I love this quote; it resonates deep within my heart, becoming yet another confirmation that my desire and delight for homemaking, matters far more than I will ever realise this side of heaven.
With each passing week since drawing back from full time designing, home's light has shone that touch brighter; my steps no longer rush to and fro in order to achieve a never ending list of chores and deadlines.
I've not shared this before, though my dear Blossom knows because soon after it happened I rang to tell her, so profound a moment was it! - but a few months back when I was madly trying to mop the tiled floors through our home, pushing the mop back and forth at a rate of knots and audibly groaning with annoyance the entire time (I used to hate mopping), the Lord broke through my aggrieved mood and asked very softly, "Why are you mopping so fast?"
Truly, it was like a bolt of lightning, so immediate did He catch my attention and cause me to stop right where I was, unable to answer. Because I did not have an answer to give.
Why was I mopping so fast?
A natural tendency, all my life, has been to fill every moment with something to do. I'm not sure if I ever just sat and watched television or a movie, unless at a theatre. In my memory there was always something in my lap, something for my hands to do; knitting, stitching, folding, ironing...even preparing vegetables balancing a chopping board on my knees while I rocked the baby in the bouncer with my foot (which I would not do now because I am renowned for cutting myself and the family watch me like a hawk if I pick up a knife so I tend to chop when they're not around, though Rafaella is quick to notice the Band-Aids on my fingers and lectures me with "Nana, you got to be careful").
Many of you have asked over the years, "How do you get so much done?" and that's probably the answer. I'm just always doing something.
I was doing Family Day Care in my home back in the 80's and here's one funny story for you to show how this tendency to stay busy has always been in me. I was pregnant with baby number four (two oldest children were in school, and I had a 2 yo at home with me) and I cared for three day care children Monday-Friday. They ranged in age from 12 months to 3 years old.
One Friday evening in April 1985, after all the parents had picked up their kids, and my own children had been bathed and fed and were settling down with stories before bedtime, I had a little niggle in my tummy. The baby wasn't due for three more weeks so I ignored it, and after the children fell asleep I got to work folding washing, doing the ironing, and getting a head start on breakfast prep for the next day. Just before 11pm my waters broke and after an anxious drive to the hospital, my little girl was born at 12.20am - my shortest labour and the only one where my water broke.
Sunday morning I arrived home with the baby, and Monday morning I greeted all my day care parents at the door with a newborn in my arms. And you know, even though they were shocked, it all seemed so normal to me and I got on with life that same way for the next 35 years.
My Nana was always busy and I grew up with her as my homemaker example so I suppose it's no surprise that I was never lazy in keeping house, but she'd more than likely have chided me about adding a self-run business on top of everything else. For Nana, running a home was her employment, and whilst busy at it, she never rushed. Things were done methodically, calmly, always in tune with the rhythm of her day to day life. It was a joy to watch her go about her tasks, just as it was a joy to her to have those tasks in her very modest little flat. She appreciated home and made it her delight to fill it with love, cleanliness, good simple food, and the best hugs anyone ever gave.
So that's a little background. Now to that afternoon of brisk mopping.
When I stopped to consider what God had asked me, and told Blossom, and prayed for understanding, I got a very clear picture of what needed to change. Or should I say, how "I" needed to change.
Being settled in your mind, calm in your spirit, relaxed in your manner, unhurried in your tasks, gentle in your attitude and happy in your home - that's an ideal for those of us who love being homemakers. But to achieve an ideal you need to act on that desire, and correct your course, in order to bring those wonderful results to pass.
That is what God was really saying to me. "Jennifer, you hurry everything so you can get to the next task, so you can cross things off your to-do list and feel accomplished. But then tomorrow you will repeat the same pattern and over time you have come to realise that you're not very content, calm or happy - you just get a lot done and don't reap much joy."
So what did I do with this epiphany, or "loving correction"?
I have never mopped fast since that day. I even bought a steam mop to make the task more enjoyable, which it is. But that's just a small thing, really. In the big picture I have turned my life around and given my love for home a fresh dose of JOY - joy that bubbles over from within each and every day.
Elefantz Designs is now the sideline, homemaking is the headliner. And my, oh, my, how I do LOVE the ever widening realm it brings to life! I actually get dismayed at having to attend to the business because I'd rather be wiping down the inside of the fridge, cleaning the bathroom or mopping the floors. And even as I write this it sounds quite bizarre, yet it is the truth! I feel pure delight within our home, tending it with unabashed love, and each day offering gratitude to our Father in heaven for his gentle question, a question which turned my life over until it was right-side up, the way it always should be.
I wish I could let you into my head and heart right now so you could genuinely feel what I am sharing today. I call it a miracle, because I have always loved homemaking and thought I was living that out with integrity and care...but now I see much of that was simply 'doing' to achieve satisfaction for a job well done, even to receive admiration from my loved ones.
In such a short time, I have become more content than I can remember. As though I've found my place at last and it's not about who will see what I have done (hardly anyone) but Who sees my heart attitude and Who helped to expand my view of the high calling this wonderful role of homemaker truly is.
Tell me, are you mopping too fast?
The photos above were taken yesterday when I decided to make an Apple and Passionfruit Crumble. Our passionfruit vine was literally dripping with fruit so I needed to use a lot of them up. This is the best crumble ever, but it's the first time I made it with fresh passionfruit instead of the usual canned. So that we can continue to enjoy this after the harvest is over I have been freezing passionfruit pulp in ice cube trays.
It's almost sundown on Sunday, and as we had roast lamb, vegetables and gravy for lunch (we've started having a Sunday roast each weekend like when I was a child with Nana) I'm just about to brew a cuppa and butter some currant scones for our supper. There's still some of the homemade plum & cinnamon jam left and it tastes delicious on scones so I'll sign off now and go bless my hubby.
No matter what your life holds, or how many responsibilities you have, try to mop slowly...whether that be with a real mop or with tasks in general. Stop to smell the roses, my friend. You'll never regret it...