Hi! I’m Carrie, and I am living a messy, joyful journey. I am a pastor’s wife, married to the hunkiest and most selfless man alive, I’m a mom to two amazingly funny and talented high schoolers, and I am “really fun and the best teacher ever” (An actual student said that, so it’s definitely true).
But for ten years, I lived in survival mode!
I was a stay-at-home mom… and then I was a working mom.
In both scenarios, I was a hot mess! You might even say that I was “domestically challenged.” As a stay-at-home mom, I moved to a new state with two toddlers and was far from my family. I was utterly overwhelmed. As a teacher drowning with work, all of my focus was on school. I was not the wife or mom that I wanted to be. Something had to change, and I knew it.
It’s a beautiful thing to live in the internet age. I learned most of what I know about cooking, cleaning, organizing, and even what activities to do with young kids from watching youtube videos or reading blogs. Those mediums helped me figure out how to do “all the things,” but they always left me feeling a little bit less than everyone else because my life didn’t look “Pinterest Perfect” like all the bloggers I was following. It was too high a standard, and I knew I didn’t measure up.
I’ve realized that a joyful life doesn’t need to look “Perfect.” The relationships are what matter most. And unfortunately, I had been focusing on all of the wrong things.
Relationships are messy…
marriage is messy…
Friendships are messy…
and my house is sometimes messy.
The world has become increasingly divided, and I am convinced that part of the problem is that we no longer practice hospitality. Instead, we fight over social media and don’t invite people into our lives who are different from us. I know I am much more likely to try to understand someone’s opposing view when that person is sitting across from me enjoying a meal than reading what they have to say on Twitter.
You guys, I suck! I have been selfish! And I am guilty of not reaching out to my neighbors. As a Christian, I believe that there is an enemy who wants people to hate each other. He wants Christians to see “our neighbor” as the enemy instead of reaching out to them in love and hospitality.
We must stop seeing those who think differently than us as the enemy. It will only cause a more significant divide. I believe we can have a massive impact on our communities if we would obey the command to “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
“But how do we do this?” you ask. … What if I don’t have a big enough house or know how to cook well? What if I don’t have a lot of money? These are fair questions and exactly where I got stuck.
That is why I started this blog!
When my husband and I were first married, we had a TINY apartment in New Jersey. It was so small that our T.V. didn’t need a remote control because you could reach it from the futon we were using in our living room/kitchen to change the channel. Yet, we constantly had people in our home for a meal or bible study.
When we were serving in ministry with college-aged students, people would be at our house at all hours of the night. But, of course, our students were always welcome. We loved letting them use our house as a hangout.
We intentionally invited people into our home in the early stages of church planting. Although it wasn’t the best house in the neighborhood, and I wasn’t the best cook, that didn’t matter. It was about people.
Then something happened to me when I became a teacher. I no longer had it in me to allow people into my home, and I was miserable. I started to feel like my house wasn’t good enough, and I would compare myself to others. Teaching never felt fulfilling, even though I was pouring into kids’ lives and seeing them learn. I think I was miserable because I could no longer fulfill my calling as a pastor’s wife, mom, and Christian neighbor.
I decided to quit my job, simplify my life, and return to what matters most. People!
The purpose of Messy Joyful Journey is to provide hope for anyone like me, the person who wants to love their neighbor but doesn’t feel equipt. While there will be tips for quickly cleaning your house, meals to feed a crowd, or easy meals to bring a friend, it all boils down to loving your neighbor through biblical hospitality.
Little things can make a big difference in someone’s life.
I believe that if more of us were doing this, the world would look much different. So please join me on this messy, joyful journey!