In my dreams, I would have a clean, clutter-free, beautifully decorated house. It would not be big, nor would it be too small (although something bigger than our current 951 sq feet would be nice), but it would be neat and decorated by furnishings from Ikea. Everything would have its place, and my kitchen would be MY space. It would have a section for all my cookbooks, for paying bills, and for holding everything kithen related. It would also be big and roomy so that the boys could do their artwork at the table while I cooked. And it would have a mud room so that Zoya and the boys could enter from the backyard. Having a back door from the kitchen to the backyard is a clean-want-to-be’s nightmare. And I’ve gotten so much into daydreaming that I’ve forgotten what I wanted to write about . . .
Two Christmases ago, Mark bought me a subscription to Real Simple magazine, and for Mother’s Day that year, I got a daily devotional Bible for Moms. That summer I attempted to get into yardwork and gardening with the goal of getting our yard cleaned up enough to plant a garden the next summer. This summer began with Ezra’s birth, which totally interrupted my gardening plans. All the seeds I planted died, and we just now finished my 4 by 4 foot garden box. And needless to say, my house is not “real simple, the yard is yet again filled with weeds, and the time I take in getting my devotions in every day is not nearly what it should be. So . . . all of my goals have yet to be fulfilled. Basically, we’re back to square one, and it’s caused me a lot of frustration. The only goal that I now currently have is to keep my peace and sanity while living in chaos. 🙂 So last night while all the Hayden men were sleeping, I pulled out a devotional book that I’ve had for about 15 years. It’s one of those books that you just cherish and you refer back to it over and over again as the seasons of life change and you find yourself needing new wisdom for new situations. The book is divided into different sections based on the different seasons of life, so I’m reading new material as I’m in the section on family and marriage.
And I just have to take a rabbit trail and say this – my dad always taught us to be teachable. Having a heart that can be taught by anyone and anything is what keeps us humble and allows for us to receive wisdom. I so value the wisdom of the generations before us. I seek to read things by the generations that have come and gone as I know that they knew things that we still need to know. So on that note, here’s what I read last – regarding Mary as the mother of Jesus and how humbly she fulfilled her role –
“I am thanking God that unto us a Child was born. I am thanking Him also that there was a pure-hearted woman prepared to receive that Child with all that motherhood would mean of daily trust, daily dependence, daily obedience. I thank Him for her silence. That spirit is not in me at all, not naturally. I want to learn what she had learned so early: the deep guarding in her heart of each event, mulling over its meaning from God, waiting in silence for His word to her.
I want to learn, too, that it is not an extraordinary spirituality that makes one refuse to do ordinary work, but a wish to prove that one is not ordinary – which is a dead giveaway of spiritual conceit. I want to respond in unhesitating obedience as she did: Anything You say, Lord. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” **
The devotional was much longer than what I’ve typed above, but the basic point was that Mary quietly did what she was asked. Her heart was simple obedience. She never elevated herself to any special position; never took any glory as being someone special. All we read is that she submitted and did what was asked of her. Even more than that, I never truly considered the thought that Mary was given the task of raising a child, just like all moms are. She was responsible to feed Him, train Him, change His diapers (not that they probably had diapers back then, but you know what I mean), instruct Him, keep Him safe and out of danger, wash His clothes, bathe Him, and do all the daily, simple, ordinary tasks that have to be done day after day after day. Hers was not a glorified position as Jesus was a child like all children are. Yes, He was sinless, but He was still a child that had to be taught. And Mary was a mom like all of us who had to learn to mother as she went along. She had to learn to release Jesus to God. She had to learn to let Him go and do His thing. Honestly, I don’t really envy her position, yet I wonder if there’s much of a difference between her and us. We’re entrusted with children to raise and to raise to the glory of God. We’re given quite the big job, yet the daily aspects of that job feel quite mundane. Our jobs are not easy, yet as the above paragraph states the extraordinary is really in the ordinary. It’s all about doing it with the right heart. And I’ll be the first to say that I have not really considered that. I mumble and grumble about dirty floors, leaking sippy cups, having to change a million diapers, picking up toy after toy, and wonder where anything extraordinary exists in my daily life . . . it’s in the heart attitude. It’s in raising my children to the best of my ability. Providing an example of a wife and mom who loves her God and her family and who does her best in what she has to do. That’s pretty profound really. It actually shows me that on most days I’ve missed the boat as it’s not about a beautiful, clean house. It’s not about life being clutter free as life is really anything but. It’s not about everything being in its place. It’s about keeping a quiet heart, which is actually the title of the book that I quoted from.
My husband does not desire the perfectly clean house. He desires a peace filled house. And on any given day, I’m really the one who’s not in peace. I’m upset about a rowdy two year old, a dog who’s eaten this and that, and the dishes piled high in the sink. He has it right, and I don’t. A peace filled house is much more important, and that does come from a quiet heart. I get it.
I thank the Lord for the wisdom of women who have gone before us. I thank the Lord that we have their advice and His wisdom to glean from. And I thank the Lord that He instructs us daily as long as we have a heart open and ready to receive. He doesn’t look at me and say wow, Mic, you really missed it and have missed it for 2 years now. He just quietly says, Micah, here, do this and just start today. So I have a new goal – to live in peace. 🙂
**Keep a Quiet Heart by Elisabeth Elliot – I own and have read over and over many of Ms. Elliot’s books. I don’t agree with all that she has to say, but she has great wisdom that has taught me many things over the years. She is one of my mentor/heroes in life. 🙂