• The Ladd Family


I am the only person who hears a hallelujah chorus when the house is clean? I mean, for real!! It's amazing. The sky magically becomes beamingly beautiful with a glorious warm sunshine, there's mysteriously a cool gentle breeze that blows through my windows, and my soul might I add, and I suddenly hear birds chirp and choirs sing in heavenly realms.

But let me be perfectly honest, with having a 1 year old, 8 year old, and 10 year old, keeping a continually clean house is like trying to mix water and oil- it just ain't happening.

Some days, it's like I'm on a never ending, exceedingly annoying journey to clean the blackhole that are my children's rooms. I get so doggone exhausted, and I tell myself, "I will nap when the baby naps," but I never do. I always end up either trying to quietly get work done from my laptop, helping our oldest two babies with homeschool, or trying to scrub the leftover bits of spinach out the bottom of my blender from the morning protein shake.

I have watched and read more articles about Marie Kondo and different decluttering and cleaning techniques than I can count. Despite my efforts, I somehow keep falling short. If I really focus on cleaning and the messiness, I can feel trapped in the tension of wanting an immaculate home verses wanting a vibrant and full home for my family.

One thing, mess or not, that never changes about my daily routine is that I always start off with Jesus and coffee. I absolutely cannot get my day started and get anything productive done without a hot cup of flavored coffee and my quiet time with God, reading His Word.

Two days ago when I was reading and praying, and I came across this scripture, "The only clean stable is an empty stable. So if you want the work of an ox and to enjoy an abundant harvest, you'll have a mess or two to clean up." (Proverbs 14:4 TPT)

Back in the days of King Solomon when that was written, many families' livelihood depended on oxen tilling their fields and providing crops to eat and sell. I can only imagine living back then and thinking, "dear Lord, I just want the stable clean for 15 minutes. For Pete's sake, how hard is it to have a clean stable and KEEP a clean stable?" And Solomon is essentially saying, "Sure, you can have a clean stable... if there are no oxen. If you want a clean stable, get rid of the animals. You'll have it nice and clean. Sweep it, mop it, spray it down with Lysol, get you a Glade plug-in or twelve, get it nice and fresh smelling." I'd be able to say I have a clean stable- check that sucker off the list.

But without the oxen, you don't have crops. Abundance comes from the animal that makes the stable dirty. If you want abundance, you must embrace the mess.

If I were to get rid of my children and my husband, I would have a perfectly clean home. Sparkling counters, freshly waxed hardwood floors, and everything in it's place with zero clutter. I could take a deep Febreeze-filled breath and enjoy a lovely, well organized home.

But what’s missing? The wonderful husband God has provided for me. The precious children, who are a treasure from the Lord. Sure, I could have things immaculate. But how lonely! We may not have a home that is always spick-and-span, but there is a richness in our home. There is life. There is abundance.

Proverbs 14:4 is helping me to reframe the way I see the mess. The toys on the floor remind me that imaginations are expanding, explosions of thought and creativity abound and young minds are constantly learning and growing. The crumbs on the floor after lunch are a reminder that little bellies are filled and that God has been faithful to provide us with all the food we want and we need each day. The dusty dresser top is a visual message that our time is being spent elsewhere. The mud on the backdoor step is a reminder that my babies and husband had a blast outside together, making sweet muddy memories. There are daily explorations and water fights in our little garden, water-splashing at bath time, playing chase in the house while pretending we’re superheroes, and dancing to Tony Bennett blasting on the music speaker. There is just so much abundance.

And the abundance would be absent if the children who make the mess weren’t present.

God is teaching me to look beyond the mess, to look toward the abundance. To look at the richness and beauty of children enjoying life, of joyful moments with parents and kids, of love and laughter reverberating off the walls. This is still hard, since I really really value a clean home (which, to be clear, is not a bad thing). But I pray the Lord grows me more and more in recognizing what matters most, and in embracing the people over the perfection.

In the midst of the mess, embrace the abundance.

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