Getting Your Home Back in Order with a 15 Minute Tidy

Have you ever looked about your home after a day of homeschooling or a day of play, and gasped at the mess?  It can be absolutely frightening!  But, you do not need to be afraid of the mess because you are only 15 minutes away from tidy!

Is your home in disarray?  15 minutes is all it takes to get it back in order! | RaisingArrows.net

This method works no matter how many children you have, but it is based on two assumptions…that your home is relatively clean underneath the clutter, and that you and your family know where most things go – meaning your stuff has a home.  If your home is NOT clean underneath, take some time to work out a cleaning routine that works for you that will get the underneath clean.

Here are a few of the ways I have kept our home clean over the years:

home blessing listOne Day Home Blessing

Cleaning by the Day of the Week

Chore Board

If your home is so bad you are beyond overwhelmed, may I gently suggest FLYlady or A Slob Comes Clean.

FLYlady is how I learned to keep my home under control, but A Slob Comes Clean is for those who have failed at FLYlady and need something even more remedial.  No judgement.

I’d also encourage you to gain some understanding as to why you are hanging onto certain things.  My eBooklet Letting Go of What You Own:  A Biblical Approach to Decluttering is available on my Subscriber page.  Sign up below and you will find a link at the bottom of every email you receive from Raising Arrows.

Subscribe to Raising Arrows



OK, so now that we’ve worked out those assumptions, let me mention the number of children thing.  Some might argue that of course I can have a really tidy house in 15 minutes because there are a whole bunch of us working, but remember, the flip side of having a lot of children to help out is that I also have a lot of children creating messes!  For what it is worth, we have been doing 15 Minute Tidies since my oldest two children were tiny.  They helped as much as they could while I worked like a whirlwind.  Now, I have 4 really great Tidy-ers, 2 sort-of Tidy-ers, and 2 not-helping-at-all-ers.  If this didn’t work, I would not have continued to do it all these years!

So, let’s get started!

PREP:
Music can be very helpful to use as a “timer” – put together a playlist that is about 15 minutes long (Hamster Dance is a favorite on our list!) and start the music at the beginning of the 15 Minute Tidy.  (Amazon Prime Music is a great way to create a Cleaning Playlist!)

Gather everyone in the same room to get them started.  This lets you put eyes on every single child and direct those who need directing.  If I didn’t bring them all to the same room (usually the worst room), they would lay around and not help at all.

Announce the reward for their effort.  We ALWAYS have a reward for getting the work done.  15 Minute Tidies are set at times when there is a natural reward – before snack (announce what the snack will be), before movie night (announce that the movie night will start as soon as the tidy is finished), before you head to the park (announce that you will be heading out as soon as the timer goes off).  This is the motivation everyone needs to get the job done!

Ready, Set, Go!
Start your timer or your music, and get moving!

You have 2 Options on how YOU handle the tidy:

1.  You do the bulk of the work and not worry about what the children are doing except for directing as they pass by.

2.  You work as a facilitator and delegator.  (This is how I have chosen to work.)

If you don’t have a lot of children or none really old enough to be of much help, then you will need to be the primary worker.  Get moving and work as quickly as you can, giving your children direct orders as you go.  Take that to….  Pick that up and set it over there…  Help me pick these up…  (you get the idea)  The name of the game is beat the clock and get as much put away as you can.  (We’ll talk in a moment about how to keep from wasting precious steps and time.)

Because I have a lot of children and a lot of littles too, being a facilitator makes more sense for our household.  I delegate rooms and chores and also work quickly by picking things up in specific rooms and piling them onto a specified surface while the children work hard to put those things away.  I also continually check on everyone to make sure they are working.  I am in constant motion.

How to work efficiently during your 15 Minute Tidy

Start in the COMMON ROOMS (i.e. Living Room, Kitchen, etc).
Don’t waste your time on the rooms no one sees.  That way, if you run out of time, you have at least gotten the main rooms in the house tidied up.  If you have enough time, you can send everyone to their respective rooms or you can have another 15 minute tidy time at some point that is specifically for bedrooms.

