Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Perfect Storm

Tomorrow we have a Japanese student coming to our home to stay for a couple of weeks. When I committed to this I believed it is what God was calling our family to. To be hospitable...to reach out to those that need a place to stay...to offer to share Christ's love...to allow our family to experience another culture...all good things for a believer. All things that help our self-focused lives to take a break from self and be accommodating and selfless for the cause of another. To take on the burden of another and to look out for their well being at great cost (i'm not saying this is a huge thing, just gas, food, time, etc) to oneself..."hesed" kind of love. I'm learning about that in my study of Ruth (yay small group women...love you all) and find that this might qualify as that type of living.Well...this is hard stuff.

It doesn't sound hard when you just say it...I mean having one extra guy at my home. No big deal. It doesn't play out that way though. I believe in a CLEAN house when someone comes over. I mean, if you dropped by without calling(please don't)you would see that we are pretty messy people. You would not find a home with "a place for everything and everything in its place" kind of home. Add to that fact, 3 teenagers (yes, Catherine qualifies, though not by her age...just her behavior) who don't enjoy clean...in fact it seems to matter very very little to them at all and 2 little ones who definitely don't care about clean(although Ellie does like things in their proper place) and you have just designed the perfect storm.

A guest is coming and we don't enjoy what it takes to get things ready. Oh my my my. When I say I want the house clean I mean I want it took look as though no one lives here. I want everything just right. The carpet people are coming tomorrow...that's how clean I mean. No one likes me around here when I want a clean house. I try so hard not to bug my big kids. They all(teens in general)seem to keep messy rooms, but then when I want them to actually clean them it creates all kinds of havoc. So, I'm looking for wisdom...do I just not ask my kids to clean their rooms? Do I ask them to clean and then allow for what they "call" clean to satisfy? Do I not invite people over or open my home b/c it causes the people who live here stress? What I want is for the team to rally. I want to say "we are having company" and for the troops to line up and say..."Yes ma'am. We know just what to do." Instead I get argument and lack of respect and instead of doing what is required on their own I must use every bit of power I have and threats and anger to rally the troops who don't want to follow me anywhere anytime. I want my kids to know me well enough and love me enough to do what it takes for my home to be ready even though it is not how they would do it. I want them to care about this because I care about it. I guess I want them to love me enough to lay themselves aside for a day. It feels so personal.

Honestly, I am at a loss. Please don't tell me to chill out though....at this stage I am just not there...in fact my "chilling" out seems to be the culprit for this frenzy now...I'm not saying that I don't need to change...I am saying that I can't NOT care about how clean my house is...I can't. It is not in me to turn a blind eye when I know people are coming over...I'm sure I need more counseling for this...even though I wonder, how would I approach this..."is not wanting a dirty house normal?"

Well, I'm sure this is more of me than you would want to know....but I'm here in the midst of this storm right at the moment and I thought some of my friends may have some wisdom...or maybe I just needed to vent my issue. I definitely need your prayers. I need to find God in the midst of this. For me, this is the big stuff. When I am here in this spot I would like to resign from my job and I am betting my troops would gladly take my resignation. Unfortunately for all involved that is not an option. In my little corner of the world is this sense of failure and discouragement.

Still life must go on...our precious student comes tomorrow needing to see Jesus in this home....needing to see love and honor for others and somehow by God's providence be drawn to Himself. He allows us to be a part of this process and I don't want to fail Him. For me, cleaning my home and having a clean home for my guests is meant to communicate love I think. To make our student comfortable and special and to meet their needs is my goal. To have him feel like we prepared for his coming.

Lord Jesus, take this desire of my heart and do what only You can. Reveal Yourself to Jungo and allow us to be a part of it. Calm my heart and help us to lay aside our comforts for his. To take on his burdens and make them our own that he may feel Your care for Him through our hands. Thank You blessed Jesus for the opportunity to meet another that You have created and to serve him as if he were You. Blessed be the name of the Lord. Cleanse my heart of all unforgiveness and wrong expectations of those You have placed in my home to love and serve too. This "hesed" goes for them too and maybe I have placed Jungo in front of them. I honestly don't know. I am lost and I need You to shine Your light on the sin in me. Thank you for the body who will lift me up at this time and most of all for Your unfailing love for this child who is but dust. Oh how thankful I am for Your grace. I am humbled. Yours, JS

P.S.The one thought I believe God has laid on my heart is that I did not ask the "team" if they wanted to do this to begin with. I basically ordered them that this was what we were going to do....To that I reply in humility, Lord, does the team vote on things or is one the captain? How do I lead without making some decisions? I am still confused.

P.P.S.As Catherine continues for the 432nd hour to clean her room I notice that I hear Josh Groban powerfully coming from her room. I must say that opera and cleaning...now that brings a smile to my face.

Enough time has passed and as I've meditated on this situation I think that what I want is a team at home. I want my kids, the big ones of course, to allow the things that are important to me to be important to them. I realize that a home that is lived in will never be perfect and I surely don't have the energy to even try to make it so. I just want to receive some joint effort from the team when I need them. I have to say that they did get things done and as I type this the carpet guy is here cleaning my carpets that were long overdue for cleaning so I'm feeling ok. I just want the relationship with my big kids to go both ways where things that matter to them matter to me BECAUSE they matter to them and things that matter to me matter to them BECAUSE they matter to me. It really isn't about the house, although when Catherine and others read this it must have sounded that way because Catherine said "it sounds like you want a perfect house and that my kids are not helping". While that is how my frustration was manifested, the real issue is the offense I feel when my kids don't seem to care about something for me. Still don't know if that's healthy, just know that that is the real deal. Thanks for caring. Jackie Sue


Kelly said...

