Dirty dishes are on the counter, Nerf bullets are scattered here and there (there must have been a Nerf War while I was out grocery shopping), a stack of school books are on the table. The living room door creaks open and joyful shouts cry out "Momma's home, Momma's home!" I am embraced, kissed and tugged on. Everyone begs to help with the groceries. My two year old drags bags across the floor and to the fridge... canned goods find their way onto the second shelf next to the eggs. Little Miss lugs the water jugs to the pantry... along with the milk and someone has opened the tomatoes and started snacking. I cannot help but laugh. This is my life. It is big and loud and messy and fun and beautiful all at the same time.
I set the kids up with a snack while I relocate the canned goods to the pantry and place the milk in the refrigerator. Thank you Lord for this life.
In the midst of the chaos and the mundane is this sweet fullness that comes from having a large family.
Oh the days with six children in our home are not always easy. There are sleepless nights, lingering illnesses, sibling squabbles, Mommy temper tantrums, and the struggle just to get through the daily routine. However, someone is always laughing in this house, even in the midst of the craziness. I derive great joy in watching the children play and create together, seeing them gathered around me listening intently as I read from Charlotte's Web, The Bible, or Little Men; watching their faces light up as they giggle and hand me the fifth drawing they made for me that day, gazing out the window as they sled down the hill or have a snowball fight. This is what I was created for... to raise up these beautiful babes of mine to love and honor the Lord and serve their fellow man. It is a trying and tiring task but also one that brings joy unparalleled, one that will have rewards far beyond this temporal life. And how many times do I miss it? How many times do I blow it?
Maybe I am overtired and so I over react at an incident dissolving a child into tears within a matter of seconds because I speak harshly over something trivial. There have been times where I ignore what is going on and then when it cannot be ignored any longer I get upset when the blame lies with me for not being available in the beginning.
Far too often I think we do not see our children as little humans, with their own identities and souls. We need to remember that there is an eternal significance to everything we are doing. Their souls and ours will go on for eternity so what we say and do now, in this life, is important... it has an everlasting impact.
I start supper and watch the children as they set the table and do a quick tidy before dinner. They are doing what is asked of them and doing it happily. I stop to praise them... and they smile and stand a little straighter. Maybe that is what we all need, just a little more understanding and more praise in a world that seems to rush by us, not noticing the good but often focusing on the bad.
It's time for a perspective shift. Try it today... rather than focusing on Johnny spilling the milk, Susie not picking up her toys, or the food that Timmy left on the side of his plate notice what they did do.
"Wow Johnny. Thank you for trying to pour yourself a cup of milk. You are becoming such a big boy. Here, let me help you clean that up."
"Susie, the fort you made for your dollies is so neat. Can you tell me about it?"
"Timmy, thank you for tasting your peas even though you don't like them. You did a great job eating your pork chop and apples."
Same goes for you Momma... rather than noticing the load of laundry you didn't get to fold notice the smiles on your children's faces because you read them a story instead, or rather than sighing over the sink of dirty dishes that you just don't have the energy to wash look at the satisfied faces around you because you made yet another meal. Instead of seeing the stretch marks and tired eyes, see the strength that brought forth life and continues to sustain it even in the midst of long days and sometimes long nights. You are strong, you are capable, and you are loved... keep up the good work and know I am right here with you, cheering you on.
What are some ways you notice the good in your world? Please leave a comment below, I'd love to hear from you. :)