I always wanted a big family...six kids was my dream. My husband wanted two, so I guess we've met in the middle. I would look at large families out and about and think that it must be very exciting to always have people around you, you'd never be lonely! In my mind, it was a serene place where everyone worked together, their houses were always clean, their children never misbehaved, they got everything on their 'to do' list accomplished everyday, and still managed to solve all of the problems of life by a ten p.m. bedtime. Now, either I've failed somewhere or my ideals were slightly (or majorly) skewed. Life as we know it has thrown us major curves that can't be cleared up by ten p.m. and we have days, most days in fact, when the children don't work at all let alone together to get things done. Some days the only things we accomplish are actually getting out of bed and standing up. The point I make is basically this, our ideals can often times lead to a feeling of dissatisfaction with our lives. We believe that even though we're doing our best, we're somehow failing. It's the 'grass is greener on the other side' mind set, someone else's life is better than ours.
Last night I was going over the events of the last year - for those who don't know, our daughter has undergone two open heart surgeries and still has one other in her future. I was rehearsing the ideals I'd had for our family - CHD did not fit in, we didn't have time for it - life as we knew it changed forever. Things no longer fit in my original ideals of everything being perfect. We had to determine to enjoy life in the midst of the PICU, in the midst of Elizabeth's sickness, in the less than ideal circumstances we were forced to face. When the ideal of a clean house keeps us from enjoying the family God has given us to enjoy, then it actually becomes an idol, not an ideal. When the children are held to such a high standard that they can't be kids, then our ideals for them have become idols...when our children themselves become the focus of our lives, or the sickness becomes the focus, or the finances become the focus, then we have to realize that our ideals have become idols....
The perfect life doesn't come from these things, the perfect life comes when we're submitted to God and all the other things He calls into place - even if it doesn't fit our plans - because we know that He knows what's best for us.
So this morning when the Little People were all over the floor, and water was all over the bathroom vanity, I thanked God for the family He's given me and asked Him to give me joy even when I'm cleaning up after them. After all, I may not have been as richly blessed as I am.