A friend-ish acquaintance came over for morning tea a while ago. She lives in a brand-new large, impeccably decorated house which is always eat-off-the-floor clean. From my perspective anyway. As I tidied my little, old house with its array of mismatched furnishings and constant state of renovations, I discontentedly compared our houses. I despaired at the seeming decline in my housekeeping standards in the last 5 years as I scraped the worst of the toddler leftovers off the floor and hid some clutter behind cabinet doors. I resented the length of time that I have been coping with unsightly half-finished renovations and the art-ready layers of dust produced. I concluded that there was no way she could be comfortable in my disaster of a house.
Inadequacy. One of my eating triggers.
I tried to comfort myself with a cupcake or two and the knowledge that no woman likes to visit a home cleaner than her own, and that a certain amount of disarray humanizes a house and demonstrates a homey, livable environment. I almost convinced myself.
When she arrived, I saw a change in her since the last time I had chatted with her. Her eyes held pain, her face was... different. I pushed kids craft supplies out of the way and we sat at the table, exchanging small talk and happenings over a cup of tea. Eventually, the story behind the pain in her eyes came out. A story filled with heartbreak, lies, and helplessness. A story of God's Love empowering her to hold out forgiveness and love, even when the recipients of that forgiveness and love were not yet accepting of it. She blessed me with her story and I hope I was able to encourage her in return.
After she left, I looked around, realizing that all my fretting was useless. I doubt if she saw that my furniture bears the evidence of years of hard use. Or that my windows aren't exactly streak-free because my 3 year old cleaned them.
It was then that I came to a very important conclusion: When people enter my house I want them to know and feel that this is a house where Love lives.
Yes, I want them to be able to walk across the kitchen without the distraction of their socks getting stuck on the floor and find a seat that isn't occupied by an array of small plastic farm animals or Duplo, but more than that, I want them to feel truly welcome, that I am honored by their visit, that there is nothing I want to do more at that moment than share time with them. And I want the permanent residents of our home to feel the same.
I want to decorate my home with Love.
Not the 'word art' Love that current decor trends favor, although that might be a good reminder. Not just as an accessory that looks nice in the corner and we dust it off and bring it out when its convenient. It should be the centerpiece; the open arms and open home Love that embraces and encourages. A Love that speaks it's five languages fluently: Love in time spent together, Love in speaking words of affirmation, Love in giving a hug or appropriate touch, Love in dispensing gifts, and Love in performing acts of kindness.
There is no inadequacy in Love. God is Love. He can turn my mess into perfection.