Start in the MESSIEST ROOM.  Everyone likes to start where there isn’t much work to be done.  Don’t get caught in that trap.  The rooms that aren’t super messy can easily be cleaned later.  Pay the most attention to the worst rooms and you will feel a much bigger sense of accomplishment.

Make PILES.
As I mentioned above, I will work in one room and make a pile of all the misplaced items from that room.  If I was working alone, I would be the main one putting that pile away as soon as I was finished making it, but if I’m delegating, I will have one or two children as designated put-awayers (that’s a real word, right?).  Then, I move to the next room.  The reason this creates efficiency is because you are not constantly leaving the room to put things away.  You do the putting away at the end.

NOTE:  You can also grab a laundry basket or box and fill it up in EVERY room before putting anything away.

DON’T get caught up organizing or decluttering.  This is NOT the time for that.  In fact, if you find you have a lot of STUFF that has no home, rather than dealing with it now, grab a laundry basket or box and just throw it all in there…especially if your “reward” is having company over.  You can take a look at that box later and try to figure out where a good home for those items would be.  When you do find a place for them, be sure to let everyone know where that place is so the next time you do your 15 Minute Tidy, they will know exactly where to put those items.

Time’s Up!

Now, you reward yourself and everyone else!  This can be a cup of coffee, a movie, a snack.  You name it, it’s yours!  (Ok, not really, but a girl can dream, can’t she.)

And that’s all there is to it!  Give it a try today and let me know how it turned out!


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Large Family Hacks – Play Shoes Crate

When you have a lot of kiddos, you have a lot of shoes!  They are everywhere all over the house, yet the crazy thing is it is next to impossible to find a matching pair when you need them!

Enter our newest organizational tool…the Play Shoes Crate!Large Family Hack - Play Shoe Crate to keep shoes contained and easily found! | RaisingArrows.net

{affiliate links included}

Back when we used to do Workboxes, I purchased several black milk crates to house the files we were using for a modified workbox system.  However, years later, the milk crates were just taking up space in storage.  (Funny how I have storage items IN storage!)

With all these little boys, we end up with a lot of play shoes and no great place to put them – especially when they are muddy.  So, I decided to pull 2 of the crates out (black was definitely a good color choice!), and put one by each of the most used doors.

Large Family Hack - Play Shoe Crate | RaisingArrows.net

Piling the shoes into the crate is easy work for any one of the children, and it keeps the floors by the doors free of shoe clutter and the shoes easy to find.  On really muddy days, I’ll put a junk towel by the back door to line the shoes on and get them dry before putting them in the crate, but for the most part, when you come in from playing, your shoes go in the crate – thank you very much!

Large Family Hacks - learn the little things that make their homes run smoother! | RaisingArrows.net

Find all the Large Family Hacks here!

Is Your Plate Too Full {or is it something else?}

There have been times in my life when everything feels chaotic and overwhelming, and the only answer I can think of is to run away.  (In the Fight or Flight Model, I’m a Flight – all the way.)  My sense of duty and propriety keep me from it, and I continue to muddle through, finding the other side of the mess eventually.

Because this has been “one of those years”, I’ve found myself often considering those feelings of being overwhelmed and mulling over how they came about.  One thing I have arrived upon is that you can’t always trust the thought that your plate is too full.

Is Your Plate Too Full? {or is it something else} | RaisingArrows.net

When things were at their worst earlier this year, I listed out everything I had to do (or felt I had to do).  The list wasn’t huge, and it certainly could fit into a 24 hour day.  Even with a new house and new baby, I knew what I was feeling could not possibly be due to what was on my plate.  Nothing that was on my plate was outside my domain.  Nothing that was on my plate was outside what the Lord had handed me.  I knew there was more to this, and I had to stop blaming the plate.

