Remember the post I wrote the other day, the one about The Humble Washer and Honoring Your Husband? I reminded you of Proverbs 31:12 and mentioned that our poor housekeeping can harm our husbands by harming their reputations. I neglected to mention Proverbs 31:23:
“Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land.”
The study notes in my Bible (Reformation Study Bible) say this about verse 23:
“The implication is that the wife’s skill and diligence in home affairs remove all concerns about them from her husband. He is free to pursue his place as a respected elder in public life.”
Whoa! Convincing stuff, huh? I want my husband to be so relieved of any concern about whether or not his home is in order that he can do this.
I shared the story behind the original post with my friend, Kendra, the other day, and she said, “Your story is classic. You just must share that on your blog!” So, without further ado, here is….the rest of the story.
Once upon a time, many, many years ago……..It was a Saturday. My husband used to have Saturdays off. We’d had a lazy kind of morning, meaning we were still in our jammies and breakfast dishes were still on the table quite late into the morning. Copper’s mom called and said she had gobs of blackberries and did we want to come pick some. We did.
So, we threw on some clothes, grabbed the diaper bag, (remember, we were just going to pick blackberries) and left everything as it was and went to my mother-in-love’s house. After picking blackberries, it was almost noon. Copper went to Taco Bell and brought lunch for everyone back to his mom’s. As we ate lunch we realized that Aaron (then a one year old!) had never been to the zoo and wasn’t it a beautiful day to go. The city zoo was only a couple of miles from my mother-in-love’s house. We went.
Remember, please, that my breakfast dishes are still on my kitchen table at home, beds are unmade, girls’ rooms are thrashed and there was laundry piled in the garage (where my laundry was at that house). And I did not have any sort of regular housework system in place. Enough said.
After the zoo, we went back to my mother-in-love’s to pick up the blackberries we’d left in her fridge and she decided she should just order pizza for dinner and we should stay. So we did.
We left home around 10:00 a.m. and got home around 7:30 or so, to find a police car parked across our driveway, a police officer climbing our locked backyard gate, and our next door neighbor replacing the boards in our front fence that our very panicked stupid dog knocked out.
We’d been burglarized. Our alarm had gone off, freaking the dog out. He’d knocked out boards in trying to get away. Fortunately, we had an alarm, so we only suffered several broken windows (as they tried, unsuccessfully, to enter the house that way), and the bottom panel of our side garage door was broken out (which is how they got in) and had a mess in our garage where they’d opened the freezer door and left it open. I don’t know at what point in time the alarm actually went off, probably when they opened the broken garage door to leave. They couldn’t get into our house because the door from the garage to the house was always dead bolted.
Anyway, since my husband is a cop, the city police department did a more thorough investigation than they would have otherwise. Sort of a professional courtesy thing, but also taking extra precautions just in case the bad guys knew it was a cop’s house.
Remember how I’d left my house?? I had not only the original responding officers going through every part of my thrashed house, but the CSI guys came later who did all the fingerprinting and stuff. I was just mortified! The first responders had to ask if the-girl-who-shall-remain-nameless’s room had been ransacked or if it always looked that way. Every drawer was opened, stuff was half in and half out, the floor was covered. It always looked that way.
As if the condition I’ve already mentioned wasn’t bad enough….I’ll never forget this as long as I live….one of the fingerprint guys raised the mini-blinds in our bedroom window to take prints off the area around the broken glass in the sill, and he said, “Well! It’s been awhile since anyone has cleaned here!”. He sounded so disgusted. These are cops. They’ve seen it all, and the “all” they’ve seen is far worse than you can imagine. And yet he made that comment in my home. In my husband’s bedroom.
To top if off, I’d personally left the house looking like….well, like I was going to pick berries. A faded jumper, an old t-shirt, and dirty hair pulled into a ponytail. Can you imagine what I looked like, hours later, after the berry picking and the zoo when I met my husband’s colleagues?
My husband didn’t work side-by-side with these guys. He’s a deputy sheriff with the county and they were city police officers , but he did work the jail and these guys were in and out all day, every day, with bookings. They knew my husband. That was my light bulb moment with how my slovenly ways had caused my husband’s reputation to be tarnished. I did my husband great harm that day.
Okay…..back to the here and now. I don’t think that any of us ever get to the point that our homes are exactly as we want them to be. At least not as long as we have children in our homes; and I, for one, want those days to last as long as possible! My home is not immaculate, by any stretch of the imagination. Children live here and we don’t spend our days doing housework. The hallway leading to the kids’ rooms desperately needs to be painted. The boys’ room needs paint even worse than the hall. The desk where I am typing has too much stuff on it, and one of the barstools just to my left has a stack of books and papers that I don’t even remember leaving there.
The difference is, from the day of that break in years ago, I have determined to never malign my husband’s reputation in that same way again. (I’m sure my sinful nature has caused me to damage his reputation in plenty of other ways, though. sigh.) I found the book, Sidetracked Home Executives,and began setting up a system for maintaining my home. It changed my life!
Have I always been faithful to follow my routine? No. However, if our home is broken into, it will be obvious to the responding officers what has been ransacked and what has not. There is no place so dusty or dirty that comments would be raised.
I don’t think anyone walks into a home expecting it to look as though no one lives there. I’ve been in a home or two like that before, and they are not even comfortable. My standard now is – what would happen if the police had to come into my home in my absence?
The beds would be made, even on Sunday (burglars don’t observe the Lord’s day). My bed and Dani’s made neatly, the boys’ beds made, but not necessarily neatly. Good enough for me.
The dishes would, hopefully, be in the dishwasher. If not, they’d at least be rinsed and in the sink. The toast crumbs would be wiped off the counters and the tablecloth would be clean. Good enough for me.
The laundry would either be in the hampers, or in the machines, or clean and folded into laundry baskets waiting to be put away. If the timing were right, it might even all be put away! Good enough for me.
There might be toys on the boys’ room floor and, probably, either in the living room and/or the school room. Not every toy they own, but the ones they were most recently playing with. We’ve had the same two Lego projects out in the living room for about a week now.
We do require that toys be put away when they are no longer being played with, but we also understand how frustrating it is to a child to spend hours setting up something and then not having the opportunity to finish playing with it. In the case of the Legos out now, the seven year old has been working on building a complicated model and he just hasn’t finished it yet. They are against one wall so that the room can still be navigated without crushing Legos underfoot. The point is, the room would look as though children were recently playing there, because, well……they were!
Some of the rooms will be cobweb and dust free (more or less) and some may be dusty and have a few cobwebs. My kids will be clean unless they’ve been playing outside, and then they’ll just look like boys who’ve been playing outside.
So, what would the police find if, Lord forbid, you should be burglarlized? What would your husband’s co-workers find if they needed to drop something off for him one evening? Hopefully, nothing at all like the condition my home was found in all those years ago.