Sometimes I find myself believing the lie that the only thing standing between the chaos we live in and a perfectly ordered life is . . . the method.
You know. . . if I could just get organized.
. . . if I could get those cabinets cleaned out.
. . . if we had matching dining rooms chairs or new sheets for the kids' beds.
. . . if I had more time.
. . . if I had more money.
. . . if I had more room.
. . . if I could find the perfect chore system.
. . . if I could learn to reward character more consistently.
. . . if I could discipline more effectively.
I could go on.
None of these things are wrong. Some of them need to happen and should be done. But I'm letting myself be deceived if I think "having it all together" will make life EASY. And the fact that is't HARD does not mean we are doing something wrong.
As the Coach has been known to tell me. . . sometimes multiple times a day. . . We have eight kids.
No matter how many activities we limit. No matter how organized I am (there's always room for improvement, of course!). No matter how far ahead I plan (the plans always change). No matter how consistent my discipline and well-behaved my kids are.
There's a lot going on at the troops.
This is a blessing. The children are ALWAYS my blessings. They force me to cut back and simplify and think about what really matters and where I should be investing my time (I'll give you a hint. . . it's not on Facebook!).
But sometimes I find myself dreaming of the ideal. . . instead of living in the moment.
I have to remind myself, again and again, that the house, the stuff, the level of cleanliness (ugh) is NOT what builds relationships with these kids that God has given the Coach and I.
Yes, we have to have systems, chores, plans, calendars. . . we would drown without them.
But they aren't the END. They are simply the MEANS. The means of giving us more TIME with each other.
Time for sleepovers at the farm (even though it takes two van loads of clothes, shoes, and FOOD).
For birthdays (Little Mans' FIFTH!).
For movie nights (Chariots of Fire, this week).
For late night talks with teens (when I can't keep my eyes open).
For date nights with the Coach (even if it means changing out of my stretchy pants).
For big Sunday brunches around our LONG table (with the non-matching chairs and sagging middle).
For afternoons watching basketball (with piles of laundry all around).
For pick-up games on the back-yard court (knowing someone will get hurt).
For pushing kids in the swings on a beautiful Spring afternoon (while not thinking about my to-do list - ha!).
For reading to the littles (while hiding my yawns).
For singing songs and playing games (even when they ask for songs I don't know the words to and want to play "Sequence" ONE MORE TIME).
I want to learn to see all of the work of life as simply what it is. Necessary. But never-ending. Needing to be done. But never really finished.
In two years, I'll be packing my firstborn off to college. Will it matter if the house was always perfect, the bathrooms always sparkling, the refrigerator always shining, the laundry always folded, his room always clean? (If it does, I'm in BIG trouble!)
Or will I wish I'd taken more time just to BE with him. Talk with him about life. Laugh with him. Pray with him. Enjoy the blessing that he is.
And forget two years from now. Tomorrow, I'm packing two off for their Choir Tour. And then in May another off to "Creation Nation" camp. And in June two off to Africa. Then there will be volleyball camp and football camp. Truth is, the leaving has already begun. Little by little, my time with each of them is running out.
So I'm off the computer for today. . . I think Little Man and I have some "Thomas the Train" books to read. Right after I finish vacuuming. . .