Our cozy house has two bathrooms and two teen daughters who each get a bathroom to clean. I'd honestly rather clean a bathroom than cook dinner, so it's not uncommon for me to do the former rather than the latter.
Instead of writing and posting this last night, I was on hands and knees to scrub rust stains out of a bathtub and then detail-clean every single spot near the toilets used by boys—arguably the two dirtiest jobs of the house.
More important than a clean house is teaching the principle that no task should be below me. I've often told the kids I'll never ask them to do anything I'm not willing to do myself. Or, put another way, there shouldn't be any task that either they or I look at and say of it, "I'm too good to do that—let someone lesser than me do it."
Because no one is lesser.
That's the line I use when someone around here whines about a dirty job. "Who's the person not as good as you that you think should do it?"
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NKJV)
When it comes to messy, bathtubs and toilets ain't got nothin on love.
I wish parenting never got any more difficult than teaching kids to detail-clean a bathroom. It's a thousand times—a million times!—more difficult to teach "love is not provoked" when you live around people who provoke you with all their little idiosyncracies (especially when I allow myself to be provoked).
The messiest cleaning job pales next to "bless those who curse you."
So I remind myself constantly that my life is God's experiment in love. He gives me the recipe for love, empowers me to love, and then allows all the conflicts which challenge love and cause me to fail and rise again. He not only gives me the privilege of proving Him true, but He makes it difficult enough to prove that love really does work.
He makes this experiment love messy enough to prove that He and His Word are anything but purely academic.
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
~ Hebrews 12:1 (NKJV)
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Copyright 2011, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
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