Do you feel like there is too much to do in a day, yet, you cannot figure out where to carve out any more time or how to get rid of any responsibilities?  Perhaps it isn't the stuff on the plate that is causing the problem... | RaisingArrows.net

Is it hormones?

I really hate it when people make excuses for what you are feeling with the word “hormones,” but I must admit, sometimes it truly IS hormones.  I don’t consider myself a hormonal person.  Most people describe me as even-keel.  However, I have noticed the times I feel the most overwhelmed are after having a baby and before my monthly cycle.  Hmmmm….

If the plate feels too full because of hormones, there are a couple of things you can do.

1.  Wait it out and take it easy while you do.  Sometimes all you need is a little time.  For instance, after having a baby, it is crazy to expect life to normalize the day you get home from the hospital.  What you should really do is bring your life down to the bare minimum, and give it time.  The key here is to be able to RECOGNIZE what is going on, and not freak out over what you are feeling.

2.  Fix what needs fixing.  If time is not fixing things, then you need to explore options.  I’m not going to tell you what you need to do, but I can tell you that you will know when you find the answer.  I do not believe God intends for us to do nothing if something hormonal can be helped.  He created us and expects us to care for His temple to the best of our ability.  You can read about what I did to help balance my hormones HERE.

Is it a lack of rest?

This is literal and figurative.  Literally speaking, we can become easily overwhelmed when we are not getting enough sleep at night or when we push too hard for too long.  You simply cannot handle all life throws at you when you are tired.  Get more sleep at night or take a nap if you can.  Force yourself to do this one thing, and you will find your outlook on life greatly improved.

And don’t forget to take a Sabbath rest.  Work hard, rest well.  God put this cycle in place for a reason.  Don’t ignore it.

Need help finding rest?  Read THIS POST.

Figuratively speaking, are you running through your day in a frenzy?  Are you breathing at all?  Do you spend most of the day in a frantic pace, afraid everything will fall apart if you stop moving?

“Be still and know that I am God…”
Psalm 46:10a

Psalm 46 closes with those words, but it opens with something even more telling…

God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah
Psalm 46:1-3

If you are overwhelmed by your day, remember on whose strength you must rely.  Slow you pace, so your can see Him work.  Things may feel overwhelming, but God is still Lord of all.

Is there something on the horizon?

Sometimes those overwhelmed and anxious feelings come from upcoming events that are in your subconscious, but haven’t managed to make their way to the surface as yet.  Perhaps you have a difficult family member coming for a visit, or a difficult holiday is coming up.  Maybe you are nervous about an upcoming event or afraid you won’t be prepared.  You may not consciously KNOW why you are feeling overwhelmed, but your mind is an amazing place, and often sends out distress signals long before you are fully aware of what is causing the distress.

I have learned to be in the habit of thinking through what I am feeling (especially if it is a sudden onslaught of emotions), and considering what might be on the horizon that is making me feel as if I have too much on my plate.  This is simply a matter of learning to be aware of how your emotions are linked to your circumstances.  Learning to deal with both your circumstances and your emotions are a whole different can of worms!

Is it expectations?

Often, this one is inextricably linked to the previous question.  Is there someone in your life who has placed certain expectations on you, and you are dreadfully afraid you won’t live up to them?  Are they coming for a visit or have you been spending too much time with them?

Or perhaps, YOU are the one who has placed unattainable expectations on yourself.  (Read my post on how unrealistic homeschool moms can be.)  I want so badly for my home to be perfectly decorated and cleaned and orderly at all times, but that is completely unrealistic.  I know my home can be company ready in 15 minutes (or so), but still, I have a standard that tends to stress me out.  And when I am stressed, I tend to be a rather UNfun mom.  As our friend Dan says,

“I was having a bad day…until I lowered my expectations.”

Is it sensory issues?

While a lot of factors go into sensory issues in moms (read more about that HERE), when it pertains to “too much on your plate,” it is usually noise that is the thing that breaks the proverbial camel’s back.  It’s the toddler screaming, the boys laughing as they run in the house, the 6 year old saying Mommy over and over and over.  Your plate may not actually be too full, it may just be too loud.  Before you throw the plate out the window, step outside (or wherever it isn’t as noisy), and take a breath.

