The morning after Easter, I was faced with a true disaster. My house was a mess. I was exhausted, sore and unexpectedly depressed. I was alone. Our immediate family totals 18 now, and 10 of these are under 14 years of age. Need I say more? Every inch of our house had been turned upside down the previous day. The better part of the week had been spent preparing for company, cleaning and cooking the meal. I had stuffed almost 300 eggs for the kids’ egg hunt.
This morning, my house looks as if we’d been robbed.
Our granddaughters had cleared the tables after Easter dessert; so, I had gone to bed, deciding to clean in the morning. Dirty dishes, pots, pans and utensils were stacked eight layers high over every kitchen counter. My feet were sticking to the kitchen floor. Yuck!
The refrigerator smelled awful.
Remnants of the egg hunt, crafts and handmade bunny hats were strewn throughout both floors of our home. Surprisingly, I found kids’ shoes and clothing parts behind doors, under beds and on top of dressers. To my knowledge, all our grandchildren had left our home completely dressed as they climbed into their respective cars. Now, I wonder how these various pieces of apparel appeared!
Suspiciously, butternut squash was found in my upstairs bathroom sink along with bites of ham? I could only guess the droppings under the “kid” table were accidental vegetable spillage. How did they harden into my floor so quickly?
The stairs themselves had been used as hiding places for several missing eggs. Downstairs, “Studio 10” was a chaos of costumes and dress-up high-heels! I could not even see the floor.
I wanted to climb back into bed. Making matters worse, it was raining outside. What a bleak feeling I had inside of me.
Easter had been glorious. It was the first Easter in 10 years all our family had been together. It was so wonderful to have our family home. Suddenly, I remembered a message I’d heard, awhile back, about living a life of gratitude.
At first, I was certain this had been a random thought, until I actually felt a nudge in my heart to get up and be grateful.
Be grateful about HOUSECLEANING? You must be kidding. I felt like I was coming down with something. I ached from head to toe.
“Nothing is wrong with you,” came bouncing into my mind!
Okay, Lord, I am game. How does this work?
“Get dressed,” came next.
Starting in the kitchen, I found myself thinking of each member of our family as I washed the dinner plates. The various sizes of silverware reminded me of each grandchild and how much I loved each one. As I made my way through loading the dishwasher – three times – washing pots and pans by hand, I praised God for each of our adult kids who are ALL in fulltime ministry. They love their spouses, their kids, their siblings and us!
Seriously, within two hours, my cloud of depression began to lift. I was humming as I headed for the “Studio 10” disaster. With every thing I touched, I thanked God for the day we’d had on Easter. I thanked Him our grandkids were healthy enough to mess up our house. Not all families are so richly blessed.
Four hours into this disaster, I had made only a dent. I figured I had another four hours to go – at least.
I praised God my husband had a job this week; because, he had been off, more than on, this year. I was grateful for a house that needed cleaning. So many people are without homes.
I was grateful for soap, a vacuum and a mop; because, some people actually go without all these luxuries.
Filled with gratitude, I realized the refrigerator was bulging with leftovers. Even the bad smell was fading.
My aches are gone. In fact, I feel better than I have in days. I am grateful I felt good enough to cook for my family. I’m grateful I am able to clean our house.
There is still work to do to get the cleaning adequately finished; but, my heart had a great workout today. Thank you, Lord, for my incredible blessings.
Psalm 100:1-5, (The Message)
“On your feet now—applaud God! Bring a gift of laughter, sing yourselves into his presence.
3 Know this: God is God, and God, God. He made us; we didn’t make him. We’re his people, his well-tended sheep.
4 Enter with the password: ‘Thank you!’ Make yourselves at home, talking praise. Thank him. Worship him.
5 For God is sheer beauty, all-generous in love, loyal always and ever.”