Saturday, August 22, 2009

By Our Love

It took 2 hours of cleaning, listening to Newsboys and thinking quietly to myself to come to terms with something I have always found difficult. How do you let "it" go? I am known for white knuckling it. I hold for dear life to every word, relationship and decision. So when I heard that one of my son's soccer coaches didn't like him, the journey to letting go stretched out for miles in front of me.

Peanut, my sister from another mother, told me this would be hard. I remember her telling me how much it bothered her to hear negative remarks about her son from his teacher. I would tell her that her son's success and failures are not tied in to her identity. She remarked, you'll see when your son starts school. He starts school in September and I can already see the light. The bright spotlight on my son which reveals my weaknesses. September will be back to school for the both of us.

After I found out that one of my son's coach didn't like him I became angry. I made comments and created thoughts that came naturally to me. Here is a brief list:
1. The feeling is mutual
2. How unprofessional of him to share this with other parents
3. I knew there was something about him I didn't like
4. I am going to give him a piece of my mind

This is my natural reaction when I feel attacked or criticized. I remind myself that it is not I who is being criticized it is my son. Yet it stings. The fears of nonacceptance and disapproval from adults that I had as a child surfaces as if time hasn't passed at all. The more I think about the words the angrier I get. I make up fake conversations with the coach in my head. I know that is one area I can do more damage than most- my words. I think of all the witty and mean things I could say back. I start to criticize his son and his family. All the while I continue to feel angrier and angrier.

Eight hours later I find myself cleaning my kitchen form top to bottom and mopping my ground level floors. As I try to cling to my "cleanie" life 7 words pop into my mind. "They will know us by our love." I ask myself how can I love someone that I feel no connection to and I actually dislike. Yet I begin to think about tomorrow when my son gives one of his coaches a gift. I feel compelled to give a gift to this coach as well. There is no sentimental thoughts about it. I just know that love is an action and that is a way I can demonstrate love. By the time I have cleaned my kitchen, family room, dinning room, front room and guest bathroom I have figured out that through love I can let "it" go.

Wish me blessings tomorrow!

Galatians 5:22 (The Message)
22-23But what happens when we live God's way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The 12 Steps for Messies- Well Actually 5

The "Messie" View from Here

Last night I decided to listen to my favourite radio show "Focus on the Family" while I cleaned the kitchen. To some of you this may come as a shock. I do clean my kitchen and I have been for the last little while. See I have been inspired by my friend and my mother to "get it together". I am known for not vacuuming daily, leaving dishes in the sink overnight, and being generally untidy. I have managed to stay organized most of my life. However, since getting married and having children (and oh yeah a dog) my secret messiness has surfaced. My friends can be found closing cabinets, sweeping my floor and loading my dishwasher. My mother lives with me and often folds my laundry that has been sitting in the dryer for days.

In the beginning of my marriage I frequently blamed my husband because he was domestically challenged. Then we hired someone to clean the house. Every Friday I would come home and find shiny floors, hairless bathroom floors, and cleared kitchen counters. It was the best thing money could buy. Then children came and the budget wouldn't hold a cleaner on a smaller income. Children have a lot of stuff. So naturally we moved to a bigger house. It didn't occur to me that a bigger house meant more time cleaning and organizing. But it became very clear that I was in trouble.

So back to last night. The radio show featured a self proclaimed Messie, Mrs.
Sandra Felton
. She talked about her years as a "Messie" and how she became a "Cleanie". She created these terms. I was shocked to hear that she didn't think it was funny or quirky to be messy. Being messy was a problem. This turned out to be a good show for me because for the past week I had been making a sincere effort to keep a clean house. I was tired of apologizing the minute someone came to my door unannounced, and I wanted to feel confident as the manager of my home.

Listening to Mrs. Felton's interview made me feel confident that I could tackle this problem. The way she described Messies reminded me of the way you describe someone who has an illness or addiction. You had to work on it daily. So I made up these 5 steps as a reminder of where I heading. ( I just check the website (
) and discovered that there are 12 steps for Messies! Here are mine. Hope you enjoy them.)

1 : We admitted that our lives had become unmanageable.
You know things are unmanageable when:

- there are no matching socks in your child's dresser draw

- you have laundry to put away that would take you 2 hours

-you can't remember what your child's swimming shorts look like because it has been that long since you have done laundry

-on occasion you forget the colour of your kitchen tile

-you can't find the vacuum cleaner, dust pan, or gloves

-you hate when people ask for tour of your home!!!

2: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

Three words: Thank you Jesus!

Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
FYI: Being a Messie is a defect. Contrary to popular belief it doesn't mean you are misunderstood, creative, or interesting.

Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
My Children: Sorry I kept blaming you for loosing your hat, gloves, soccer stuff, sun glasses, water bottles, shoes, backpack etc.... It was my fault. I truly understand the meaning of the phrase, "a place for everything".
My Mother: The countless piles of clothes on the floor, a bedroom door that always had to stay shut, and a bathroom with more products on the counter than in the cabinet. One word- sorry.
My Husband: Apologizing would mean that you are not part of the problem. I think you are a secret Messie. It is time to come out. It is okay, the first step is admitting you have a problem. Hi my name is__________ and I'm a Messie. Okay I will say sorry for (...thinking..hmmmm.....) I can't do it.
My Friends: I apologize for covering your black socks in dog hair, running late all the time because I had such a mess to clean up before I had to meet you, and making you feel like you have to clean my kitchen (P. you know who you are)

Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to Messies, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Today is day 5 of leaving my Messie world behind.