Is it priorities and stewardship?

Here’s where I hit a nerve…mine to be exact.  Sadly, more often than not I feel overwhelmed because I have not been a good steward of the things on my plate.  I have chosen to give priority to the wrong things.  My blog cannot be my priority.  The internet cannot be my priority.  Projects and hobbies cannot be my priority.  They can be a PART of my life, but they cannot trump my main responsibilities.

If it is stewardship and prioritizing that is your issue, it might help to actually write out IN ORDER your priorities and post it in your kitchen, near your computer, or wherever you need a little reminder.  Put the stuff on your plate in the proper order, and you will be surprised how much you actually get done in a day!

Is your plate too full or is it something else? | RaisingArrows.net

What if your plate really is too full?

Truthfully, there are times when you have bitten off more than you can chew.  The too-full plate is real, and if this is you, then need to address the truth.

Can you let go of something?

If yes, then just do it!  A few years ago for me it was a mass email delete.  I was on information overload and had put upon myself a need to read every email that came to my inbox.  I could not do it.  I needed to start over…even if I missed something.  *gasp*

More recently, it was saying “no” to a very worthy project.  It was blog related and would have been a great fit for the Raising Arrows audience, but I was maxed out.  And when I’m maxed out, all of my readers can feel it.  It’s not fair to me and it’s not fair to you.  So, I said no.

What if you can’t let go of something?

Sometimes you just don’t have the option to let something go.  Either you need to fully complete a commitment or the massive amount of things you have on your plate are something you must deal with for a season.  For instance, you need to ramp up a home business while your husband goes back to college or you need to take in your sister’s children while she walks through a messy divorce.  When this is the case, the answer is to do things that help you handle the stuff on the plate with as much grace and joy as possible.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
James 1:2-4

1.  Pray your way through it – Let a prayer always be on your breath.  Put on the praise music.  Keep your Bible at the ready.  And cry out to the Lord!  And don’t forget to thank Him when He answers!  Be grateful for the trials, the tears, the big and small answers, the mercy, and the love beyond comprehension.

2.  Take short breaks – You may not be able to fit in a lengthy rest, but do what you can to catch short breaks here and there.  (Read my post on creating a place to relax.)

3.  Exercise – When you are in a flight or fight situation, your adrenaline kicks into high gear.  You NEED a release for that pent-up adrenaline or you WILL go into adrenal fatigue.  Exercising will help you avoid this.  And when I say exercising, I do not mean a 2 mile run or an hour on the elliptical.  I mean exerting more energy for a longer period of time than your normal every day activity.  It might be playing tag in the backyard with the kids or doing several sets of lunges in your living room.  Don’t get hung up on the word.  It’s not as bad as you think it is.

4.  Eat right – Yeah, I know – you are busy and food is about the last thing on your mind.  Well, I hate to say it, but when your plate is over-full, you will need to do your very best to not give in to the ease of eating junk.  No, you don’t have to soak your grains and buy only organic, but you will need to reduce the sugar and eat as much REAL FOOD as you can.  Don’t make it hard, but do make it nourishing.

5.  Drink plenty of water – When your plate is full, you tend to run on caffeine and sugar.  Don’t.  Get a bag of ice, a sack of lemons, a pretty cup – whatever it takes to make the water appealing.

6.  Guard your time – Try not to add anything to your plate.  When the pastor’s wife calls and asks you to do the music for VBS, say, “I’m sorry – I can’t this year.”  Remember, this is a season.  You can add things to your plate (as the Lord leads) later.

Also, try not to tackle the major things on your plate that require your concentration in a time slot that will only frustrate you.  Making business phone calls while your toddler is in 4 o’clock crazy mode is NOT a good idea.  Put a time management plan in place that makes sense and won’t make you feel like you are living one big emergency.

