Monday, July 23, 2012

The laundry

Our laundry basket.

There is so much freedom in this post for me, I just have to get it out there. Now if your your next question is "where does the baby sleep?" then that is another post. But yes, this is Lucy's crib and this is where we put our laundry. Now if I could only get her to learn to fold it...

For many years after I had recommitted my life to Christ, I had a flood of self help books, books on being a good wife, and many women speaking to me about wifehoodery. That's my word, if it was a word. And many of those books had made me feel like I was being a very bad wife for not having everything in order. Not being perfect at managing my children, the cooking, cleaning etc. And I have been known in the past to get very judgy when it comes to other women. Judging the food they put on the table, the state their homes were in and even the state their children are in. Shame on me. But something so big has happened to me its hard to even describe. I know I say that alot, hard to describe especially since i am throwing in my attempt to be somewhat of a writer....but it is hard to explain. If I was an Oprah fan it would be an aha! moment.

*I don't consider myself a writer, even though this is writing. I consider myself a literary mess with a small vocabulary and a huge heart for Jesus.

I started to learn about grace.

And if you have never heard about it or taken it freely, I highly recommend it. It wasn't really until I started reading other blogs that women write that God really showed me how it really works. What do you mean you eat fast food? How does your husband feel about coming home to a cold sandwich for dinner? You don"t fold your laundry right away?

*or if you are me, hardly even put it away anymore...

 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—  not by works, so that no one can boast.  Ephesians 2: 8-9

It's a freedom that I have never felt before. It has released me from so many years of high expectation of myself and frankly, expectation I thought came from God himself.

Be a perfect housewife.
Raise perfect children.
Avoid hardship.
Change my husband.
Get things right the first time.
Don't ask for help.
Be physically attractive.
Expect perfection from my husband.

The list goes on and on. I have now realize that living a life where I had to adhere to all those expectations, sucked the joy right out of everything and literally separated me from him. Because in my heart, I desire to be an amazing wife. With everything I have I wish that a hot meal would be on the table every night and my house perfect...and my children well behaved at every moment.  But that is just not happening.

The only perfect thing about my life is Jesus.

Something really fascinating happened last night in our house. I have fought my husband tooth and nail for 10 years, about our laundry. Putting that heavy burden on myself to make sure it all got done and it was perfect for him. But things have been sort of crazy around here lately with the blog and my art that its just not happening the way I would like it to. He was looking for a pair of shorts last night. Wandering around aimlessly searching in all the corners of the house. He does this with pretty much every article of clothing he is looking for. And socks? Forget about them. They never end up in the same place, at the same time. So I think we both reached a moment in our marriage where we were quite comfortable enough to say hey, lets find a better way...this way is stressful for all of us and living this expectation causes strife, not love. Me stressed out trying to do all the laundry and keep track of uniforms and him not ever knowing where things are is NOT the way God desires our house to run. So I said, I will get you your own basket and you can do your own laundry. His reaction?

"Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!"

(If I could convey the enthusiasm here I would, but it was big)

Well that's settled. And what an incredible exchange of grace in our own marriage, for each other. Just freely being able to say, lets just do what works for us. So often I think we get caught up in our biblical roles, in our own standards and what we think is right that we let our pride run our lives and not God himself. And we don't give people enough grace and we don't walk in it ourselves enough. I think I have struggled so much with Gods grace because I believed he wanted me to be perfect. I believed that I could do it all. But I cant, I clearly cant. And right now, God has put some big things on my plate. The art...the children. And how crazy is it that I measure my success based on what I think of myself. What a horrible way to live. And my very own husband has nicer things to say about me than I do. I have found myself crying out to him many times, stressed out, trying to be superwife when he just answers with compliments. My very own husband sees me as a treasure and that should be enough. I get discouraged over things that he doesn't even give a thought to.

So even though I still want to be able to do all the laundry, have it neatly folded after the first, not the third dryer cycle, and put away in the same day...its not my life right now. It's not the highest on the priority list. Starting a family business, sharing the good news and learning to navigate this new stage in my children's lives is more important than neatly folded laundry and a grumpy husband.

Thank you Scott, for giving me some grace. Thank you for loving me not because of what I do but because of who I am. I love being your wife and working hard for you behind the scenes here. And I am so grateful that you are supporting me during this time of transition. And last night you texted me while Grace and I were out and asked me if I wanted you to do the dishes. I cried in my hot honda while I sat in traffic thinking about how much I wanted to say no, and come home and do them myself. And nobody will understand that because nobody knows how much you hate doing the dishes, but I do. I let you do them. I let go. And I recieved your love with a side of grace.

And that felt good.

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