Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Confessions of a Desperate Housewife

He's here, our missionary in Guatemala. Of course he doesn't really belong to us, he was busy doing his work there in his home country long before we met and partnered with him.

But we love to claim him because he's taken in 22 children from remote villages where children sleep on floors of dirt without bedding, get wet inside their homes when it rains, and whose tummies are filled with worms instead of supper.

It's not an orphanage, because most of these children have parents who love them and made the sacrifice of parting with them for the sake of their future, so they might have food, education, and be rid of the parasites. They are now sheltered from the elements, but also from being beaten, becoming child brides, and being raped at the hands of family members. Among them are the children of children, being raised as siblings because what else can be done?

Pastor Cristian runs a children's home, lives there with his wife and his own two children. It is not his job; it is his calling, his family's life.  The transformation of these kids is stunning. They have learned Spanish, manners, life skills, and Jesus Christ.

This is our missionary, the one we claim as our own because he's done so well for many kids and for God's glory too. We are proud of him and all his home-work.


He's here, a guest in my home. He's going to see how a family of five lives in America with harried schedules and unmopped floors and spoiled kids. I fear he will see my inadequacy to raise but three, and what goes undone when I work outside the home and try to maintain patience and a godly, if dusty, home.

I fret because he will see the dishes my kids leave in every room although they are permitted to eat only in the kitchen. It is not the only parental expectation my bold American kids defy on a regularly basis because their stretched-too-thin American parents are too tired and distracted to enforce the rules.

In Guatemala, his kids are more than happy to eat in the kitchen. They are happy to make beds and to keep clean rooms because they remember not having any of these things. Kek 'chi children who have been rescued from despair happily comply with his rules.

How do I compete with this? And why am I compelled to do so?

I'd rather keep my door closed to his discovery that this once stay-at-home mom did too much for her kids and not enough with them. She served without teaching them to serve right along side a little more. If I was to teach a cheerful heart and a hearty work ethic, I have failed.

I think these defeated thoughts as I lean my desperate comparisons into the tub's soap scum and try to scrub away the dirty evidence in the bath and in my heart. The descent of an airplane will deliver scrutiny to my door. So I scrutinize myself, but my questions will not be vacuum up like my dingy carpet.

Why am I only now discovering my mothering faults when it's too late to correct them?  Why am I expecting judgment and comparison from a godly man who knows all too well the challenges of raising another generation for God? I fear the cultural and lifestyle differences will not be taken into account. Or worse, that they will. The questions slosh in my head as tawny brown replaces the suds sloshing in my mop bucket.

I scrutinize my home and my children frantic to make the inside match the facade we spend more time maintaining. I want my home to ooze with the same kind of flourishing order and grateful servanthood I see from our Guatemalan counterparts. This desperate housewife would rather claim the work she contributes to in a foreign land than the one behind her own front door.

As I tried to ready my home last night, I prayed that the clean up effort would uncover grace that's been lost in the shuffle of our hurried lives. I'd like to rediscover and dust off that grace, but I realized therein lies my problem. Grace is the cleansing agent, not the forgotten prize for achieving perfection.

{linking with Emily's imperfect prose}
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