7.  Surrender  – Give the entire plate over to God.  You should be doing this no matter how full the plate is, but when the plate is overflowing, there won’t be any possibility of doing this in your own strength.  Let go of the notion that YOU are going to have to do this, and let God take over.  His strength will become yours if you remember to let Him handle the plate.

So, is your plate really too full?  Or is it something else?

My New At-A-Glance Schedule {2015}

Make your day run smoother by using an At-A-Glance Schedule! | RaisingArrows.net

For those of you new to Raising Arrows, let me quickly explain what an At-A-Glance schedule is…

An At-A-Glance Schedule is a rough sketch of your day.  It is not a schedule for the entire family.  It is Mom’s Master List.  It isn’t super structured or binding.  It is a bare-bones approach that keeps you on track without making you feel guilty.

I was looking back at my old At-A-Glance schedule and realized how very outdated it was.  We haven’t had piano lessons on Wednesdays in well over a year!  Ideally, an At-A-Glance schedule would be re-assessed as circumstances change, or at the very least, every year.  It may not need to be changed every year because remember, it isn’t a tight schedule, so you won’t have things like “Baby’s Nap” on there or other things that change often.

This past weekend, I quickly worked through my old schedule to create one I believe will be a good fit for this year.  By the way, when I say “year”, I mean “school year.”  About this time of year, I am going through all of my homeschool materials and resources to see what I need for the upcoming school year, and figure out what that school year should look like.  (I like to be able to share with my readers what the intricacies of our homeschool looks like, so expect upcoming posts that highlight the changes for the 2015-16 year!)

It really is very easy to revamp an old At-A-Glance Schedule once you have the template of your day, so if you can find the time to put together your first one, any that follow will be very simple to make!

{affiliate links included}

Here is a quick guide to creating your first AAG:

1.  Write down the natural rhythm of your day.  If you get up at 8 am, don’t write down a wake up time of 7 am.  If you start school at 10 am, don’t write down 9 am.  This is the REAL routine you follow.  There will be time later to decide if you need to change your routine.

2.  Make a list of the things you would like to do in a day that are not on your “natural rhythm schedule”.  Don’t get crazy, but do get it all out.  This is a good exercise in realizing what things you THINK you should be doing, and the actuality of what can be FIT in to your schedule.  This list is there to help you work through what’s in your brain and start releasing the guilt you have for not doing EVERYTHING.

3.  Prioritize, Plug In, and Cull.  Sometimes all it takes is being purposeful and plugging it in.  Sometimes you have to have the sense to just let it go.  By writing out the things you WISH you had time for and comparing them to the natural rhythm schedule you wrote down in #1, you can see if you really do have the time for those things.  For instance, I would love to get back to sewing, but this isn’t the season for that because there are other things that NEED to be in the schedule.  I can let go of the guilt of not sewing because I know the things I have plugged in are PRIORITIES.

When you have a list of things that truly NEED to be on the schedule, then you can think about where they go.  Again, your AAG is NOT a full-blown schedule, so you are not looking for a place to plug in every single thing, but rather you are making sure there is enough MARGIN in your day to accommodate the things that are truly important.

Margin by Richard Swenson is a good book to help you understand the WHY and HOW of margin in your day.

4.  Write it out, type it out, post it.  I always write a rough sketch, go over it in my head, go over it with my older children and my husband, and make sure it is doable and everyone who has a choice is on board with it.  Then, I type it out, laminate it (with this laminator) and post it.

I always make more than one copy.  One copy is near my “office”, one is on the refrigerator, and one is with my homeschool materials.  (In the new house, my “office” is separate of my homeschool materials.  You’ll notice in this post, my office and homeschool area are the same.)  The reason for this is so that you truly can see the schedule AT A GLANCE!  It’s everywhere you are when you might need a little EXTRA focus.

