Letting people in
Letting people in is a really hard concept for me and it always has been. I take my time getting to know someone and even longer to let them really know me.
As a homeschooling parent, our home is our foundation. In a rhetorical and theoretical sense. We take comfort in knowing the constants of the day in and day out and we move about through the mess and the muck that becomes only ours to scatter and dissolve. There is something so sacred about the home you create.
It can go without saying that if you are a homeschooling family, there is always a mess. There is always something to clean. There are ALWAYS dishes. We live in every aspect of our home. It is where we learn together, gather together, create memories together, laugh, cry and dance together.
I explained in last week's post how multi-tasking gets in the way of the things that are truly important to the very people in my home. Well, what about those right outside of the door?
I will never forget the day we connected with an older woman in our neighborhood. Miss Edith had baked some Easter goodies and delivered them to our back fence while we were outside doing yard work. Later that week we walked to her house to take her a thank you card. Not long after that, she showed up on our front step. I remember it was a Monday and we just got home from the gym. I do not even remember exactly why she stopped by, but she did not drop something sweet on the front step or give me a neighborly suggestion, sweet Miss Edith just came walking right into my house. Around the toys and clothes on the floor and plopped down on my couch, only after she had moved a few pieces of clothing off to the side so she could find a place to sit. I was mortified. I am sure my face was 10 shades of red. She sat and shared a bit about her life and told me how her second husband had passed away a couple years ago.
All she really wanted was for someone to listen.
It reminds me of the story of Mary and Martha found in Luke chapter 10.
Here is the Bre-cap (recap) ;)
In Luke chapter 10, Jesus and His disciples had been traveling and teaching. Right before the story of Mary and Martha, Jesus is asked what the most important commandment is (1. Love God 2. Love your neighbor). and when that makes them feel a little uncomfortable, the disciples ask what it looks like to be a neighbor. Jesus proceeds to tell the story of the Good Samaritan. The answer in short is, "The one who shows mercy".
THEN we get to see Jesus show up to Mary and Martha's house in verse 38. Listen here, not only does Martha open the door and welcome Jesus in, she then has the audacity to get busy on all her tasks. As if to say, "Oh hey Jesus. Make yourself at home, nice to see you, but I will be over here trying to get caught up on cooking and cleaning." Jesus, the man who has been healing the sick and the demon possessed, the man who just rebuked a storm, is in her house and she acts like she has done her part simply by opening the door. Ain't no thang. (Enter a thousand wide eyed emojis) When she notices Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus listening to every word he is saying, Martha gets a little upset and throws quite the temper tantrum to Jesus. After she is done, Jesus tells Martha, "My dear Martha. You are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her. " (Verse 41)
I wish I could say that day that I welcomed Miss Edith into my home and that I sat and listened intently and showed her mercy, but to be completely transparent, I was distracted. Distracted by our mess, and the way the kids were acting up and turning every thought in my head to myself and my embarrassment. Distracted over the petty details.
Shortly after that surprise visit, she wrote me this sweet and treasured letter. On the back of the letter she has this typed excerpt:
"When I feel those 'I should's' start whispering, I think on this poem. Young Moms— you are so precious. Don't let the pressure of perfection stop you from pursuing your kids. This poem was written by a mama of five for Ladies Home Journal in October of 1958. It's a popular poem, and maybe you've read it before, but these words keep coming back to me, and maybe it'll speak to you, too.
I hope my children look back on today
And sees a mother who had time to play.
There will be years for cleaning and cooking,
But children grow up when you're not looking.
Tomorrow i"ll do all the chores you can mention
But today, my baby needs time and attention.
So settle down cobwebs; dust go to sleep,
I'm cuddling my baby, and babies don't keep."
This was my first eye opener.
There have been others who have dropped in and I know I did not pay nearly as much attention to the person as i did the mess, but recently Josh's Grandmother Bev stopped at our house when I had only a moments notice.
Bev lives about 3 hours away and she was so sweet to want to stop by and bring our kids some gifts before she headed back home. I was in a bit of a panic when she said she would be at our house when we got home because we had been out of town the weekend before and out of the house the entire week so nothing was maintained or even somewhat clean! The worst part was, anytime I have ever been to Grandma Bev's house it is spotless with everything in its place, candles burning and ready to go for visitors. When she was there I apologized for the mess again and again. It was the first time she has ever been over to our house. I continued to clean up the food on the table, some trash on the floor and when she asked to use our bathroom I rushed in before her to make sure my son had not left any surprises in or on the toilet.
She continued to laugh and tell me that she "remembers what it is like to have kids". She showed me grace and mercy. I remember consciously trying to block out the mess so I could engage in conversation with Grandma Bev and excitement with the kids. Somehow, for a moment of time, I blocked out the details of our mess. It was only then that I truly could enjoy this pause in our day.
I see now that it is a true reflection of my inner being. I don't like letting people in out of fear that they may see the inner mess, and it reflects in my household.
This may be the very reason God is teaching me this lesson over and over. We are born imperfect and messy. If we let ourselves, or the enemy keep our eyes focused on the mess in our lives, we miss out on the ONE thing that is important.
Listening. Listening to God, pausing to listen to others. Connecting. Giving others our time and attention because all those other details will fade away.
Are you taking the time to pause and listen to what God has for you today? Are you taking a moment, we are all busy, but are you pausing to listen to the people who are in your home as well as those who may pop in unannounced?
I am still working on it, but my eyes and heart are open now more than ever to love God, love others, show mercy and listen when I am given an opportunity to do so. It takes a lot of discipline for us to take our eyes off our own insecurities to focus on someone else, but it is so very important.
Have a wonderful week friends.
P.s. my blog turns a year old this week! Thank you all for your encouragement and support over the last year, it has meant more than you know!