“Mom! Look! He’s spilling water all over himself!” my daughter shouted.
Turning my head over my right shoulder, I saw my 18-month proudly showing me a toy cup dripping with the last ounce of water, while his onesie told me the other five ounces just didn’t quite make it to his mouth.
Smiling, I addressed him, “Awww, look, sweetie. You were thirsty, an you helped yourself…”
Realizing he’s still just a few inches too short to have filled his own cup, I cut myself off.
Facing my daughter, the eldest of the three, I asked, “Sweetheart, did you fill that cup for your brother?”
Verbally processing the scene, I said, emphasizing each word, “So. Where. Did he get. The water. From?”
You guessed it.
The only water source he can reach is the toilet bowl.
The toilet bowl.
This week I took The Respect Dare‘s assessment to determine areas in which I can focus the next few weeks in an effort allow God to grow me into a more godly wife.
As a household manager, I often feel like a failure.
Especially on those days when I discover my children lapping up water from the porcelain throne.
If you’re anything like me, I often find myself standing in the center of my home completely overwhelmed: kid finger-smudges; toys and clothes and throw pillows strewn about; children needing another snack; dishes crusting from the last meal; laundry considering spontaneous appendage growth, just so that it can make haste to the washer all by itself.
Okay, that last part, I exaggerate and fantasize. 🙂
If I’m really truthful, I’m okay with the way my home looks most days. My husband commissioned me to enjoy the children more, to play with them, to lighten up.
Countless times he’s told me he’d prefer the house look like Things One, Two, and Three took up residence if all the Things were happy and enjoying life rather than to have a spotless entrance with grumpy, stressed-out Things shrieking for a way out of my presence.
Initially, when I scored and ranked myself, I felt depressed. I heard things like, “What a disgrace I am!” or “I am such a failure at his household management thing! Why do I even bother?!”
Throughout the course of the week, the Lord reminded me of three, four years ago.
On the surface, my home seemed more under control, until I realized we were rarely home long enough to soil it. Not to mention, when stuff entered the home, we didn’t have the time or the energy to sort, organize or eliminate.Instead, we crammed room after room with boxes, totes, and bags with the notion that “one day” we’d get to it.
Little by little, each room is getting more organized, our routines a little more secured, and the dust-bunnies are trembling, fully aware of the eviction notice.
And then this happened.
“Hon! The Lord gave me a new appreciation for your job as a stay-at-home mom,” my husband said while diapering our youngest. “All I wanted to do was hang out with the kids, but then nothing gets done!”
Oh, how my heart swelled and my smile spread with ease, showing my teeth.
“Thanks, hon. I really needed that.”
That’s when I felt the Spirit nudge me, “See, you’re growing. You do get things done. You’re making forward progress.”
And there it is, friends.
As an abuse survivor, I struggle with allowing myself to be less than perfect, especially in those areas that don’t come naturally to me, like keeping house.
Isn’t that what we want? Dynamic, Spirit-infused, and God-honoring growth? What kind of positive impact will that have within our marriages? For our growing children? Inside our communities?
I don’t know. I can’t see the future.
What I do know is this: if God is in it, I want to be a part of it.
Even in scrubbing my toilets.
Today, I’m accepting the dare to listen more closely to my husband’s praises and to take them to heart.
What’s your next step?
Healthy introspection allows us to consider where we are in relation to where we want to be.
If you are married, I ask that you consider reading and participating with us through The Respect Dare. As abuse survivors, we have patterns of thought, action, and systems that may or may not foster growth or convey respect within our marriage.
If you are single, I ask that you consider reflecting upon your growth in the following areas (not exhaustive): emotionally, spiritually, vocationally, physically, socially, relationally.
Btw, I’ll be blogging along with The Respect Dare from the perspective of a wife-survivor of childhood sexual abuse. And maybe, just maybe, I can squeeze in a second blog post during the week. Just for fun. 🙂