5.  Tweak as needed.  I know, I know – I ALWAYS say this, but it’s true.  I was an English major – every paper was a rough draft!  Every SCHEDULE is a rough draft!  This gives you permission to change something.  HOWEVER, just because your AAG didn’t work the first or second, or even third time you tried it, does NOT mean it isn’t the “right” schedule for you.  It simply means it is NEW.  If after a week or two of really trying, it still doesn’t work, THEN tweak.

You will find that your day RARELY goes the way you plan, but having an At-A-Glance Schedule will help keep you on a track that moves forward and makes sense.  It is never meant to tie you down or stress you out!

Would you like to take a peek at my new AAG?  You will notice a couple of things:

1.  We are late risers.

2.  I sometimes (not always) rely on audio and video to keep the younger crowd occupied during a section of school that requires me to stay focused on the older crowd (I just put it on the schedule as an option).

I’m also including some links at the bottom of this post that I’ve written about specific items mentioned in the At A Glance Schedule.   These will help you understand more about how our day runs and what I mean by certain sections on the schedule.

CLICK HERE TO SEE MY AAG!

Helpful Links:
Morning Chores
Quiet Time with Small Children
Another Take on Quiet Time
Christian Mom’s Guide to Blogging
Table Chores
Schooling the Little First
Easy Homeschool Lunches
Laundry Ideas
Special School
Art & Artist Time
Special Night

Last Day to Get the Best Homemaking Resources of the Year!

This sale is over.

Well, this is it…the last day of The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle!

I was asked on my Facebook page if I really thought this bundle was worth the money.  I absolutely do – and I’m not just saying that because my ebook is in there!  Here are a few reasons why I feel this is money well-spent:

1.  It is NOT the same bundle as last year or the year before.  These bundles NEVER repeat.  This is FRESH content.  So, if you’ve purchased in the past, you are not getting repeat products.

2.  You couldn’t get ONE of the eCourses, let alone ALL of the eCourses for this price.  I told you before that the eCourses are my favorite part of this year’s bundle.  I maybe could have purchased one of the courses, but all 10?  Not a chance!  Here’s the list of those eCourses, so you can see for yourself how awesome they are:

  • The Healthy Home – an eCourse about using natural remedies and resources that are proven to work in your home environment.  You will learn so much without having to wade through a bunch of mumbo-jumbo!
  • Grocery University – A super well-done audio course on how to get started couponing.  I’ve owned this course for years and highly recommend it!
  • Homemaking from Scratch Online Conference – I had wanted to sign up for this when it first happened and then didn’t.  I am SO glad I now own it!  Great and godly information from some of the web’s most wonderful homemaking bloggers.
  • Living a Legacy Conference – I have not had time to listen to this yet, but with people like Kathy Brodock and Kelly Crawford, I am certain it is going to be good!
  • A Parent’s Guide to Natural Remedies – I just got started working through this and LOVE it!  It is a fantastic resource for treating childhood illnesses with natural solutions!
  • Happy Mom, Healthy Family Meal Planning Workshop & Cookbook
  • Marriage, Intimacy, & Sex:  Moving from Blah to Blazing in the Bedroom
  • (De)Clutter Buddies
  • 21 Days Savings Challenge
  • 14 Days to a Better Neck (from Fit2B Studio)

3.  The bundle contains over $1200 in product + $300 in bonuses and is less than $30!  Plus, the people who put this bundle together are Christian families who truly have your best interests in mind.  They have been wonderful to work with, and have proven themselves to be trustworthy and above reproach time and again.

 

I made the goal of selling enough bundles to be able to purchase a new laptop for my oldest daughter who does most of the photography for this blog.  (You can see some of her lovely work on her brand new blog, Diverse Reflections.)  I am REALLY close to making that goal, and I thank all of you who have purchased or will purchase today using my link!

If you have questions about any of the books or products, click HERE or feel free to ask me, but don’t delay – It all ends tonight at 11:59 pm Eastern!

