Messy No Longer

Scrubbing. Dusting. Washing. Vacuuming. If there’s one extra-biblical theologically-sounding statement my family believes in, it’s “Cleanliness is next to godliness.” With three dogs & four humans, our house can get messy. Even if it’s been less than a week since cleaning, the dirt and grime stealthily builds up.

Messy Sarah DohmanI dread the beginning of the whole process, but I love the end result. There’s nothing like a clean toilet and uncluttered surfaces. I truly admire a dust-free house, even if it only lasts a few days. There’s something triggered deep within my soul when the weekly chores have been completed. I can rest in knowing I have a window of time to enjoy the clean sparkle.

Much like my admiration for an unsullied household, there’s something to be said about a washed life. This world is in a recurrent state of mess. Violence, natural disasters, broken families,  and there are even parts of my own heart that are just plain ugly. Can I tell you how grateful I am for Jesus, fixer of the broken things? Healer and redeemer of all the messy and unlovely.

Jesus, lover of my soul, lived a perfect life. He always directed his followers back to God the Father. And in his utmost and flawless timing, he gave up himself on the cross so that there could be an end to all the mess and stains that separate us from God. Isn’t that incredible?

Peter, one of the early church fathers and a disciple of Jesus, shares,

“Therefore, preparing your minds for action,and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.”-1 Peter 1:13-21

Sarah Dohman Messy (2)We were “ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers.” Our uncleanliness, this separation from God was and is multi-generational. This is a perpetual cycle of sin that can only be ended by the perfect blood of Jesus. Jesus’s death and resurrection conquers all. He takes the mess in our hearts and wipes it clean. We are not required to clean ourselves up over and over as we come to God, but can rest assure that Jesus finished the work that has ensured our holiness. He washed us with His blood and it removed all filth.

As the world aches, and our hearts wane, I am praising God for his son. His clean, pure, holy son. Who looks at my mess and says, “I love you anyway.” Let’s not waste any time trying to scrub ourselves clean. It’s exhausting and futile. Instead, let’s kneel at the feet of the One who loves us at our worst. Jesus can and always will be able to handle our disarrayed lives, and transform them into something beautiful.


sarah-dohman-squareSarah Dohman is a nurse, kayak enthusiast, coffee addict, microbrew lover, globe trotter, adorer of friends and family. She has a weakness for donuts, runs in 5k races, and cannot get enough tea and books. She loves writing more than talking (and she talks a lot), can be seen at Target frequently, and is loving life in her thirties. She believes God has called her to this space to bring joy and encouragement through words to friends and family, near and far. You can find more from Sarah at her blog or on Twitter.

Advertisements

The Undomesticated Housewife

I have been a housewife/domestic engineer/stay-at-home-mom for over ten years, and I cherish and appreciate the blessing of being able to be with my kids full time. I know not everyone has the opportunity to do it, and not everyone wants to. As for me, I will always be grateful for these years spent with my children as they grew from newborns to toddlers and toddlers to school agers. But…

Let’s be real: I hate cleaning my house.

While I am at it, here are some more confessions: If my kids want to stay in their pajamas all day, I entertain the notion far too often, and sometimes even join them. I almost always have clean laundry in my room or sitting on my couch, and I use it as validation for Netflix binging—I rarely even attempt folding unless I can combine the two. One more: It is a dream of mine that once the kids are in school I will go back to work just so I can hire someone else to clean my house. I still haven’t quite convinced my husband of how fantastic an idea this is, but I am working on it.

I love to have friends in my home, but preparing to receive them is the furthest thing from my list of joys. I know the popular things these days is not to worry about the mess, and don’t apologize for it. But the truth is, I am not apologizing because I am afraid it isn’t good enough, or because I won’t meet some unknown standard. I apologize because I honestly could have done a little (or… a lot) better, but I chose to do something else instead. It might have been important, and it might mean I was reading a really good chapter in whatever book I am currently reading. Please accept my heartfelt apology for inviting you into my squalor; but hey, I’m glad you’re here.

The longer I am at home, the more I have to search for the why of homemaking. Is it important? Absolutely. Is there worth in it? Definitely. Do I love walking into other people’s beautiful homes? LOVE IT. Do I want to have the same? Sort of…well, yes, yes I do. But many of the reasons still escape me. One does not. This is how I serve my people and my God.

Scripture says:

The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down. -Proverbs 14:1 (This can be applied to attitude as well, but we should also actually care for the homes we have been given)

She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.-Proverbs 31:27 (My paraphrase: She pays attention to the hearts and welfare of those around her, puts down her phone, and chooses not to tell Netflix she is still watching.)

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.- Titus 2:3-5(That one, I’m just gonna leave right there.)

I have advantageously learned to weave through loopholes and manufacture justification for why I can get away with my favorite indulgences. However, carefully crafting my own demise slowly strips away what I truly care about. I have told myself the cluttered corner means little looking through the lens of eternity, but caring for, loving well, and providing a place of rest for my family means more than I realize.

The home can be a dark and troubling place as well. What happens in a household can make bitterness take root, it can be where unspeakable abuses are inflicted, and it may act as an anxiety breeding ground when people strive after unrealistic dreams of perfection. The nightly news tells us quaint neighborhood dwellings can also become the crime scene, the drug den, or the house of hidden terrors.

By the grace of God, I will build my house, fight for justice within my walls, and model sacrificial love. So there will be prayers prayed, truths taught, and the gospel preached. If it also means bending down to wash little feet, slay allergy-inducing dust bunnies, and aggressively cleansing dried food off an infinite cascade of dishes. So be it. May the Lord arm us for whatever battle lays ahead of us this day, and may His mercies meet us in the morning. Time to go, I’ve got work to do.
~~~
Readers,
We know not everyone has this struggle, but we are sure you have your own places that scripture convicts and reminds that there is a better way to love. How will you choose to show love to those closest to you today?

Chara is a freelance writer, certified biblical counselor, and speaker. She holds a MSEd from Corban University and is passionate about seeing people set free through God’s truths. She loves to write about faith, culture,  and the deep truths that drive our fascinations with it. Chara is the founder and editor of  Anchored Voices and can be found on multiple social media platforms @CharaDonahue.

Ballade of Bleached Blemishes

If we can make laundry poetic it makes it better, right? Well, here’s hoping. 😉

 

I cannot face it. I will not look. Let it be.
I will not take the bait or tease the hook. The stress,
it mounts thinly—layer by layer—I will flee.
No, I will fight. I fold the shirt. I hang the dress.
My swallowed room, my bed, I stand to repossess.
I make stack after stack out of the disarray.
Sorting away the mending and the stained. The mess,
it stalks like a predator coming for its prey.
It piles up, slowly builds; crags and peaks I see.
I push it aside, close the door to convalesce.
The ebb and flow of forsaken fabric debris
sucks me in and pulls me under. Nevertheless,
I take action.  This constant strain I must address.
It is proof we live, and have dear offspring at play.
The grime is washed away the fun can stay. The mess,
it stalks like a predator coming for its prey.
Chores will always be, but from dread I can be free.
The issue is not pants and matchless socks.  What? Yes
the real disorder reigns painfully within me.
Tinges of depravity venture to possess.
Striking at identity, tempting to transgress.
But Christ I see, paid the price that was mine to pay.
Meeting in the scandal of grace, He wiped the mess.
No longer stalked by a predator as weak prey.
Conquered cliffs of clothes won’t justify. I confess
fabric softened lies have provoked my peace to fray.
A redemptive act, this purgation of the mess.
When the predator comes round, I begin to pray.

IMG_5282