Saturday, March 16, 2013

When Life Hands You Mess, Say Thank You

It's been a messy week.

On Sunday, the dog (not our dog...we are dog-sitting) found a dirty diaper in the trash and shredded it. I was thankful for my vacuum cleaner.

On Monday, our one and only household toilet experienced a major clog in the middle of the work day. (Translation: the husband I usually call upon for plumbing issues was not available.) After much fruitless time spent with the plunger and a murky bowl, I was thankful for wikihow, where I found advice on how to get things moving again. And I was oh so thankful for a successful flush.

On Tuesday, I did what I'm always afraid the children will do: I dropped the quart container of yogurt, breaking the lid and smearing yogurt all over the floor, the fridge, and myself. I was thankful for my washing machine.

On Wednesday, my sweet Hayden randomly said his head and stomach hurt, didn't eat his dinner, and then threw up. I was thankful that he's old enough to aim into a bowl; the couch was spared.

On Thursday, Abby found Lydia's unattended bowl of yogurt on the counter and used it as fingerpaint - a fact I discovered when she sclimbed on top of me with sticky hands. I was thankful that the mess didn't spread too far. And I wondered if having yogurt in the house was really such a good idea.

I started to think that I was having a particularly messy week, but then I remembered the lightbulb incident of last Wednesday. A helpful hint for life: when changing a lightbulb, don't drop it. The only good thing to come from a shattered vanity bulb is a spotlessly clean bathroom, which comes as a result of wiping, vacuuming, and scouring every inch of the room for specks of glass. I'm just thankful we don't use mercury-loaded florescent bulbs!

Truly, life is messy. Life with children is even messier. Life with a toddler and her siblings, a borrowed dog, and busy butterfingers is the messiest of all.

The amazing thing is that God loves me - mess and all. He knows every mistake I've made, the next slip I will make with hands or tongue, and the unseen stench of selfish, sinful thoughts. Yet he willingly reached into the murky mire to pull up people like me and make us clean. He loves righteousness more than I love spotless floors and freshly washed sheets, but He has mercy on sinners...even sinful moms who react to life's disasters with less-than-perfect attitudes. Life gets messy, but His kindness and love and mercy don't change. He alone is clean and pure and undefiled by the accidents, incidents, and outright sinfulness of our human existence.

Clearly, I can't keep my home as tidy as I would like. Like autumn leaves on the ground, my floors are strewn with stray socks, Cheerios, puzzle pieces...and now dog hair. There is always a diaper or lightbulb that needs to be changed. And I can't keep my heart any cleaner than my house. On my own, I'm incapable of holiness. Only by God's saving grace can I dare to stand before Him, knowing that I am forgiven.

When life gets messy - and it WILL get messy, even if you're not as clumsy as I am - don't wallow in the rubble. Take a deep breath, pick up the pieces, and thank the One who makes all things clean and new and beautiful.

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
Titus 3:3-7

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