Plants have a way of letting you know they need more care; families too. More
Is God’s design for marriage in Genesis 2:24 grounds to cut off my parents? After all, He calls me to leave them in order to create and prioritize a new family. More
I left father and mother at nineteen: Not for a husband, but for an education in Chicago. So when I moved to New York well over a decade later to marry Trevor, I was certain I had God’s command down pat. “Leave father and mother”? Check. After living on my own for thirteen years, what else could I possibly need to leave? More
One of the coolest, unexpected blessings resulting from publishing “Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl” is the questions I receive; Girls (and guys) email me unveiling their relationship struggles and asking for my advice. Until Covid, all of this took place over email. But now… More
Our five-year wedding anniversary passed quietly on October 3. While our actual anniversary was fairly ordinary, we left town a couple weeks later for a short anniversary trip. I’m so glad we did. More
I saw it again this morning on social media: Another “Christian celebrity” spinning their divorce announcement as a loving deed inspired by altruistic motivation for their “dear friend.” I don’t buy it. Divorce is not altruistic (“unselfishly concerned for or devoted to the welfare of [your spouse]).” This loving facade is nothing less than a lie straight from the pit of hell. More
My husband, Trevor, and I have a bad track record when it comes to our weekly date night. Often we return home unhappier than when we left. If you can relate, here are five date night problems and solutions for you. But first, a story . . . More
You may have heard—or believe—that your husband is your spiritual leader. But I wonder what that means to you. Based on this belief, I subconsciously unbuckled my seatbelt when I entered marriage. I climbed out of the driver’s seat in my relationship with God and took a seat in the back of the proverbial car. I looked to the front seat where my new husband, Trevor, sat and waited for him to lead us in daily time in God’s Word and prayer. More
Some men don’t care if their home is clean or messy. Not my hubby. He grew up with a mom who could challenge anyone to the Heavyweight Cleaning Champion of the World title. Trevor is used to a spotless home (and I really do mean spotless). Mess stresses him out. But his high expectations for a clean house stress me out. Sounds like a killer combination, huh? Yes, I’ve shot lots of heated words his way over this volatile subject.
The Clean Freak I Married
You know from my first book how for thirty plus years I ached for a pair of strong arms to hold me close. In God’s extravagant kindness, He granted that gift. However, in all those years of pining, I never gave a thought to what might accompany such a gift.
Turns out, marriage involves more than being adored by a man. With a husband come kids, and that husband and those kids must live in a house, and that house must be cleaned, and those hubby and those kids must be fed and clothed with freshly laundered clothes . . . again and again and again.
I was not prepared for that kind of service. In one childish-sounding journal entry I spewed, “Cleaning is stupid. As soon as you finish, it’s messy again. It’s futile; It’s not creative; I hate it.”
Truth be told, I thought myself above such dull tasks as dusting and mopping and window washing. After serving in women’s ministry for well over a decade, these sorts of tasks felt like the demotion of the century.
My Cleaning Conundrum
Now, lest you think him a chauvinist pig, let me clear the record. Trevor does pitch in and help me clean. If it weren’t for him, our fridge, oven, and floors would never get a deep cleaning. But we’ve worked out a deal of sorts.
See, he’s handy, and I’m not. We have been—and still are—in the middle of a home renovation. So anytime there is something I can do, I try to do it myself rather than asking him for help, in order to free him up for the tasks that only he can accomplish.
In Search of Answers on Why a Clean Home Matters
There was simply no way around it. I needed to clean, and I didn’t want to hate every minute of it for the rest of my life. I desperately needed some big questions answered. Is there any redeeming value to cleaning? In light of eternity, why does cleaning matter?
By the grace of God, I finally stumbled across the answer in Courtney Reissig’s book, Glory in the Ordinary: Why Your Work in the Home Matters to God.
First, she showed me how housework is connected to the two greatest commandments of loving God and loving neighbor. My closest neighbors are my husband and kids, and work in the house is for them. This was an “a-ha!” for me:
“Laundry is for people to wear. Food is for people to be nourished. Clean floors are for people to crawl around on. Dishes are for people to eat off. The people and the physical work of the home are not in competition. They are two sides of the same coin. . . . The physical work of the home exists for the physical people in the home.”
I was wrecked (in the best kind of way).
Another paradigm shift I experienced from reading her book is that work is not about my personal fulfillment; it is for the good of my neighbor. How have I missed that for all these years?! I wondered. Courtney quoted Martin Luther more than once in this regard:
“If you find yourself in a work by which you accomplish something good for God, or the holy, or yourself, but not for your neighbor alone, then you should know that that work is not a good work.”
Keep the Whole Law with a Clean Home
Ever since I read these truths, things have been changing in my house and my heart. As long as I keep the big picture in view, I don’t resent the poop stains I have to magically remove from my son’s shorts. I don’t mutter about the smooshed grapes I have to clean off the floor. I don’t cry over the onions I have to chop for supper (well, actually I do, but for a different reason).
Life is too short not to love my closest neighbors with a clean house, clean clothes, and food on the table. Do I do it perfectly? Not even close. But I keep working hard at it, because in this small, ordinary way, I can actually fulfill the whole law (Galatians 5:14).
I’ve never shared this publicly, but . . . I’ve never been one to “ooh” and “aah” over babies. As a twelve-year-old eager to start earning money, I chose to detassle corn and work on a turkey farm (think hard, dirty, physical labor) rather than babysit. When I did babysit as a favor for my neighbors in my late twenties, I put the baby’s diaper on backwards. And while I longed for marriage for years, I never once dreamed of becoming a mom. First female president of the U.S., sure; mom, no. More