So I've been thinking a lot about grace lately. You might think that it has to do with the five little children that run around the house who call me Momma (well, Thaddeus cries it more than speaks it). While it is true that my children need grace what has really sparked this is my house.
Lately I've been struggling with keeping up with the house work. Partly because, well let's be honest, I don't want to do it. It isn't that the work is hard, boring or time consuming, it is however something that I really have to work at. I am not a neat freak by any stretch of the imagination and while I do enjoy a clean environment, my thoughts are usually so focused on what is going on at any given moment that cleaning...well it usually gets shelved.
Now, don't start to freak out here the house is somewhat clean...the kitchen needs to be mopped but I can say that even on the days I mop it (the kids always spill something on the floor just after I mop it). However, orderly is not necessarily a word I would use to describe it. Housekeeping is one of my short comings (no I'm not perfect, shocking isn't it?) and I am coming to accept that I will have to make the conscious effort to keep the house clean.
I am starting to see that most of my problems with keeping up with the housework is myself. I have too high of expectations, or worse I think that other people have higher than normal expectations. Constantly I'm waging an inner battle with myself somewhere between self-loathing and self-pity. I hate that I choose playing on the computer or doing crafts or even writing over taking care of the dishes. I know that it only takes 15 maybe 20 minutes to wash up the dishes after each meal. Why then do I sit down and do something knowing in my heart that those dishes won't get washed anytime soon? However then the good old self pity comes into play, it tells me that Husband doesn't help out enough, that I have 5 screaming children and woe is me that I just couldn't possibly be capable of taking care of it all by myself.
Yet I want to. I want to have a clean home, not necessarily clutter free, but clean. I'm not signing up for seasonal deep cleaning, or vacuuming every day. What I want is functional and quick. So because of this on going problem I have become addicted to cleaning regimens like no one else. If there is a plan out there guaranteed to keep your house clean you can bet I've tried it. The problem lies in that I can't keep up with a program for more than a month or two.
Somehow every plan just isn't perfect for me. Somewhere along the lines I've become an expert in justification. Thus I start telling myself it will be okay, the kids want a happy Momma more than a clean house. That I won't care in 40 years if I mopped the kitchen today just as long as I was having fun with my kids. While that is all very true, it still doesn't abdicate me from my responsibility. That I don't want my kids to grow up and struggle over housework like I do. Parenting is about teaching and training and I want to teach and train my kiddos to clean.
This battle I have with cleaning reminds me a lot about my battle with grace. Grace is such an easy gift to accept from the Lord and yet I so often turn it aside because I want to earn it myself. I want to do it all on my own, I want to come before the Lord worthy before accepting His gifts. Yet just like I can't keep up with my housework, so too I can never be worthy enough to earn the sacrifice that Jesus made on my behalf.
Ephesians 2:8 & 9 read "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by work's, so that no one can boast." God knew from the beginning that we would need a Savior, that we would fall and that we would never ever be able to rectify our relationship with Him. That we would need grace and he determined to give us just that and in such a way so that 'no one can boast.'
This is such a good reminder to me. That grace is given to all...EQUALLY, meaning that the friend with three cars and a huge house gets just as much grace as I do with my five kids and small home. There is only one person who was perfect and He is the reason I can enter heaven, JESUS.
The grace God gives to us isn't just enough but an abundant grace. Which is perfect, because I know that I need grace enough to share not with my children, husband, family and friends but with myself. I need God's grace to help me to remember that a clean house won't get me into heaven but a clean heart will. That my responsibilities are still the same but at least with grace I can tackle them with God's help and not all on my own.