Happy FRIDAY!!!!!!!!!!

It’s the early morning hours of Friday and although the littlest man in my home has just piped up with his first ‘good morning sounds’ of the day, there is something still sacred about being awake before the sun.  A little painful (ha!) but still sacred.

I hope you’ve had a good week!  Our week has consisted of rain, the last week of Mother’s Day Out for Liam before Summer break, praying with friends, Mr. Shepherd struggling with some pain (which I’ve assumed was teething but we are heading to the Dr today just to make sure there’s not something else I’m missing) and cleaning my kitchen all day every day.  My friend Natasha is pretty funny.  She has coined the term ADED.  Which represents All Day Every Day.  Ha!  No explanation necessary for any mommy type reading, right?!

But seriously, the kitchen.  For the past two weeks, it has become my arch rival on a daily basis.  Or I guess we could say, ADED.  The dang thing has won every single battle we’ve had recently.  I mean, truly, I’m not sure I’ve beat it in any one of our encounters.  I am fairly certain that I use every moment of free time that I have to whittle away at it during the daylight hours.  And some days, it really does come fairly close to being beat.  It looks good by the time I’m done with it.  But how quickly it resurfaces in it’s messy winningness.

Seeing as how this battle has raged for a few weeks now, I have most definitely found myself doing deep, down to my toes, soul searching as I’ve scrubbed dishes for the millionth time.  Pondering questions of ‘Whhhhhhhhy?’ and ‘What’s wrong with me?’ and ‘How in the world can I fix this?’  You know, if you haven’t been in such a wrestle with such a room recently, this may sound trivial!  But I assure you, it is very much all out warfare when you’re stuck in the middle of it!

In all of that deep down to my toes soul searching, a few things have occurred to me.  Namely, I’m in one of those stretches of mommyhood.  You know the ones.  The ones where someone needs something ADED. Granted, I think that’s the story of being a mom most days….but my experience has been that there are just these phases where it heightens and it’s somehow more.  My big boy relishes playing with me and being at my feet, and my little boy is teething and just crawled for the first time yesterday and is doing Olympic level developmental leaps….which is delightful but means that there is not much putting him down for more than ten minutes.  And I personally struggle to be very productive at all in ten minute chunks.  And then there’s my biggest boy who relishes quality time together at the end of our work days…and I do too.  That and, by the end of these days of mommying, I have very little steam left.

I’ve determined that what I really truly need is for everyone to go away.  HA!!!!!!  Mind you, I don’t wish for everyone to go away (mostly)!  But if I could just be left alone in my house for 3-4 hours, I could beat it all down in a ferocious way.  I could practically run as I cleaned because there would be no so little hindrance.  I’d be like one of those fierce athletes that trains wearing weights so that when they get to the actual event to compete they feel like they can fly because their body is so much lighter.  Totally.

It takes very little imagination for me to fast forward my life ten years and look back at my mommy of little people self and say something like ‘Sister, let it go.  Relish the babies.  If the mess comes with the babies, live it up!’  So I try to keep that in mind.  Because I do LOVE this season of my life. BUT, when you do not work outside of the home, sweet mercy, a messy house is really something to wrestle with.  Even as I’m typing, this all sounds a little over the top dramatic!  But, I kid you not, when you are swimming in a messy kitchen that you just can’t beat – day after day – it starts to feel like a torture method a terrorists would use. No…..not overly dramatic at all. Smirk.

Of course, at the end of the day, the messy kitchen isn’t really about the messy kitchen.  It’s about how it makes me feel.  And, it makes me feel overwhelmed.  It makes me feel like I’m just not getting on top of life.  It makes me feel like I’m trapped. It makes me feel irresponsible.  At about this point, I’m a really hopin’ you can relate!  Because if you can’t, well that’s just embarrassing then.

Although it’s now Friday afternoon as I’m wrapping this post up (we’ve now started the day, enjoyed some quality time, I got to clean for 25 minutes (timer set), played cars and the Busy Town board game, gotten a summer hair cut for the big boy, picked up a charm at Vintage Pearl, ate a little lunch at Mimi’s and now we are back and both boys are having room time….one sleeping, one ‘reading’) and I’ve pondered the words I wrote early this morning.

It’s always dangerous to take a pause when writing because the second-guesser inevitably shows up.  Thoughts of how ridiculous it is to write about how my kitchen has been my enemy for two weeks, thoughts of how petty it must sound to someone not in this stage, thoughts of judgement from those who truly excel at keeping order in their home or thoughts of judgement from those who see keeping order as far less important than spending all your time focused on little ones…….the list goes on.  But here I am, still writing.  Oh well, I say.  My kitchen really has been my foe over the past two weeks!  But do you know what…..the Lord does speak through most any situation in which we face a foe.

It makes me think of James 1:2-4:

  Count it all joy, my brothers,[b] when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Count it all joy.  And the word ‘let’ in verse four really strikes me.  It is possible to face a trial and not ‘let’ the fruit come.  Let steadfastness have its full effect, that I may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.  So by the grace of God, I press in to steadfastness because HE is steadfast.  And if HE is, and HE is in me and I am in Him, then I have the capacity to let steadfastness do it’s work.  

And though I still press forward to gain the upper hand in my kitchen (come on weekend!), the Lord has reminded me of a few truths:

– When I feel overwhelmed, I panic.  It’s hard for me to know where to start and I’m pretty sure I literally walk in circles.  So, make the job smaller.  Focus on one part and stick with it.  

– Set the timer and commit to cleaning for that amount of time and then stop.  Part of the reason that I HATE having my kitchen talk back at me with its messiness is that it genuinely robs me from time I’d love to spend playing on the floor with my big boy and baby boy.  If I set the timer, it gives boundaries to all.  Liam knows when I’ll be done and I know when I’ll be done and when that timer goes off, I walk away and settle onto the floor for some car playing.  

– Allow truth to walk me back from the edge of dire thinking.  The truth is: I am fully capable of getting on top of the kitchen.  I am not a perfect mom/home manager, but I’m good.  And the kitchen simply doesn’t get to talk to me.  I get to talk to it.  Sometimes I feel like Adam and Eve….God gave them dominion over the creation, correct?!  So, I have to remind myself and this house and its little voice, that God gave me dominion – not the other way around.  This house doesn’t own me or have the right to tell me who I am or what I am.  So back off already, kitchen!  You’ll meet your maker when I get the window of time.  And you’ll be sorry you ever breathed a thing to me :)…….. Seriously as I type this I’m contemplating whether or not I’m entirely stable.  Ha!  

– Today is beautiful.  Even if I stare at a list of things that need to be done ADED, this day is beautiful.  And my baby boys will be full grown men bigger than me in the blink of an eye.  So pass me that squishy baby cheek to nuzzle and kiss, and let me stare into the deep and sweet eyes of a three and a half year old and hear his heart.  These are God’s treasures that He’s trusted into our hands to nurture and train into their destinies.  That’s important.  

– But a clean kitchen is important too.  Because it makes my brain stop hurting.  And I’m pretty sure there is a direct link to a clean kitchen and peace.  Wink, wink. So, I keep pushing when I can.  

Uh, thank you LORD that it’s Friday!  Vietnamese food with my favorite three men awaits me tonight and that means I won’t dig my kitchen hole deeper.  Glory.  Highest praises!  HALLELUJAH!!!!!!!!!  

I sincerely hope you’re on the brink of a delightful weekend.  And whatever your foe has been, I hope you find words to talk back to it a little.  Remind it of who’s who.  A little trash talk feels real good.  

Love y’all and happy weekending,
Abi