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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Beauty in the Dust Bunnies

This week's devotional comes from a question posed in a book that I, along with other women I know, find both inspiring and thought provoking. This question asks:

"A woman's struggle with her sense of worth points to something glorious she was designed to be. The great emptiness we feel points to the great place we were created for. Have you ever thought of your struggles and longings as pointing to something great you are designed to be?"

(Taken from "Captivating: A Guided Journal - Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul" by John & Stasi Eldredge)

With this question, think about how your life reflects the life you thought you would lead. Is it better than you ever could have imagined? Do your daily struggles lead you to wanting "more" or being "more"? Do you feel like you play an important role in the lives of those around you - that you are a necessary part of the lives of others? As you think about this question, recall Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope."

Have you ever sobbed over a dirty house, screaming children or a situation in your life that you had to stop and say to yourself, "This isn't what I signed up for!"? Haven't we all!

A few months back I came up with this "at-the-time-wonderful-idea" of having a New Year's Day party with my fiance's parents and my parents, getting together to watch the Mummer's Parade, have a few nibbles of food, and just enjoy the day together.

However, before long, both my fiance and myself were inviting his entire family, my extended family and our church friends over for a New Year's Day feast! (mind you my family and his family had never met prior to this party!)

So of course, come New Year's Eve, I am still cleaning, cooking, shopping, and literally making myself cry over every little detail of the house - even polishing the floors and being sure to wipe down all my molding...because, of course, my guests will be white-glove-inspecting my molding! ugh... So, I sent my sweet fiance off to his family's house to enjoy New Year's Eve with them and I stayed home prepping for "the big event". He came to visit me at 11:58PM - so we could see the ball drop together. But I was frantic. 2009 was welcomed in by Dick Clark on my TV set and my poor hubby to be, who only wanted a hug, was greeted by a flushed, frantic and frazzled fiancee! He didn't understand why I was so stressed about this party! Why didn't he understand? Why isn't he helping more? Why isn't he frantic too? ( can you relate to these thoughts ladies? :) )

You see...I imagined a carefree party with guests enjoying a lavish feast, sipping their drinks, laughing, enjoying hand made delights and not a dust bunny in sight throughout my home...with me being the perfect "Donna Reed" hostess...of course!

"This isn't how it's supposed to go!"

I thought to myself as I swiffer dusted my ceiling fans and electronics. "Where is my glass of champagne? Where is my perfectly pressed little black cocktail dress and heels? Where is the Sinatra music gently playing in the background? This isn't what I signed up for?"

Yet...the next day, with his family, my family and our church friends all mingling together, laughing, telling stories about Brian and I when we were children, talking about wedding plans...and even while my best friend's 4 year old splattered cola across my freshly cleaned carpets...I understood.

I wasn't made to be a hostess...I was made to be a part of something so much bigger...and so much more important!

I was made to be a part of a family!

A family doesn't consist of people assigned to roles (hostess, social director, cab driver) - though we sometimes need to take charge of those roles - those roles aren't who we are; those are trivial compared to the big picture. A family is comprised of personalities who, when combined, make up a story - sometimes confusing, sad, exciting, lavish, nutty or broken stories...but stories none the less. And those stories are what gets passed down to our children, to our friends, and their families. I was made to be a part of people's stories! I was made to be a part of a family! It wasn't the dusting, the cleaning, or the prep work that I was upset was the "this doesn't fit my picture of what I think a party should be like" that got me upset. I didn't understand during those days preceding the party that all that work was pointing me towards something bigger than myself - a family.

So while the work was work with a purpose - a point - part of a bigger picture. What I pictured in my head to be the "perfect party" had nothing to do with the party in and of itself, but of how I wanted to be a part of laughter, of stories, of happiness and joy; that is what I wanted...not the party. Thankfully...I got it. Oh, and our families got along just fine :) whew...and no one noticed that my closets were ready to pop open with all the "stuff" I shoved in them!

Have you ever felt as if "you didn't sign up for this"? Do you think you're missing out on the bigger picture? Take a moment today to stop what you are, cleaning, changing diapers...and say "hey...I'm a part of something big here...what is it?" Ask the Lord to fill your heart with how He has made you a part of a wonderful adventure of families...and stories...and legacies...all made by and because!

"Lord Jesus, we ask You to fill our heart's with gratefulness towards all that You have called us to be. Help us to look beyond the ends of our own noses and see the big-picture-stories that You have designed us to star in. Forgive us for being ungrateful for the stories You have placed us in. Help us see the great in the mundane and the beauty in the dust bunnies. It's in Your precious name we pray...Amen."

In faith,

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Blogger pcb said...

I bet a lot of readers will wish you had posted this before the holiday season! Now that I am older (and maybe a tad wiser) I am learning more and more that if you wait to have everything perfect, you will never have anyone over. As long as there is food and good company, the rest can pretty much be overlooked, can't it?

January 10, 2009 at 12:45 PM  
Blogger MidniteScrapper said...

Thank you for such a great reminder. I am thankful for the privilege of taking care of my family, my home, etc...I may not always appreciate it, but I should.

January 10, 2009 at 5:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

After 40 years it is still not what I thought I signed up for, now what. Is it ever going to happen for me -in theis life - or did it ansd I didn't notice.

January 10, 2009 at 6:24 PM  
Blogger Angie said...

That was so on target! Thank you Allison--I can't tell you how many times I have said it---or heard it from another "dear soul" trying so hard to do all that she 'thinks' is REQUIRED.
What an encouragement this was :)

January 11, 2009 at 12:13 AM  
Anonymous My Thought Exactly said...

I struggled with that for a long time and have gotten better about "chilling out". I want to be the type of woman who is comfortable with anyone coming over at anytime-whether our house is spotless or not. Investing in people is what's important.

Thank you the reminder.

January 11, 2009 at 11:25 AM  
Blogger ktwalden said...

What a wonderful post that can surely be related to by each and every woman God ever made(or at least all the ones I have ever met!). I think you condensed into a nutshell that "female mystery" that our men try so hard to understand and deal with sometimes. Thank you so much for this thought provoking message from your heart.

January 11, 2009 at 12:21 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

You encourage me dear friend, love you.

January 11, 2009 at 2:12 PM  
Blogger LauraLee Shaw said...

Your gift of encouragement shines brightly through this post, and whether many of us will admit it or not, this is a scenario almost ALL of us can relate to in one way or another. All kinds of wonderful in this wisdom.

January 13, 2009 at 4:57 PM  

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