I regularly read the Mommy Life blog by Barbara Curtis and in January she assigned her readers to read the classic Animal Farm and she would lead a discussion. I thought I'd try it, since we have a copy of Animal Farm and it's a very short book. I loved it. All I wanted to do was read Animal Farm and all I could think of was the pigs and the old dog and the hardworking horse. Of course it's satire and many parallels can be drawn between what Orwell was satirising and the current American government. After that, I felt a love of reading I hadn't felt in a long time.
So I read Barbara Curtis' book Lord, Please Meet Me in the Laundry Room and I'm glad I did. It's another short read, and very relevant to someone in my position as a mom to young kids. Among the big ideas in this book, one is that in a mother's life there may not be a lot of time alone doing bible study, there are always interruptions like a screaming baby, a needy toddler, laundry, dishes or dinner to be made. It's a good thing the Lord meets us where we are and sometimes it might be in the laundry room while doing the 18th load of laundry. From page 24, "When I turn my thoughts to God, loading the dishwasher, sweeping the floor, getting up to nurse the baby at night, even changing a diaper can be a prayer. And as I turn my thoughts to Him, I pray for all the mommies like me who are too busy wiping peanut butter and jelly off little faces and kissing owies to maintain the practice of what the less encumbered call quiet time." Since reading this, it's made me look at my daily tasks different and thank God for them. I am thankful I have loads and loads of laundry to do, because it means my house has growing children who have the energy to get dirty while they're playing. This doesn't mean I have an excuse for not doing "quiet time." I spend way too much wasted time on the computer and watching TV, when I should be deepening my relationship with Jesus.
Barbara also tells her story of how Jesus worked in her life, through her wild young adulthood as a political leftist, to a single mom with two daughters, to a recovering alcoholic. She married her husband Tripp and together they came to Jesus and she learned how to be a good mother (in her words, page 42). Later they had 7 children together, one with Down Syndrome, and adopted three more with DS. She discusses a bit about having so many children and how it's very similar to being a CEO, running a small company and being organized. She also relates the blessing of having a large family. From page 66-67, "Sometimes the amazement [of people upon finding out their family size] is respectful, but sometimes it hurts, as when people say things like, 'I don't know how you do it. My two are enough to drive me crazy.' It's embrassing to hear another mother say this in front of her children--and mine. I was to grab her hand and say, 'Stop! Think! That's not the way it's supposed to be! These children are our treasures!" She then references Psalm 127 which calls children a heritage from the Lord.
Upon reading this, I was quite convicted about my comments about Caley and Amelia. Life with these girls is difficult at times, but probably more because I am stubborn, selfish, and don't want to be inconvenienced by their legitimate needs as children. I need to be more cautious with what I say, especially when they are around. Actually, I need to be more cautious about everything I say, whether or not it's about my children! I too often speak without thinking.
The last chapter of the book is about her child with a "little extra," Jonny. Jonny has Down Syndrome. She writes that among the difficulties associated with having a child with Down syndrome, there are many unexpected joys and rewards! After having Jonny, Barbara birthed her last child, Maddy, and years later adopted three more boys with Down Syndrome. Wow! This is a huge reason why I admire Barbara as a mother, Christian, author, and advocate. On page 124 she writes, "What will be your little extra? It might not be a baby with Down syndrome, but surely as you continue your spiritual journey, God will drop something in your lap or whisper something in your heart that will give you the opportunity to grow and change, to enlarge your capacity to love, to teach you compassion, and to depend on Him and love Him more. "
What will be my/our little extra? When I am 90 and look back on my life, what will I see that helped me learn more about God's love for me and plan for my life? I'm guessing it'll be something I can't fathom right now, because as much as I'd like to be in control, I'm not. God is.
I highly recommend this book and Barbara's blog in general. Thank you!