I used to think my house had to look perfect. Even when I had my first baby, I still spent my entire Saturdays cleaning and scrubbing and vacuuming relentlessly.
Tonight I sit in the middle of a dirty kitchen (that I don't plan to clean tonight), with laundry overflowing from my dysfunctional laundry room, and I'm pretty sure there is a plate on the coffee table full of chocolate dipped marshmallows and other paraphernalia.
Let's just say that my need for everything to be in it's place all the time has definitely diminished after 3 kids and 2 foster babies. Add in hosting bible study (12+ women and their children) every week, team get togethers, superstar director lunches, board of director committee meetings, and such, and you can say that something had to give for all that to happen.
Brian and I both took spiritual gifts tests when Brian was on staff at church, and we both have hospitality as one of our spiritual gifts. I have learned so much in the past few years about what hospitality really means.
I know for sure that it does not mean your home has to be clean all the time. It does not mean that you have to have everything decorated to perfection and no clean or dirty laundry strewn about. It does not mean that you have to shove things in closets before people come over.
Hospitality means that you're willing to open your doors, willing to share life with others....the good, the bad, and the sometimes dirty. Hospitality means being open and authentic about what life sometimes looks like when little people are a part of it.
My house is not always clean when I go to bed. There are days that the toys don't get picked up and the laundry doesn't get done.
I'm not advocating uncleanliness or messy living. I'm just saying give yourself a break once in a while.
If you're too stressed out to host because you think your house is too messy or not big enough or not decorated right, you miss out on the opportunity to do life with other people.
I still like pretty things, and I love the way my house looks when my living room is clean and the laundry is caught up. And you probably know that I'm all about systems and a plan, and all that is good and well, and I always think we can get better at the things we do, including being a mom, a homemaker, a hostess, etc. But it's not 1950 and no one is coming over to play bridge to see how you set the table.
So I guess I'm just saying that the Lord has really showed me that if I want to do life with people via bible study and women's groups and such, I have to be okay with what life looks like even when it's a little messy.
It's a process for me, but I will say that today we hosted 7 adults and 5 kids in addition to our own, and when they got here, our king sized feather bed topper was lying in the living room with giant pee stains on it (because it got peed on yesterday and I'm debating whether I should try to febreze it out or call it done for good), there was a pile of clean laundry sitting on a table in our kitchen (right next to the food we were serving) with a pair of Addy's pink polka dot panties topping the pile, and boxes of unprocessed Scentsy and Grace Adele orders in my entry way.
And you know what? It was all okay. They all still love us because, such is life.
When you have littles, life is not clean and tidy and beautiful all the time, and that's perfectly okay.
Loving my beautiful mess more and more everyday and doing things because I love to do them, not because I'm trying to impress others.