I am so much like my dad, it's scary at times. He insists on having everything neat and organized. If anything is out of place, it bugs him until something is done about it.
When our oldest daughter was old enough to use the bathroom and wash her hands without assistance, I would go behind her in the bathroom to tidy up after her. This usually involved straightening out the hand towel and shining the faucet with my shirt so that absolutely no water spots were visible.
Although I've allowed myself to release a bit of that neurosis, I still find it stressful to see things out of order. In fact, I've drastically lowered my standards in some areas. One aspect, in particular, took years for me to accept, but grace has definitely been needed for this.
My husband travels with some degree of regularity. When he comes home, it may take him days or even weeks to completely unpack and organize his things. There was a time when my opinion was that he should be more responsible for his things, as I had plenty to do to keep our home running smoothly. Over the years, though, the Lord has patiently taught me to see this situation from a biblical perspective. As his helpmeet, his interests have become more of a priority for me. After all, while I enjoy a great deal of latitude and autonomy by being a keeper of the home -- I love determining my own schedule! -- I shouldn't be so consumed with my own agenda that I don't take time to make things easier for Craig.
Years ago, I would become incensed about his leaving things lying around. I recall the turning point in our marriage in which I made a conscious decision to stop complaining about certain annoyances and joyfully serve him, instead. One day I walked into our bathroom and found his boxer shorts lying on the floor. Some hateful, unnecessary thought entered my head about being "sick of it" and "... never again...". I could feel the Lord's gentle rebuke in my heart, and He reminded me what a gift it is for me to have a husband, and these little annoyances were really just signs of his presence in our home. I determined that day to pick his boxer shorts up for him, no matter how often he'd leave them on the floor. I was amazed to find that within a short time, I no longer found them lying around! Apparently, my quiet help moved him to take charge of his dirty underwear.
Yesterday, we enjoyed a joyous reunion when Craig returned from an eleven-day trip to the US. At one point, I tip-toed upstairs with the camera to capture the evidence of his return. What an annoyingly tidy week-and-a-half I've had! I was so pleased to trip over his suitcase that was left in the middle of our bedroom floor. (Oops! I should have been watching where I was going.)
So, what kind of man leaves his suitcases and clothing strewn about the room, causing his wife to lose her footing? I'll tell you that it takes a man who is committed to ministering to the hearts of his wife and children. First, upon his arrival, there was the scramble to distribute all of the special treats he brought back for each of us from the States. Then, he was anxious to hear from all of the children how their time has been since he was away. At dinner, he resumed his normal practice of sharing a passage of Scripture, as well as a passage from a book he's been reading on the subject of grace. Of course, before AND after all of that, he had multiple questions to answer. There was no thought of bedtime, as we had plenty of catching up to do.
Beneath the bathroom sink isn't the ideal place for his boots, but how lovely to see them there! It means he's returned to us safely!
Oops! Are those my Chacos peeking out from under the futon? Heh. Heh.
In my book, toiletries do NOT belong on the bathroom counter, unless stashed in a proper receptacle. But last week, it was pretty boring to only ever see the hand soap.
OK. I have to come clean again. I have at least two, possibly three, articles in this bunch.
Thank you, Craig, for all you do for our family -- including, but not limited to:
* Working hard to provide for our needs
* Often delaying your own comfort or gratification in order to bless one of us
* Encouraging me to stay at home with our children
* Delighting in showing generosity to us
* Cheering us on in all we do
* Being a wonderful listener
* Helping us to see the bright side of otherwise seemingly unpleasant situations
* Maintaining your commitment to gently and biblically lead our family
* Loving laughter!
* Showing affection