this week, we have been in the thick of kitchen remodel madness.
i have been battling headaches and migraines, and dealing with a cold that has me coughing when it's least convenient and most annoying.
but lately i've been working hard to establish the habit of preparing.
life is hard this week. forget preparing! this is the kind of week you prepare for!
yes, i always used to think that preparing is what you did when you were all caught up and things were easy, so you worked ahead for when the days are ruff. for that month when you remodeling your house. or that week when you are sick. that is what you prepare for!
well, occasionally that might be the case. but for me, that is almost never how it works.
i'm a stay at home momma that homeschools two rowdy boys. i'm telling ya', things are never "all caught up" around here! there is always something a mess, always something that needs to be washed, someone that needs to be fed, some activity that is going on or isn't going on due to someone not feeling well.
for me, learning to be prepared is a little different than getting ahead on the easy days. instead of thinking about what i can do to make the hard days easier, i try to think about what i can do NOW to make LATER a little easier.
recently, Proverbs 14:1 was brought up by a friend. "The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish tears it down with her own hands." my friend pointed out that in the book of Proverbs there is no middle ground here. you are either building or destroying. nothing is neutral.
that feels a little harsh! but that's because, like most things, it comes down to the heart. so often, it's the attitude that determines whether an action is building or destroying.
i may leave a pile of dishes in the sink until the next morning. but... is it because i have been working all day and i just want to have a little me time and not deal with one more thing right now (destroying)? or... is because the day has been hard and it would do my family well for me to slow down and take some time to rest and recharge so that i can serve them better tomorrow (building). both ways the action is the same, but the heart makes a huge difference!
now, let us not gloss over the fact that, most often, preparing, or building your house, will mean working. it will mean doing something! it will mean getting up out of the chair and taking care of some work that is waiting!
and for each family, a woman's preparations/building will look a little different.
here are three examples of preparing/building that i have been working to make a habit of...
1) making a big batch of soup on Thursday (my "kitchen day") for the family to eat throughout the weekend.
this is mostly a selfish one. i hate to cook on the weekend, when many of the interesting projects or fun activities happen for our family. so, by having something all in one pot that only takes a few minutes on the stove to heat up, we are able to enjoy these activities (or enjoy doing nothing together!) and still have a reasonably healthy home cooked meal. i'm building my home by being a good steward of my time and my money, cuz we all know how easy take out is! yes, this will have to change come summer (who wants chili in July??), but if the habit is there, i hope the transition to a cooler dish will be an easy one.
2) laying out Sundays clothes on Friday!
this one is partly for the boys (so that they know what is acceptable church wear) and partly for me. by taking FRIDAY to lay out the clothes, i have a chance to see if there is anything that needs to be washed and i can take care of it now, before the weekend fun starts. i mean, there are few things that spoil my attitude quicker than running around the house with hair and makeup half done, looking for a pair of socks that don't "bother" a very particular little man that lives in my home. not exactly the best way to be preparing a heart of worship on a Sunday morning! now, my boys have everything they need waiting for them and i have a little less to do that morning.
3) chopping extra onion and cooking extra meat
i love to cook! but lets face it, sometimes it feels like a never ending chore. after all, not only do these boys want to eat everyday, they want to eat several times a day! the nerve! just kidding. i love serving my family in this way, but i can grow weary of so much time in the kitchen. so, when i have a meal that calls for chopped onion or cooked meat, i do double, sometimes even triple, and throw the extra in the fridge or freezer. don't brown 2 pounds of hamburger, brown 4. don't cook two chicken breasts, cook the whole bird! now, next time i need it, it's waiting for me in the freezer and i have just saved myself that step and a chunk of time. it's usually little extra work, but for me it can make a big difference in fighting off that feeling of always being in the kitchen, which often comes with feelings of resentment or self pity = destroying my home!
now, there will be plenty of hard days where take out will be ordered or the mad dash for specific socks will happen. and my heart will determine whether i have spent my time building or tearing.
yet, i hope that i will be known as a woman who works hard to build her house. someone who takes the few extra minutes to prepare so that my home runs a little smoother for my family. someone whose heart is honoring to my Lord, even when the week is full of tools in my living room, holes in my counters, and headaches that come and go.
praise the Lord for dear friends who point out how black and white the Lord's Word is. i am incredibly thankful for these people in my life! i hope that you also are thanking God for these no nonsense people who aren't afraid to exhort and challenge you to do better for His names sake!