It is 8:42 pm, and my house looks like a bomb went off. Inside-out and mismatched socks litter the living room floor, library books sprawl lazily across the couches, and thirty-two fingerprinty water glasses gather for a conference on the kitchen counters. The dishwasher needs filling and the laundry needs folding and five sets of teeth need to be inspected before they are sent off to bed.
When the last child has asked the last question before finally acquiescing to bedtime, I stand in my living room in a state of shell-shocked exhaustion, assessing the damages. Every surface of my home looks like it has suffered a direct hit, and I feel responsible, as if my home wouldn’t look so much like Ground Zero if I was just…better at this.
I didn’t keep up very well today. The house looks like a war zone, I sigh.
It looks like a war zone because it is a war zone.
The words crowd out my thoughts before I can stop them. It is a war zone, and you are at war.
I gasp, because I have forgotten. In my self-criticizing, I have forgotten all that I have done today to raise up a mighty little army and to equip them for battle. Now, at the end of the day, my house reflects the effort that has gone in to the more important task of preparing my children for war.
It’s just that it doesn’t seem like war when I hold my children on my lap and sit with them at their desks and serve them at the table. But it is. I do not like to look into their sweet, innocent little faces and think that they are engaged in a battle for their souls. But they are. I do not like to think that our enemy will stoop so low as to rob the cradle. But he does.
It is a war, and I must spend my days pouring truth into my babies, demonstrating love, and fighting against sin—both mine and theirs—because I only get one chance to arm them well. Already the enemy is noticing weaknesses, looking for chinks, and hoping I’m too busy cleaning the kitchen to notice them myself.
But I know that one day, they’ll have to face him alone. One day, I won’t be there to gird them up. So every day, we’re hauling out the armor, messing with swords, and building up defenses.
It makes an awful mess of the living room.
But then, war isn’t pretty. It is messy and exhausting. It requires so much focus, dedication, and perseverance that other things simply cannot get done. We don’t always have time to put the tanks back where we found them because we are just too busy keeping them loaded.
Some days, it’s all we can do to make sure everyone makes it out alive.
If my house looks like a war zone on those days, then let it be. Those are shields and swords littering the living room floor, not sippy cups and Nerf guns. This is a battleground, and I am raising an army.
Today, it just happens to look like it.
100 Beautiful Days of Motherhood, #? I have so lost track of numbers.