“Godliness with contentment produces great gain.”

I am blessed to have a positive relationship with my husband’s parents. But, I was thrown a curve ball last week when Mom visited, did her ceremonial cleaning up of my kitchen with a smile (which I had not completed) and then dropped this suggestion, “I know what it is like to look around and feel like you just don’t know where to begin.”

I nodded, doing my pleasant daughter-in-law countenance and she went on, “What do you think about me coming down on a more regular basis to help you clean?” I’m still nodding, smiling. “That sounds great,” I said, “I think we can all see that I need the help.” Emboldened, perhaps, by how well this was going, Mom went on to say, “Would you mind if I brought my friend along with me and we could start in the mudroom?”

Hmmm….now it was starting to seem a little like Mom and friend had been hatching a plot for some time now and my pride was getting a little stepped on. And finally, she added, “and maybe we could give you and the girls a little challenge about keeping it nice.” Well, I continued to smile and nod, but my heart took that one a little hard. Not everyone was as content with my beautiful mess as I was.

I thought back to the pictures from the delightful “get to know your Steering members video” at MOPS. At one point while I was viewing, though, I did think, “That wasn’t really a mess.” Remembering another photo, “Um, nope, looked like stacks—not the problem I’ve got over here,” and finally, as my childhood friends in Texas would have said: “That ain’t a mess.”No, I started feeling like I had one-uped people on the most “beautiful” mess in my daily surroundings.

After Mom’s comments, the Enemy of my soul soon was on the prowl. And we know he is seeking destruction of relationships, discouragement, and keeping us tangled up in lies. After twisting around my mother in law’s words, they started to sound like this: “If you’re going to fail at cleaning your room again, I’m going to have to turn it into a game for you.” To myself, “If you would keep this place cleaner, she could spend more time with her grandkids instead of being put to work.” To a friend, I decided to criticize my husband and his part in our “not so beautiful mess” of a house.Yeah, I decided, he’s a huge part of the problem. Or, is he?

On my knees, God’s grace began to sink in and turn these lies back into truth. My husband does make efforts and by the way, Enemy, that reminds me that I need to ask him out on a date soon. And I think I will make an effort tomorrow to free him up to do his work in the afternoon, instead of coming right home.

Thank you, Gracious God!

Mom’s words? They begin to sound like this: “I have been through mothering and the keeping of a house; it can seem insurmountable. Let me help you get to a better place. I have been praying for you. I’m here to help if you need it.” Thank you, Jesus, for loving me through her. And this reminder from a friend, “can the kids get more involved—here’s an idea to use.”

Thank you, Lord, that You never fail to show me Your grace.