Dust. Not star dust, not gold dust. Dust dust. Even the word is ugly. The problem with dust is that it continues to settle indefinitely as does the laundry and the dishes and, worst of all, the spilled chocolate soymilk and crispy cereal that the ants lie in wait for. Okay, enough of that - the thought is enough to send me rummaging through the cupboards for the nearest ant-free chocolate of any kind.

As homeschooling mothers, we need to keep things in order. I'm sure we all have a different method to tame the tide. Some moms put the kids to bed and stay up late getting everything back in order. Others get up early and get a head start on the work. Still others (usually those with babies - myself included) never seem to have enough energy to do either and tend to procrastinate because it looks so overwhelming. Some are fast and furious, and others are slow and meticulous. I happen to be slow and furious. In other words, I'm furious at the slow speed in which I am able to accomplish anything due to the severe demands on my time. But, thankfully, I have found some help!

Get Rid of It
One of the best hints I am learning about housecleaning is to de-clutter. The less you have, the less you have to maintain. Whenever there is excess, there tends to be disorder. Whether it's too many toys, too many pots and pans or too many outfits per child. Maybe even too many stacks of (dare I say it?) curriculum. The only good thing about clutter is that you can't find the dust – but neither can you find anything else you might really need. A good rule for all that extra stuff: if it isn't helpful, get rid of it.

Stay on Top of It
As well as regularly evaluating the necessity of what's in your house, set up a regular schedule of maintaining it. Nothing fancy, just something organized (Monday wash day, Tuesday, vacuuming, etc). Then, look at your biggest problem area and do a little bit everyday until it's done. 15 minutes of going through that stack of paperwork while you're eating breakfast. 10 minutes going through that junk drawer while you're teaching the younger ones how to match the bowls and lids. 20 minutes going through toys or clothes with the children. If you don't stay on top of it, you'll get buried under it. Trust me, I'm just now digging myself out and enjoying the freedom. And as I maintain some kind of order, my time is freed up to minister to others – but if and only if my spiritual house is clean as well.

Dust in the Temple
What about our spiritual house? Is there dust in the temple? Does it need to be de-cluttered? Do you search your mind for the answer to a spiritual struggle for yourself or someone else and only seem to wallow in the mire? Has your mind been filled with things other than the words of eternal life? Then I suggest a thorough cleaning of the dust and clutter in your heart and mind.

1 Corinthians 6:19, 20
"Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's." NKJV

Get Rid of It
Do your thoughts tend toward things that are untrue, impure, unlovely, or of bad report? If the thought isn't helpful, get rid of it. Do you allow junk to fill your mind through television or worldly movies and books? If it's not beneficial for eternity, get rid of it. After you de-clutter, start putting the Word of God in permanent residence there. Meditate on it day and night and your endeavors will be successful and your mind will be renewed. Consider these verses:

Philippians 4:8
"Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things." NKJV

Joshua 1:8
"This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success." NKJV

Romans 12:2
"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." NKJV

Stay on Top of It
Frequently evaluate what's going through your mind. Stay on top of sin in your life. Regularly allow God's word to purify your heart by consistently drawing near to Him that you might be washed with the water of the Word. 

2 Corinthians 7:1
"Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." NKJV

James 4:8
"Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded." NKJV

Ephesians 5:25-27
"…Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish." NKJV

Get Some Real Cleaning Done
What type of spiritual housecleaner are you? Slow and steady one verse every Sunday; fast and furious one minute devotional or gotta-get-around-to-reading procrastinator? May I suggest we take a deep breath and blow away the dust on our Bibles and get some real cleaning done!

Copyright, 2004. All rights reserved. www.TheHomeschoolMagazine.com. Deborah Wuehler is the Devotional and E-Newsletter editor for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. She lives in Roseville, CA with her husband Richard and their six gifts from heaven. E-mail Deborah at Devotions@TOSMag.com.