I Don't Have a Photogenic Kitchen

Like most of us, I find myself mindlessly scrolling through social media, unaware of the mental numbness, the neglect of household chores, the time suck. It's when one of my children throw Ferdinand the Bull (the book, not an actual bull) across the room at their sibling that I am jolted to reality, the reminder of my responsibilities and that, oh yeah, these little humans need me to keep them alive.

In that scrolling I quite regularly happen upon the lovely shots of beautiful clean white kitchens with subway tile backsplash, shiplapped walls and hardwood floors (once again, JoJo Gaines for the win). An untouched cup of coffee sits on the large hardwood picnic-style table next to an opened Bible (the only worn thing in the picture, which adds to the spirituality of the photographer), and a succulent.

I'm here to tell you my kitchen is not that kitchen.

Our house is 40 years old and not in the charming sense. Most of the kitchen appliances are in desperate need of replacing, the tile was found "at a bargain" by the previous homeowners (aka: heinous tile) and the walls are covered with a few coats of a golden paint I slapped on to cover the previously stained beige. There's almost always collections of dog hair and sand from the sandbox tracked across the floor and the counters are covered with books and banana peels. My stainless steel fridge is adorned with beloved paintings made by my littles and football schedule magnets. Even if you were to set my coffee cup and worn Bible out on the table, it would be hidden by coloring books and plastic sippy cups (not good for the Instagram shot). We are clean people, I assure you. I sweep multiple times a day and clear the counters after meals.

But my kitchen is just not beautiful. I don't love it and can't help explaining to anyone who deign visit that the tile is on the (literal) chopping block as soon as we save to replace it and that I hate the counter tops, too. Almost as a way to beg my guest, please don't judge me by my kitchen. I am better than this!

For a few weeks after buying the house, I worked tirelessly to make it look the best I could on our meager budget (buying a house=hemorrhage of money). We put up whitewashed planks in the living room, painted the other walls, and hung decor. I felt a sense of urgency to pretty my home before we could be hospitable. I still feel that urgency today.

But, despite the fact that I don't have a beautiful kitchen or a photogenic home, this home is still to be stewarded well. This home is a blessing so that we may bless others, even without shiplap and succulents. But it's in this Bible Belt culture that we feel the need to put our best foot forward first, before we can let others in. Before we can dive into vulnerable community, let me first get my marriage together. Let's first fix that obstinate child before we invite a family for dinner. I must have a pretty package to present before I can be presented... a sort of entrance into Christian society, complete with a metaphorical black tie and gown.

So, even though my home is not photogenic and won't inspire thoughts of covetousness, we will continue to host. Even though my life is the opposite of put-together, I will continue to fight for deep and rich community. Because the goal isn't to make much of me, much of my decorative abilities or dreamy marriage or well-behaved children. If I have no needs, no flaws, no sand on my floors, I have no need for a Savior. And no one else will see their own need for a Savior.

I must become less. He must become more.

This will continue to be true whether or not my home is picturesque or my outfit is on trend.

I need a Savior and so do you.

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