>On Cleaning Out and Organizing My Home

Oh, wow. I’ve been really busy this month. I’ve been doing my Fly Lady missions. I made HUGE progress in our master bedroom and Abbie’s room. It’s looking a lot better, but I still have a long way to go. I still say there is a black hole somewhere that spills out more stuff after I’ve cleaned out and given away those items. Seriously! 🙂 My goal is to completely declutter and clean out unused things, then paint and re-do it. I can hardly wait!

I’ve been trying to give myself these types of goals to keep myself motivated. The “reward” for getting a room completely uncluttered and cleared out is re-doing it. For example, in our formal living room, my reward will be new drapes (badly needed!), paint and new throw pillows for the sofa and love seat. The master bedroom needs it all: bedding, curtains, mini-blinds and paint. The TV room needs paint, curtains, new ceiling fan and, eventually, a new couch. Eventually, we need to replace the carpet in the entire house. Following Dave Ramsey’s teaching, we are saving up for the couch and carpeting, rather than trying to finance the cost.

On Marriage

I’ve wanted to write about this for the entire month of February. But I’ve always hesitated because when you talk about stuff like this, you put yourself out there and I just don’t want to deal with any possible drama. At the end of the day, I feel like the good of sharing what I’ve learned and gleaned this month outweighs the bad of a possible backlash.

Every marriage goes through seasons, ranging from times of more closeness to times of struggle. I learned that 80% of marriages that have a child with special needs end in divorce. That is a staggering statistic! I’ve learned why over the past 2 1/2 years and Abbie’s issues are FAR from severe compared to the vast issues other children face. There’s a lot of give and take and sacrifice on both a husband’s and a wife’s parts, and it can be easy for conflict to arise. Thankfully, we are getting to a point in Abbie’s care that it’s become a dance of sorts… we know when the tests for cancer screening are due, and the appointments for specialists are now down to once a year. It’s gotten easier and the stress level has gone down for the most part.

There have been other issues that have caused the past 2 years to be really hard for us. I’m not going into those because they’re personal and are our business to be discussed between the two of us. The month of February brought a turning point and I have to thank God for that. It’s no coincidence that I was pretty much deluged with teaching, lessons, encouragement and points of view that helped me readjust my attitude, thoughts and feelings and allow forgiveness and healing.

From my church: Sermons my pastor has preached have really planted seeds in my heart. I’m thankful to have a shepherd who tells it like it is, who sheds light on the truth so that we may grow. Amen.

From Joyce Meyer: When you are hurt, you feel that someone has to pay. And you keep feeling that someone has to pay and start feeling entitled to being angry until someone pays. The truth is, Jesus died for everyone’s sins. Holding on to that entitlement means you don’t accept that Jesus’ blood covered those sins. It’s not faith. It’s feeling like your pain is more than the blood. (My paraphrase, except the first sentence. It was a POWERFUL message that I still have saved on our DVR so I can go back and listen to it again.)

From Blogs: Blog posts have really given me a lot of insight. I have read and read and read this month. Some of the nuggets of wisdom I have found are….

This first link had a profound impact on me:
http://www.incourage.me/2010/02/he-wants-more-than-love.html

http://www.brookemcglothlin.com/2010/01/year-of-prayer-husbands_12.html

http://todayshousewife.blogspot.com/2010/02/praying-from-head-to-toe.html

http://momsinneedofmercy.blogspot.com/2010/02/what-to-do-when-you-feel-like-hes-just.html

http://momsinneedofmercy.blogspot.com/2010/01/even-though-your-husbands-big-boy-he.html

http://www.incourage.me/2010/02/fanning-the-flames-of-friendship.html

Maybe marriage and relationships were a hot topic because Valentine’s Day is in February and people have been doing a lot of soul searching on the topics. Or maybe there are a lot of us out here who are wanting to cultivate marriages that are truly loving, Christian marriages that are marked with the fruits they should be. If people aren’t learning and growing and actually acting like Christians in their marriages, what’s the point, right? Because we’re no better than “the world” when we don’t step up to the plate and actually practice what we preach; we’re worse if we say one thing and live another. It’s called hypocrisy. I’m not trying to say that there isn’t grace when we make mistakes because I know that no one is perfect. What I’m saying is, once we have made mistakes, we need to learn from them, grow and move on.

And people, I have to confess that I have been stuck in a a rut and mired in mud and muck for two years. Yep. Two. Long. Years.

I have held on to hurt and anger and this entitlement to being as hurt and angry as I wanted to be because I was wounded. Thankfully, God has debried the wounds of my heart and spirit.

As simple as it sounds, one of the major things that has helped bring healing to my heart has been praying for my husband. Do you know how embarrassed I am to write that? Do you know how much I hate to confess that for most of our marriage, I have not prayed for my husband like I should? Yeah, I’d pray for him here or there, but not consistently. But by starting out as simply as just thanking God for my husband began a work in my heart. Then I pray that he has a good day at work. I mean, how simple is that? But, friends, I wasn’t an armor bearer for my husband, the head of my household. Now I know to do better. Now I know how important it is to pray for my partner and the father of my daughters.

Ever notice how much love grows in your heart when you are praying for a person?

It’s easy to pray for your children or for those who haven’t significantly hurt you. The Bible says even heathens will be good to those who are good to them. But praying for those who have wounded you / your enemies… that is what we are called to do.

What happens, really, is that you change. My Valentine’s Month lesson has been that I should ask God to change my heart. All this time, I’ve asked Him to change the hearts of others around me. What I’ve decided to do now is pray for them, yes, but not to be changed in the ways I think they should be changed. Rather, bless them and change my heart towards them.

They say that charity starts at home. Well, a LOT of things start at home. Like, growing. Healing. Loving more and nagging less. And prayer.

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