Several years ago I read a life changing post written by Elizabeth Foss, “Tell Me Again Why Bother?” Well, it at least changed my life that day. And then like so many life changing posts, it was soon, life as usual. Except I printed this life changing post off and stuck it somewhere for safe keeping. Every so often through the years I get a great big surprise when I come across it again…and it convicts me each and every time I read it. And I put it somewhere safe, because the gold nuggets of homemaking wisdom are of such value. And then the cycle repeats itself over and over again. I tuck it away only to forget about it and then come across it when I need to read it…put it away for safe keeping…you get the point.
Reading that introduction would make me think I was a highly unorganized person. In reality, I try so hard to be neat and organized that I am forever looking for and trying the next great method or philosophy of keeping a home. I stand up straight and tall like Washington crossing the Delaware, boldly and rather proudly declare, “This will get me on the right track and keep me there or my name is not momma!”
Our housekeeping routines are crucial to the smooth functioning of our days, our weeks. Life in a well-ordered home does shine. Radiance streams into our lives like the grace of God. Ordering a home isn’t something you do once and it stays that way. Instead, it’s a continual commitment. ~Elizabeth Foss
I love lists and color coded papers and felt tip pens and spirals and binders and I’d rather look around the office supply store over a clothing store any day. Each shelf is bursting with the possibility of organization. And organization is what this momma likes to see.
There are entire websites and Pinterest Boards dedicated to the beauty of organized living. And it is beautiful. God is a God of order and this life is a valley of natural disorder. Thus the constant struggle…bringing order to disorder.
So I try my best and lots of days I fail. How do I know I fail? Well, other than the obvious clutter; when I tell my children we need to clean up the house really well and they ask, “Who is coming over?” that’s a pretty good sign I have taught them we clean up or keep a clean home for the wrong reasons.
Cleaning up for company is a good. But keeping things neat and tidy for the souls that live and move and have their being here everyday…that’s better.
The Flylady talks about CHAOS–the “Can’t Have Anybody Over Syndrome.” Certainly, it would be a shame to not be able to have anybody over. But a greater shame, I think, is to neglect the people who actually live in a house by being a poor steward of both time and treasure. A greater shame is for a hard working man to have to pick his way around the mess as he makes his way to a disheveled bedroom. A greater shame is to throw a meal at the kids and run to work on an outside project while they eat. ~Elizabeth Foss
Elizabeth goes on to quote Sir 26:1-18, also known as the “Blessed the Husband of a Good Wife” verses. She states,
I cannot reconcile these beautiful verses with the idea that being busy with other projects excuses us from welcoming our husbands into well-ordered homes. I’m not talking about a mom with two toddlers and a baby who is struggling to keep up and feels like she’s losing the fight. That’s a season during which both husband and wife will grow. I’m talking about the veteran mom with a range of ages of children who makes choices every day to neglect her home. That is simply the fruit of bad habits and misplaced priorities. ~Elizabeth Foss (emphasis mine)
I am so glad I came across this post as we finish out our focus for February, the home. This is also a very timely post to reread each Lent. Holy Mother Church is so awesome. The cleaning of spiritual cobwebs in preparation for Easter happily coincides with a natural desire to clean our homes in anticipation for Spring.
I want to close with what I consider to be the heart of Elizabeth’s “Why Bother” post.
I want to be a gracious wife, not just a gracious hostess. Not just a lovely face to the public, but a comfort and a blessing to my husband. So, why bother with homemaking? Because God call us to be virtuous wives and He tells us that virtuous wives live in well-ordered homes. ~Elizabeth Foss