by Stephanie Blackiston

more than a clean house

I am weeks away from having our seventh child. My tummy is so big, it is hard to even sit at the computer!

I am officially in full-blown nesting mode. Whatever this strange hormone is that makes you want to clean stuff, I need to bottle and save for later! This obsessive need for order is actually unusual for me. I am much more laid back about messes when I am not pregnant. But in these last weeks of pregnancy, I crave order more than chocolate!

The frustrating problem is I can never quite achieve it! I am moving at a slow pace. The other people who live here are going full speed and they can make messes twice as fast as I can clean them up. It is getting very hard to mop or bend over and pick up toys and clothes that continually fall from the sky.

I spent an entire day doing laundry last week. I also washed all the sheets and put them back on the bunk beds (that is equivalent to a man walking on the moon when you are this pregnant).

It is me vs. messes and I am determined to win!

Just when I think I am superwoman and winning, the gigantic pile of dishes mocks me as I walk by the sink.

The messes know they will always win! 

That’s when the anger, defeat, and condemnation begin to set in.

As moms of little ones, this is a constant battle because we can never seem to win or get ahead. Our houses don’t look like the pictures in the magazines.

I have been aggravated lately with all the people who are making these messes. They are getting between me and my illusive idol—order!

My attitude has been terrible. I have needed a lot of forgiveness from God and the children.

I love looking at pictures of houses where everything is radiantly white, orderly, and clean. However, I am coming to terms with the fact I will never be able to ever have a pinterest-perfect house. But is that what any of us should really desire in the first place?

There is a verse God always brings me back to when I am on the verge of a breakdown about losing the battle with messes:

“Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest.” Proverbs 14:4

Huh? Well, back then if you wanted to plow a field, pull a wagon or get anything else done, you needed an ox. What else do oxen do? Mess up the stable. So according to Solomon, you can’t have it both ways—either you get nothing done, or you clean the stable.

We have chosen to load the stable and get as much done as we can. 🙂

It is kind of funny how much this random verse about oxen has encouraged me over the years. God’s Word continually speaks to me in every season of motherhood. It is what sets us free and gives us a right perspective.

You see, we need an eternal perspective about cleaning up messes. How I pray that my messy home (“stable”) is full of strong oxen! I pray that in the middle of all these messes, these precious children are learning how to serve God and work hard for the Kingdom.

As I write this, the sound of the dryer tumbling clothes is in the background. Instead of dreading it, I am encouraged! Encouraged that I have a stable full of messy oxen to clean up after and pray for.

As we clean our kitchen, wash clothes, change sheets, scrape unidentifiable goop off the van floor, change diapers, pick up Legos, and mop floors may we remember to pray that God would be raising up strong oxen within our messy stable walls.

It also helps to remember what a mess I AM and how God is constantly cleaning up after me!

He washes me (Isaiah 1:18, Psalm 51:7), and gives me clean clothes (Revelation 19:8).

He prepares food for me (Isaiah 25:6) and provides for my every need (Philippians 4:19).

So this afternoon, when the dishes start to mock me, I am going to stop and pray for God to give me supernatural abilities to clean up messes. I am going to ask Him to empower me to do what I cannot.  When I am exhausted, I need God’s dynamite power helping me get our kitchen table cleaned off and the kitchen counters wiped down!

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.” Acts 1:8

Power from heaven to do dishes—yes!

d”Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a HARVEST if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

Keep cleaning your stables and pouring your life out like an offering to God and into your husband and children. Keep cleaning your house. Keep giving baths. Keep teaching them the Word. Keep praying your brains out.

Post Proverbs 14:4 up somewhere in the middle of your messy kitchen to help you see the BIG PICTURE.

There is great purpose in these days of cleaning and serving.

Messy house=large harvest.

We can do this.

Keep it up.

Maybe instead of looking at perfection on Pinterest for hours and getting depressed from comparison, we should look at pictures of messy stables as an encouragement!

And remember, one day we will live in a house better than any Pinterest picture or Dream Home!

A place with no tears…and no dirty dishes!

“There is more than enough room in my Father’s home.  If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?  When everything is ready, I will come and get you…” John 14:2,3

So, all you tired mommas out there, BE ENCOURAGED if your house is a wreck. Don’t grow weary in wiping counters and bottoms! You are raising a future generation of laborers. Your work has great value to God.

“But you, be strong and do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded!” 2 Chronicles 15:7

I don’t want a perfectly clean house. I want a messy stable full of strong oxen who will produce A LARGE HARVEST.  

Stephanie Blackiston


Please leave your comments below! We love to hear from our readers. How do you keep perspective through the messes of motherhood? 

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