At least that is what I have always been told by both of my grannies. I grew up with no wall to wall carpet, plain old lineoleum and pine board floors, thank you very much.
As cold as that was in the winter, it was nice in the summer time. I grew up barefooted. I used to hate shoes. When I got old enough to hold a dustmop and broom, my granny would tell me to walk across the floor twice, sit down and then look at the bottom of my feet. If they were dirty, so was the floor. Kinda makes sense, right? So, my first lesson in housekeeping was how to clean dirty floors. I soon learned that the floors weren't clean if I didn't sweep and mop under the bed. And oh yeah, don't overlook the baseboards. I began to learn at an early age what that adage about a woman's work is never done meant.
When I left home and started keeping house for myself as a single woman, I let all that cleaning go. I was too busy having a good time. And college kids are s'posed to have quasi dirty places. Whenever my folks or granny would come for a visit I had enough time for a power cleaning session.
Once I married and started a family of my own, I began to be a better housekeeper, but never thought too much about cleaning under the bed unless I needed something that had been hidden under there.
My first marriage was training ground for many things. That is a nice way of saying a battleground. I am still a Southern Bred woman and we don't disparage others even when they deserve it, bless their heart. My former mother in law never took to me. Never. She would come over my house ~ when I was not home ~ to visit with her son, my husband. She would re- arrange furniture, the cabinets, and do a white glove treatment. I didn't fold laundry correctly, the underwear drawers were a mess ~ heckfire shoot, I lived in fear of her. Nothing I did was ever good enough. Ever.
Now why am I writing this personal stuff for the world to read? Remember a few sentences back when I wrote that my first marriage was a training ground? It was during those first few years that I made a serious commitment to God. I was committed, totally sold out to Him in a way that was threatening to my ex and his mother. I remember telling my former mother in law one day, in a sweet tone that when my children grew up they wouldn't remember how clean their house was but how much love they received. I also tried to explain to her that I wanted my spiritual house cleaned up first. You know, the heart? Which is true. My house WAS clean enough. But my heart was learning how to accept love from God and forgive those who hurt and murder with words. I wanted to enjoy my children and yes, I taught them how to clean but it was never high on my agenda to make them sweep under the bed. Just as long as they could find their clean underwear, I was a happy camper.
In the past year I have neglected my home. I have spent countless hours at my parent's home, cleaning theirs. I have spent countless days sitting in the hospital or doctor's offices. Whenever I was able to get home, I would throw stuff down and think, I will get to that later. My precious and supportive husband has been patient and overlooked this because he agrees that living a clean and loving life is more important than a clean house. Thank goodness he doesn't do a white glove test on the top of the refrigerator or even look behind the frig. Ewwwww! Hope he doesn't read this over my shoulder and decide to sneak a peek!
Today while I was at work, I began to make a list of things that really need my attention here at home. My computer desk is littered with cards, bills, print outs, etc. I don't dare walk across my floors once barefooted much less twice to look at the bottom of my feet. Instead, I wear heavy socks and skate on the floor as a quick way of dusting it. LOL. Just joking, but hey, not a bad idea~
What am I getting at? I am not just rambling. Truly I am not. Here is what I am getting at:
I lived in fear of not meeting my mother in law's standard. My granny, if she were still living, would ask me if I cleaned under the bed. God's word says that He has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind. I shouldn't worry about God finding my house dirty, but what have I done with my spiritual house. Have I eaten fruit of bitterness that is littered in my heart? Have I taken offense to something that was not intended to be hurtful?
Have I neglected to pray, read the Word or help someone in need?
I am still concerned mostly with my spiritual heart. I want to make sure it is clean. I ask the Lord each day to examine me. I live with the knowledge that when God helps me examine my heart, I am not afraid of what cobwebs linger there. He shows me how to clean it up through prayer. And He does it with perfect love. And perfect love casts out fear.
Heavenly Father, I know that I am fearfully and wonderfully created. I long for the day where I will know You as I have been known. I thank you for the love you so freely give me each day through your grace and mercy. I thank you that you shine your loving light through every dark place within me, to dry up all the cobwebs of my daily life. Help me to continue accept that you are perfecting that which concerns me. I give you permission to look behind the doors of my home and hand me a clean broom to sweep it fresh.