Joanna Gaines is my most favorite working mom out there! Her refreshing attitude, alongside her immense dependence on God is how she juggles so much chaos and success in her life. She openly talks about her quiet moments with God and is quick to give Him praise when it all turns out OK.
From a recent blog, entitled “Messy Connection” Joanna shares with us a small insight as to how she found a way to ‘connect’ with her four children during the rushed dinner-hour.
Please read on…your heart will swell and your eyes will tear up but it’ll all be worth it!
I love being in the kitchen. It’s my little escape from the deadlines, the schedules, and the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life. To be honest, I really like being in the kitchen alone. When I’m cooking several different things, being by myself helps me get focused and in the zone so I can get everything flavored and timed just right. It’s a satisfying feeling to have dinner fully ready and right on time for the family.
This past weekend I was talking with a friend, and we were chatting about our kiddos and how fast they’re growing. The main question we asked each other was, “How do we connect with our kids as the seasons change?” I felt challenged by our conversation, and on my way home I prayed that God would show me creative ways to connect with my children.
That same evening I started preparing for dinner and was excited about some alone time in the kitchen. Sure enough, one by one each of the kiddos trickled in and asked if they could help. At first I resisted, and explained to them I was in a hurry to get everything made. I really didn’t want to deal with the mess that comes along with four little ones in the kitchen. And then I heard the whisper, “This is your chance Jo.”
I took a deep breath and prepared myself – I had to let go of my plan that dinner would be ready on time. With the kids helping, there would inevitably be four times the mess and plenty of spills, but I knew it would all be worth it.
I started by delegating the work. The two youngest were tasked with rolling out the dough and messing with the flour (which, of course, they loved). My two oldest were in charge of peeling and cutting. Right away it seemed like the flour was being slung all over the place, but as soon as I saw the two youngest work together as a team, I realized it didn’t bother me a bit. And though tomato juice was dripping from the cutting board down onto the pine floors, it was the sweetest thing to see my oldest teach his little sister the safe and proper cutting technique. Watching these siblings love and teach one another so patiently was the most perfect little moment, so I hushed the clean freak inside me and enjoyed the spills and splatters.
After the food was in the oven ready to go, I asked them to go outside and get fresh arrangements for the centerpiece. They set the table as a team, and each tiny detail that their little hands worked so hard to put together made a big impact on this mama’s heart. And just when I thought my heart couldn’t swell any bigger, my oldest volunteered to do the dishes (this was a first).
The kids were so proud of their meal, and from start to finish they were partners. I sat back and thought to myself, If I hadn’t let them join in and make their mess, I would’ve missed this whole beautiful moment. That evening, my heart learned to let go of perfection and to embrace the chaos, no matter how messy it can get. Sometimes in the middle of the mess is where life and beauty are found.
The simple lesson I learned in all this is when I lean towards control and perfection, I miss the gift that is right in front of me. It was a sweet moment I’m glad I didn’t miss with my kids. Honestly, it was the first time I can ever remember cleaning the floors with a smile.
**When I read stories like this, I immediately think of Proverbs 31: 10-31. These verses give us insight and direction as to what God had in mind when he created marriage between a man and woman and their independent roles. God’s words are beautiful:
“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.