I saw the idea on Pinterest: mis-matched silverware, bent to make wall hooks. And one of these days, I’m going to start collecting silverware from the thrift store so my husband can make me a nice long row of hooks on which I can neatly hang my growing collection of aprons.
But right now, they’re a mess. All jumbled on top of each other on two overflowing hooks.
That’s a lot like how my life feels these days.
But whenever I take a moment to stop and put on an apron, I’m reminded of a few lessons I’ve learned through the years. Truths as simple–and as beautiful–as an apron.
It’s all about my attitude. I can face my day overwhelmed, letting stress pile on stress. Or I can cultivate gratefulness. I know from experience which will lead to a more enjoyable day and a happier family. But too often, I don’t make the conscious choice to put on a smile and hum a little tune. Sometimes, that’s all it takes to set the course of the day.
The story of Susanna Wesley never ceases to inspire me. Her children tell how she’d stop, in the middle of whatever she was doing, throw her apron over her head, and pray. Sometimes, the kitchen sink is a mother’s prayer closet. But I know I would do well to let my children hear me pray more often. To let them see me pause, in the middle of a frustrating morning, and pray instead of crying over the spilled milk.
They called my great grandma Alma “Christianity in an apron.” I think it’s because she understood that it wasn’t always about what we did for others (though Great Grandma was always “doing”!) but how we did it. She served bread warm from the oven, with butter and jam and a hug–and lots of help from little fingers. I can serve my family in drudgery, or I can serve them in love. I can push away the helping hands because they make everything take longer, or I can embrace the opportunity to train my children how to cook. I need to choose relationship more often.
In a home with little children, it feels like organized chaos, at best. But if I take just a few moments to bring order in the midst of it all, I feel so much better. Even if I can’t wash the whole counter full of dishes right now, stacking them neatly helps them look more manageable. Even if the laundry won’t get washed for another day, having it sorted into piles makes it doable. Our God is a God of order (1 Corinthians 14:33); oh that I would be a woman of order, too!
I always laughed at the story from In Grandma’s Attic about how Ma kept putting on a fresh apron over top of each soiled one, until at the end of the day she had so many aprons on that she looked like she’d gained a few pounds. But it’s also become a beautiful reminder that He makes all things new (2 Corinthians 5:17, Revelation 21:5). No matter how grumpy I was yesterday, no matter how many things got left undone, I can start today out fresh. I can begin again with joy and patience, right this moment. Just like putting on a clean apron.
The lessons are simple. The kind passed on from mother to daughter. But when I pull an apron off the hook, it feels a bit like I’m taking on the mantle of my grandmothers and great grandmothers gone before me. They learned to do it, with a smile, one day and one apron at a time.