Have you ever had a mess to deal with? Messes are my specialty. Whether it’s living in an “in process” renovation in Alabama or building a workbook series for a client, or heaven help me, looking closely at Mt Washmore…the dirty clothes mountain chain, messes I can relate to are surrounding me some days. (My personal answer to travel needs for clean clothes is a quick trip to TJMaxx, Salvation Army, or WalMart…we won’t talk about the 144 hangers that were filled with MORE clothes to hang up after a recent 3 month round of trips).
This weekend Mr. John and Moms (my mother in love) came to Alabama after working a hard week at their careers, drove ten hours through the night and next morning, to serve Feller and I by helping us renovate #TheTackyBrownHouse.
After getting excited about them coming, the concept became more in focus of what I had just agreed to… I would be coming in town just ahead of them after an eight day road trip with clients….uhm…can you say the shaming self talk started 10 hours before I got home…for I knew that at home I would face…
A refrigerator that looked like a science experiment,
Enough clothes to keep the floors protected for days,
and something that was unidentified and growing an odor I couldn’t relate to as lovely.
In years past, I would have started a cleaning frenzy, hired every child and neighbor I could find, and having my dear Glenda to come help stash the mess. Of course, by the time company arrived, it might look good, but my heart would be full of the shame, pain, and reality exhaustion of trying to “be enough.” After all, I am the third batter up as a bride, and this woman, Moms, has the cleanest house I’ve ever visited.
But this time was different….
The last few months I’ve been peeling my perfectionism like dead skin. The only way it works with folks in the long run is to be who you are, and I’ve decided, after many decades of trying to live in other ways, that whatever this is that I am…well, it’s improving, but the base elements are still going to run messy into marvelous. I have a joyful work load this summer, it’s beyond what any organized human would try, but with support, it’s doable…
So we ate out. We had a fantastic dinner in Moulton and we teased Feller that he “cooked good” and was so good at cleaning up! We didn’t fuss about them staying in the local hotel (that worked out really well last time to have a pool and time to recover from intensive family time for both couples. You see, pausing to savor life also means pausing to survive life. Peace for me comes from withdrawing from the activities, for I am a talkative introvert…I need recovery time after 18 hours of input. My high energy says that I’ve done a full days work before most folks get going. My writing schedule means I’m typically up and writing before 6:30 and they usually arrive around 10.
So we worked together, each one did their gift, which mean I cheered and encouraged them on and tried to keep groceries in the house and a fan for the workers, for I am worthless on the build until it’s time to decorate.
We have legitimate needs, we’re both living busy lives, we both have roles that affect other folks. We both own our businesses and Feller works for the DoD as well. In other words, if something is going to happen on a bigger scale, it’s going to take more help. Receiving isn’t our best skill, but Moms and Mr. John were generous to say, “Let us come help you” and they did. Wisdom was used, they asked, they listened but then they made a plan and made it happen. (so MANY things ) in two days
We took time to fellowship at a church we’ve been visiting. The Spirit of God is so sweet there and the church family are our neighbors. What a delight to have parents and grown children with us. I cannot imagine a sweeter gift to give me, for I grew up with my parents and grandparents with me in church every.single.week. It was something I’ve missed so very much. Feller and I often serve in other churches, but we always have a “home” congregation to align to, to learn from, and to grow with and serve. I loved seeing Mr John in the car as we left for dinner. He’s a cowboy in real life, aren’t you wishing he was your father-in-law too? I like to think that he and Ladd come from the same area of Oklahoma..(and they do)
We forgave and restored.
All families have stuff. Blended families have extra stuff. Moms and I have had our rowls, but we love each other and have chosen to learn to love and respect each other. She’s everything I am trying to grow into as a home keeper, and well organized worker at work. I’m the hot mess her beloved only son married who cannot sweep a floor well despite trying. We both love God and our families, and so we walk out the rest and we keep growing each other.
We loved being together.
Fellowship in person is so rare. We live over 10 hours apart. We each knew that this was holy time. Time that we are building a dream for the next phase of our lives. We are praying through decisions and choices and knowing that having our parents pray with us is so good. Having them to discuss next step choices is just divine. I am so very thankful that Feller’s parents put the Lord first.
We had accountability with all four of us.
We chose to have hard conversations, to open our hearts and our minds to hearing more than just our opinion. We learned about one another and not just assumed…what a grow step for a blended family.
This week I am humbly reminded each time I go into my kitchen that miracles begin with “how can we help?”
and I’ll try my best to take that spirit of humility to ask….and listen well…
for they just supported my life in a way I had almost given up on hoping could be done.
What a blessing.
P.S. and I cannot wait to show you what they built for us!