Oh, Jackie... I too am bound by the need to keep a clean house. Especially when guests come over. Jack says I make a big deal out of it, but it is my house... my job, my sanctuary, my "company" that I am the CEO of! I have to make sure it is spotless when guests come over. Even the places you wouldn't think they would look. Somehow , I truely believe they secretly look in the corner behind the door at that dust bunny! :o) My house has to be spotless when I leave on vacation. A burgler may break in and criticize my dirty floor! :o) On a daily basis... it is a mess! I heard a saying once... " I WILL NOT be defined by the condition of my home, but by the quality of my kids' lives!"

Anonymous said...

I could have written that blog myself....it's me! I, too, go into a cleaning frenzy when I know we are having company....I usually take a couple days off work to prepare! I cringe when company stops by unexpectedly. I must admit that I've gotten better about it....I am not quite as rigid as I used to be! I guess I finally decided that life is just too short! Are you normal?...you are to me!!

Anonymous said...

MY MY Jackie, I have no clue what the stress is all about ;-)As I look around my house, I ask "oh my-where do I even begin" I've only been home a couple hours since yesterday morning and probably will have to drive back to Deland early in the morning to take my dad to the Dr's. So I again ask myself "what first?" Well, I know I can give him a clean bed to lay in, so that's in the wash and for right now-that will have to do. I need to rest in Jesus. Hayato won't be eating off my floor, so if I can't scrub it b4 he gets here, it will have to wait. I will keep Chelle's bedroom door closed. And I pray the impression we leave Hayato with is not that I'm a terrible house cleaner but that the Daly Family showed him Christ's love and HESED every chance that we are with him! I know I would have to live alone to have the kind of clean house that meets my approval, so I have to make adjustments and say "it is what it is" or I can be alone :-)
From your dear friend who would be happy to be buried with a clorox bottle!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Oh man Jackie!! I am so sorry it has been a tough day!! I used to clean every nook and craney until it seemed pretty spotless, but I have definitely relaxed! Now I usually figure it is about the company, not about my house being perfect. Sometimes I even wait to "scrub" my floors after the company leaves so I can actually enjoy it! :) That seems pretty selfish! Maybe we should check out the fly lady again! :) I'll pray you can get everything important done and then be a haven of rest and God's love to the boy staying with you! That is what he will remember way more than a spotless house anyway! I love you and always appreciate your passion! Christie

Anonymous said...

Hey I am so there with you guys. I too have had to set perfectionism aside when it comes to my children doing the cleaning. Sometimes I just do it myself to be sure it is done right. It is then that I realize that I sometimes rob the kids of learning how to complete the job well. There is much to learn for me too.

I'm glad that Christie mentioned Flylady. She recently has been touting the house fairy who comes to inspect the children's rooms (randomly) and leaves lovely surprises for the children when she finds the kids rooms clean. This could sometimes be as simple as leaving a note with a compliment in their room. This is not an idea I have tried with my kids, maybe later. I have been lacking in my routines, but I make sure that no room gets no more than 15 minutes of messy. (meaning that it takes no more than 15 minutes to clean it up) Recently we cleaned the whole house in less than an hour - company ready. Of course, this is mostly because a lot of our stuff is still in storage since we are trying to sell the house.

Have a blessed day!

Dianna M.

Julie said...

Thank you for your transparency, Jackie!!! I had to smile because I read your post while taking a break from my own cleaning frenzy for those who are coming to stay with Judah while we're gone. Is it my pride that wants it to be completely spotless (I mean "inside of fridge scrubbed, closets organized, fans taken apart and dusted" spotless :) )? I prefer to think I just want to be hospitable but am I taking it too far? The only difference between us is that I don't yet have teenagers bucking at my every request ... just an 11-month old bent on pulling all the folded laundry off the sofa.

No I do not think you need to chill out, Jackie! I am happy to hear your thoughts because I so identify with them and am happy to learn from your lessons as you share them with us.

Anonymous said...

Oh J.S.! Why be normal??
but seriously....
I think you hit upon something when you said in reference to your big kids you did not ask them, you told them
what if you empowered them with a choice between 2 options in a case like this--
1) would they be willing to help bring it to your standards or
2) would they be willing to pay you say $10 an hour
(that would probably buy you some much needed Starbucks after this is all said and done :)
is he here yet? i think i'm reading this after the fact!
love you,
lisa e
ps relax, your house is plenty comfy just the way it is ;)

Karin said...

Jackie, wow, that cleaning the house talk is making me feel like I should mop up the dirt spots from the kitchen floor and sweep the crumbs from the counter... but this too (feeling) shall pass! :)
Yes, I was at the Winter Garden Farmers Market! I usually don't get out of my PJs till noon or noon-thirty on Saturdas, so I set my alarm and made a point to go.
I'll keep an eye out for you if I go again!

Steph said...

You're preaching to the choir darlin!!! One word...."MERRYMAIDS". Just remember, one of these days your girls will be the mama's, and you can go to their houses and mess up dishes and leave them in the guest room...under the bed so they won't be found for weeks, maybe months. You can leave your toothpaste globs in the sink and your wet towels on the bathroom floor. You can "forget" to wipe your feet, and spill your coke on the carpet. And as for Matt...never mind...his wife will teach him, just like we taught ours!! Our day is coming. heeheehee

Brandi said...

Can I say that this is probably my favorite post so far? In all your blog. I love the vulnerability and the rawness of it. . the back and forth as you search it out with the Lord. Thank you for letting us in on the journey. I have no advice. . b/c I know you are seeking the one who does. That's what I love about you, friend. that you DO your work. . not letting situations go by, but asking Jesus to use them for His Glory. I do echo what someone said that I think your welcome, your family, the love that jungo experiences there will be what draws him to Christ. Most 21 year olds won't notice that there aren't smudges on the baseboards!

Love you bunches,