 

The Mission Field in Your Home

One thing I often hear from stay at home moms is that they feel they aren’t reaching out with the Gospel of Christ.  They are so busy running a household, they have time for little else.  (Remember my post on What You Need to Know About Being a Mom Many Littles?)  These woman want to be spreading God’s Word, but they can’t find the time, the energy, or the babysitter.  I’ve even known some women who gave up homemaking and homeschooling in order to make a greater impact on their community for Christ.

What these mamas are missing is the mission field right in their very homes!

The Mission Field In Your Home - "Living and Ordinary Life in the Name of an Extraordinary Savior" | RaisingArrows.net

Before you hang up on me because I’m being trite, please listen to these words written to me in an email by a Saladmaster Cookware representative who visited our home last week:

“Your family is truly amazing and I felt I was on very sacred ground being in your home.  I am in homes all the time and see interaction in all sorts of wonderful families but have to say, yours is a real stand-out!  I consider it a privilege to have been among you.”

That blew me away.  Sure we get comments as we are walking down the aisles of the grocery store or in restaurants, but to have someone who had been around us for more than 10 minutes give such an amazing testimony to the Light of Christ IN OUR HOME blessed my busy homemaking/homeschooling mama heart!

My children as a mission field.

The Mission Field in your Own Home - don't miss it! | RaisingArrows.net

My mission field has always been my home.  I care for children all day long, doing my very imperfect best to instill the Gospel of Christ in them.  My intent is to raise them as arrows for the Lord to one day be shot out from our home and carry the Gospel with them.  Thus, the name of this blog – Raising Arrows.

“Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward.  Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth.”
~Psalm 127:3-4

Often, a mother of young children won’t see the fruit of her labor until much later, giving her the impression she’s not really reaching anyone.  However, a funeral we recently attended gave me insight into what a faithful following looks like at the end of the race…

The gentleman who was being remembered died at 93.  Although he was raised in the church, he did not become a true Christ follower until he was 40.  By that point, he had been married quite some time and had 4 children, but it changed his outlook and attitude dramatically.  However, he lived his life as an ordinary man, doing ordinary things; the difference was that he now did it for and in the name of Jesus.  Because of this, his impact on his world was EXTRAORDINARY.

All 4 of his children are believers, as well as most of their family and extended family.  All of them spoke highly of him and how he ministered to them as a family.  His work in the community was done in the capacity of his various jobs, and he was well-loved by those who knew him.

Once, he counseled Ty not to worry about taking the “right” job, but to do something he enjoyed and work for the Lord there.  He did a lot of work in the church, but again, it was done in the capacity of the gifts and realm of influence the Lord had already placed in his life.

Visitors as my mission field.

The day the Saladmaster representative came to cook us dinner, we all pitched in and cleaned the house.  That was the only thing I did to prepare.  In fact, I’m pretty sure half of my boys had on jeans with holes in the knees.  I had to leave the kitchen several times to change diapers, my 4 year old kept playing with one of the pans, and my 2 year old took off with the 1 pound fat glob the guy brought as a visual to explain how to cook healthy meals.  Perfect it was not.

But, it didn’t need to be perfect.  It just needed to be authentic.

Being a missionary is easier than you thought.

The Mission Field is your own Home - RaisingArrows.netBeing a missionary is a calling all Christians have and it has very little to do with your training or your location.  As a mama, it is about being authentic with everyone you come in contact with from your husband to your children to the mailman to the Saladmaster representative. It isn’t about saying the right thing or looking a certain way.  It isn’t about being the perfect hostess or reaching the most people.  It is about living an ordinary life, doing ordinary things in the name of an extraordinary Savior!

Your life, your home, your testimony - it doesn't have to be extraordinary to reach others with the Gospel! | RaisingArrows.net

So, next time you are tempted to believe you aren’t really doing the Lord’s work, or what you are doing is much too insignificant, remember WHO is doing the work.  It isn’t you.  This isn’t about you.  Be faithful where you are.  The Lord didn’t accidentally give you these children or this life.  It was planned with a purpose.  Work where you are FOR HIM, and let Him do the rest.