Sunday, April 16, 2017

Making Our House a HAPPY home...

A friend of mine posted a meme on facebook a few days ago.  I can't get the image out of my head or my heart.

I never considered myself a control freak person who needs to have control over all aspects of my life.  I always thought I was a go-with-the-flow, easy going person.  

And then I married my wonderful, amazing husband.  My husband, who does the laundry - but folds the clothes differently and does the dishes - but puts them away in other places or loads the dishwasher differently (when we have one that functions properly).  One day as I was re-loading the dishwasher the right my way, God spoke to me.  I felt convicted.  Did it matter which way the dishes were loaded in the dishwasher? Does it matter how the clothes are folded? No.  Simple answer.  My loving husband was choosing to serve me and help with the chores around the house and my actions were telling him that he wasn't good enough, he wasn't smart enough.  Did I think this of him? Not at all.  But that's what my actions spoke.  I wasn't trusting him to help me.  Thanks, God.  Got it!  I'll let go of all the control and learn to trust others and receive help from others, lovingly and appreciatively!

And then my nieces and nephews came along.  My nieces and nephews are amazing beings whom I absolutely love and adore and want to spoil like crazy.  But I wanted to spoil them on my terms.  My nieces and nephews live far away from me.  I have 'special' foods that are staples to me.  I have some weird food issues, so I'm picky about my treats.  There are only 2 brands of hot cocoa that I can have - and they are expensive.  I also enjoy my Silk chocolate almond milk.  Those are the two that come to mind right now that I had a REALLY hard time sharing.  And they are chocolate... and most kids LOVE chocolate :)  One day I realized that I was seeking control.  In a strange way, I needed to be in control of my food and make sure that I had it for me.  I can't pinpoint when I felt convicted of this, I just know that I was.  I realized that I wasn't trusting God with my gifts from Him.  I was hoarding for myself and not sharing with others.  I can't explain the joy that I get from seeing the smiles on my nieces and nephews' faces when they are sipping on chocolate milk with me or drinking their hot chocolate with marshmallows (that I usually add for them since I can't have them) :D  Thanks, God, for reminding me of the joy of sharing and letting go of control - again!

And then I became a bonus mom to an amazing little girl, whom I call Cinderella because she likes/d to call me her God-mother.  Cinderella and her mom stayed with us for a while when we lived in Michigan.  She loved to help clean and wanted to do something special, so she loaded the dishwasher by herself and ran it by herself - sans detergent.  She also loved to help with the laundry and her folding skills were different than mine.  It took all I had to NOT refold the laundry.  The smile on her face as she sat next to me, helping me with chores - ones that I don't particularly enjoy at that!  I would give most anything to be able to fold laundry next to her right now!  I knew that her smile would fade if she saw me re-do everything she did.  Instead, God revealed to me to use it as a teaching moment.  I watched her fold, and for the most part she did a great job - it was just different than my technique.  There were a few items (larger towels, work pants, etc) that needed to be folded a certain way to either avoid wrinkles or just to fit in their proper places.  I was able to come along side and show her how to fold those items.  The same with the dishwasher.  I was so touched that she loaded and ran the dishwasher without being asked, without anyone knowing.  She just got up one morning before everyone else, and decided to do it.  Instead of getting frustrated (like I would have in the past), I thanked her for caring enough.  I then asked how she knew how much detergent to use, and she sheepishly told me that she didn't use any because she didn't know it needed it.  After the water drained, we opened the dishwasher and I showed her how much detergent goes in and where.  I learned in that moment, how freeing it is to have help from others.  Even if it's not exactly how we would choose to have it.

In all those circumstances (and others), I realized that all this control stemmed from my pride.  My pride telling me that my way is the best.  That I know what's best for me and my family.  That I don't need anyone else.  The truth is - I need God first and foremost.  And then He put others in my life because I need them too (and hopefully I'm a blessing to them and they 'need' me too)!  I don't have all the answers, and I need to be willing to learn at all times.  Even if another way isn't better than mine, it probably gets the job done just as well and it's always handy to have another route to take.

I was reminded today at the laundromat of all this.  There was a momma and her little boy, he looked to be about 4 or 5.  She was pulling her laundry from the dryers.  As she pulled out the clothes, her son was grabbing them from the cart, laying them on the table, and then proceeded to fold them and put them in the laundry basket.  When the mom finished unloading the dryer, she saw what the little boy had accomplished.  She scolded him, grabbed the 'folded' clothes from the basket and dumped them back into the cart.  She proceeded to refold the clothes and put them back in the basket.  I will NEVER forget the look at that little boy's face.  He was defeated.  He really wanted to fold the laundry, it looked as if it was his favorite part of being at the laundromat (which doesn't surprise me because some of my favorite memories are that of me with my grandma at the laundromat) and she wouldn't let him help because he was doing it wrong.  The shirts that he folded looked better than mine!  

Oh, how I don't want a household like that.  I don't want to kill someone's joy of helping because 'it's not good enough', because it's different than how I would do it.  I want an all-around happy home!  And I will GLAD(den)LY accept help if one would like to give it.  I will choose JOY in learning new ways to accomplish tasks and I pray that I will nurture A HAPPY Gladden Family.

I little reminder that I created for myself:

Philippians 2:3&4
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.  Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

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