"DAD, This is so lame," our daughter Alyssa said as she stormed into our room. Her sixteen-year-old mouth proved itself teen-worthy.
My husband responded. "Lame, huh?"
"You have no right to barricade my room, Dad," she barked, "blocking off my closet and drawers with bright orange tape!"
I held back the giggle that was begging to come out and ducked out of the room as inconspicuously as possible.
"I should've done it a long time ago, Alyssa," Steve argued back. "I've told you a hundred times that as long as you're living in this house, you will keep your room picked up."
Alyssa huffed as her heavy feet spoke on her behalf all the way back to her room. "It's not FAIR!" she screamed while tearing down the barrier to her room.
Exasperated, Steve came into the living room where I was working a crossword puzzle. "I'm so tired of this, Elaine." My side of the loveseat sprang me in the air as he sat down beside me.
"Ok, Dad," Alyssa walked into the room in submission. "I get the point."
He stood up and touched her shoulder tenderly, "Alyssa, I warned you that if you didn't get your room clean by last weekend that you would be punished. I've given you grace all week, but now I've got to ground you until it's finished."
"WHAT?!? But that's not fair! I’m supposed to go to the football game with Jenny!” Her mascara-stained cheeks were about to see a new jet-black trail of tears.
Alyssa's younger brother always walked in at the perfect time. "What's goin' on?" he spouted off cluelessly.
"None of your business, Caleb!" Alyssa stomped off a second time and slammed her door when she reached her construction zone.
Caleb looked dumbfounded. "What's wrong with her?"
"The same thing that's going to be wrong with you in a minute," Steve warned.
"What did I do?"
"You promised me two weeks ago that you would pick up all the Play Station discs laying around in the game room," he scolded. "Some of them have huge scratches now."
"K, Dad. I'll do it later." He turned around and started to strut out of the room.
"No, son," my husband corrected, "you'll do it now."
He made one last attempt. "Mom, tell Dad he's being lame!"
I stood up and tried to look serious. "No, Caleb. He's right."
"What a way to spend a weekend," he sassed as he made his exit.
Steve spent a good while pouring out his heart to me after that. "It's like nobody wants to finish their work, Lainey. That can't be God's best for our family."
"You're right, Steve," I consented.
He turned his face to me and looked me straight in the eye. "Are you in a defensive mood today?"
"Uh," I hesitated, "I'm ok--shoot!" I tried to belt out positively.
"Well, it's like that pile of socks in our room. I know you don't like me to help with the laundry, Hon, but honestly, I don't think I can stand it anymore."
He sat down again and shuffled through my almost-completed crossword magazine.
"What? You don't like having them all in one place to choose from?" I winked at him.
I could tell he felt disgusted with himself for even mentioning it, but I knew it was only because he wanted to help make good changes in our household.
"Well, do you mind finishing my puzzle for me, sweetie? I've got a sock-ade to tackle!" I looked at him with a loving twinkle in my eye.
He stood up and gleamed, "I'd much rather help a beautiful lady with a horribly boring task, so...sock it to me!"
"How 'bout you go pick us up some sushi instead?" I pleaded. "Looks like we're all going to be working into the evening."
"Deal!" He grabbed his keys and skipped out of the room. "And she still won't let me help with the laundry," he muttered under his breath.
As I separated the mound of socks in our bedroom, I admitted to the Lord that I was having a difficult time completing the mundane tasks around me and asked for His help. In my heart, I knew that I was the one setting the tone for the kids' habits, too.
My prayer was interrupted by three loud honks outside the window. Alyssa, Caleb and I ran out the door only to see Steve's car dead in the middle of the street.
"The car is out of gas!" He yelled. "I thought I could make it to a gas station before I ran out."
Pushing the car back into the driveway, we all had a good laugh. Steve was a good sport, although...
The kids really socked it to him.
2 Corinthians 8:11
"Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means."