I'll never forget the day. I think it was 1999. I had 7 children at the time. I had 6 in home school.
I had gone upstairs and opened the door to the boys bedroom. They were all teenagers. The room was a mess. I stood in the middle of the room and cried.
I was one of those moms who went above and beyond the call of duty. My personality is precise, conscientious, responsible, dependable, detailed oriented. By this time, much of my perfectionist tendencies had been worked out of me so it wasn't that everything had to be perfect. I just had spent so much time, as soon as they could walk, teaching them to place their boots here, hang their coat up there, and put their clean clothes in their drawers. I never wanted to see clothes all over the floor. I thought there was no reason for that. I didn't put their clothes away. They had their own little baskets to put away their clean laundry in organized drawers. I had faithfully worked at this supposing that my training would accomplish the results I had worked towards. And that was a neat home, but children who were responsible and as conscientious as Your's Truly.
And here I stood, looking around at the three beds, with clothes everywhere. It was that day that I learned to close the door. So from then on, every time I walked by their bedroom, I closed the door so I couldn't see it. You might say that I lost a battle. Perhaps. But I like to think that I actually won since if you don't fight, there is no battle to be had.
You see, when they are all little it so much easier to manage your home just the way you like it. For the most part, little kids (like under 10) can be very compliant. And you realize that they are just that..."in training"...so you keep instructing. Until they get around 12-13 and you think that surely by now you will see the fruit of your training!
In some areas, yes. In some areas, no. This is because they are your kids, but they are also just another created human being that has to find their way in relationship to God. They may comply with their chores or their scripture memorization or whatever it is you have them doing. But then the time comes, perhaps it is a kind of accountability age, where they must make wise choices. It's a transitioning time for mom and child as we learn to loosen the reigns a bit.
For me, this was an area that I felt was not worth fighting about. Some people do not care about the mess around them and do quite well in life. While I spent time teaching order and neatness, (ie; guiding them in the right direction through imparting values and good character), some things are not to be won, you count your losses, pick up your marbles and go home. In light of eternity, it wasn't a biggie.
Isn't God like that? Do we have to have everything in order? Do everything just right? No. He loves us and guides us but understands our weakness and pities us. The disciples greatly disappointed Jesus when they fell asleep in Gethsemane when He needed them most. He asked them to watch and pray. They fell asleep. Yet, He did not disown them.
That's not to say that I allow a basketball to be bounced in my house. I'm still the boss! Just pick your battles because the tone of the house is set by mom and if we're barking orders all day, it doesn't make it a very warm and welcoming home.
You do your part. God does His. Because now, I have 4 adult children who are wonderfully responsible. One is still a little messy. Ha ha. But he may end up being the wealthiest and can hire a maid!