Let me tell you a story about my husband’s underwear. No, not that kind of story. Get your mind out of the gutter.
It was a year or two ago, and my husband awoke to the familiar panic that is having no clean underwear.
I was in the middle of getting the toddler her breakfast, getting the baby out of bed and ironing B’s shirt, and I suddenly remembered that the only clean pair of his boxer shorts were on the clothes line, wet.
I’d ironed boxers dry before (see above – “familiar panic”), but in that moment, I had a stroke of genius.
I could microwave the boxers! It would be much faster and less hands-on than ironing them.
I set the microwave to a conservative 30 seconds. The boxers were warmish. The baby started fussing.
Alright, 3 minutes should do it. Go.
Yes! It worked! The boxers were dry, apart from one small spot. Good enough.
When B went to put them on, he asked me why they were scratching him.
Apparently, the microwave had melted some of the elastic waistband and it had hardened.
I soon fixed that with a band-aid applied to the inside of his boxers.
Send the other contestants home. You can just hand me my “Wife of the Year” award now.
Staying on top of the housework has always been a challenge for me. I’m a naturally messy person. (Let’s go with “creatively minded” person, shall we?)
Compounding this issue is the fact that my husband has a higher standard of cleanliness than I do. I don’t seem to notice mess, even when I’m stepping over a million things just moving around the house.
He can feel mess, and the state of the house bears a strong correlation to his mood.
Before we got married, his laundry basket never overflowed, his clothes were neatly folded and colour coded in their drawers and each sock was committed to it’s partner for life.
And yet, keeping all the home-stuff clean and running is now my job. I’ve had some growth here, but I’ve got a long way to go.
This part of my life is significant enough to warrant a point on my mission statement. I wrote that my mission is:
To create a warm, orderly and joy-filled atmosphere in our home, in which the gospel is shared naturally.
“Order” is something I crave in this area. Order means having “a place for everything and everything in it’s place”. Order means knowing how often you should change the sheets and vacuum the floors, even if it doesn’t always happen that often. Order means finding a rhythm.
And if you think back to my story above, order probably would have meant that the shirt was already ironed and the boxers dry and in the drawer.
I realise for many people, home-making is the last thing on their minds. They see it as unimportant and a necessary evil.
I get that. Much of home-making is boring to me. I’m not natural at it, and it would be easier for me to just embrace my messiness as “who I am” and get on with other things.
But I am pursuing growth in this area for several reasons:
– Most important is that I believe all of the Christian’s life should reflect the gospel. The gospel is about God taking our hearts and conforming them to be like Christ. Taking the chaos and bringing order.
– I want my husband to feel peaceful and loved when he is home.
– I want our home to be a place that others feel welcome and cared for, so that we can minister to them through friendship and hospitality.
– I never would have believed it a few years ago, but my children also seem to thrive on order. They are calmer when the house is not messy.
The nature of housework is that it will never stay done. Every day the dishes need to be washed again, the bills paid, the children cared for. And if it’s not one thing, it will be another. The work will not be finished until we get to heaven.
But I love to look for the spiritual lessons in the everyday, and this reminds me that we are not in heaven yet. That we are still waiting for Jesus to return. And that while we wait, we work.