose and their mentality is what helps me stay motivated because I don't want to settle for bigger hips etc (because i dont feel like i'm being healthy, dont fit into my clothes and it doesn't do a ton for my confidence....) EVEN though dustin loves the hips.... he would take me either way. The point is, we can take what we don't like and change it, it's never too late to start fresh!

Good for you Mae! I'm proud of you and what the lord is teaching you! I'm sure this post is ministering to other woman as well!


Haley Galloway said...

Ugh. This post hurt my feelings but in that way you know it needed to be. Because I have been praying about this very thing for the past week. And dang, girl! Thanks for posting it.

Now I'm going to go clean my kitchen that I said "I'll do tomorrow".

Mae Burke said...

Keri, ah thank you, ma'am. I just happen to have this ridiculously adorable human running around that is insanely photogenic, even her hair ;] AND this means you should come ova more ;P

Chels, While I totally get behind you on the lazy thing, I think we disagree on the weight loss issue. I am a mom now. Before we had kids I was a teenager. Married at 18, pregnant at 19, baby at 20, ANOTHER baby at body is NOT the same as it was before kids. BUT, I'm a woman now. I have hips that exceed my waist, and ginormous[er] breasts that exceed my ribs. I totally believe that a mother's body does not have to be the same as it was pre-pubesence with the addition of boobs. You know why your clothes don't fit you? Because the companies that make them design them for women who are shaped like 13 year old boys with no ass, thighs, or deflated balloon up front. I refuse to be told that my body needs to look a certain way by anyone, including myself. Yes, it feels FANTASTIC not to have my thighs rub together, and I feel sexy as hell now that I can, uh, hello, see me hips, but to change how I look to fit back into a top/dress/pants that I wore a few years ago, hell no! ;] Laziness is one thing, not being proud of how your body looks and has changed to bring for life is another. Be proud girl! No one else could do what you do to produce those babies!

Haley, holy guacamole! You are so pretty! So glad I was able to encourage you :] Welcome!

Haley Galloway said...

I'm just stopping by to say that I gave you the "Liebster Award" on my blog since I think your blog deserves tons of reads. You've been one of my favorites for a long time. I tend to be one of those "blog lurkers" who reads a lot and comments only occasionally! I've actually been following you since you had your second baby! I drew a lot of inspiration off of the birth story you wrote.

Anyways! You can stop by my blog as see what the Liebster Award is about! Have a good one :)

rachel.lyn said...

i truly hope i'm not about to come off as a snob with this comment because that's not my intention...just trying to give you my perspective on the whole thing.

i have always prided myself in having a clean house. maybe it's because of the way i grew up....i'm one of seven and i know my mom probably had a difficult time keeping up with it all on her own so from a very early age we all had our own chores. i can remember being as young as five under the dining room table after dinner picking up food off the floor. it was just something we all did, everyone had their own part. my mom taught us how to do laundry and saturday mornings were dedicated to a "deep cleaning" of the bathrooms and we weren't able to go out and play or make plans until it was done! btw, it never took long :P it wasn't like we were slaves or anything, my parents were just trying to teach us the importance of not only cleaning up after ourselves, but working as a team and pitching in. i hated it...but now i appreciate it. i know people who didn't have responsibilities like that and now have a difficult time keeping up with their own homes because it's just not something that's important to them. and i'm totally not saying this is the case with you, just what i've seen from random friends.

anyway, after having olivia it was harder to keep up with but i made rules for make sure all the toys are at least off the floor before my hubby gets home from work, dedicate one specific day to laundry & vacuuming EVERY WEEK, never go to bed with dinner dishes in the sink....and he helps me with that part. we will trade off who does bath time and who does dishes. i also try to clean up as i go along when i'm cooking...makes it muuuuch less of a hassle afterwards. but i think what really changed my perspective on it and made me WANT to keep up with it was that i want my girls to see the importance in it. not necessarily ignoring them to clean all day long, but having them help where they can. both of them help me move laundry from the washer to the dryer, they both like to hold their own wet rag when i'm dusting, when livi gets toys out and is done playing she has to be the one to pick them up, if she tears up toilet paper into pieces (her new favorite thing to do!!!) and scatters it all over the place, she has to pick it up. stuff like that.

once you get into a good habit it will be easier.

AHHH! anyway, this is a novel. sorry! just my thoughts, i'll be praying for you in this area. i've seen people struggle with the same thing and when you are a mom it is WAY harder to make it habit. little bits at a time, friend :)

Mrs. Williams said...

So glad I came upon your blog, I so needed to read this.