July 9, 2017
I would have thought that over thirteen years into the gig, I would have this motherhood thing down by now. That somehow through the years and the kids, I would have it all together. The boys would immediately obey and never argue, fuss, or fight. After school moments would be filled with homemade cookies and giggles as we discussed the day’s events and relaxed in our spotless house. Oh, we know it’s all an exaggeration, but isn’t that what we imagine before the real life happens?
Surprise! Motherhood is often a mess.
Life, love, mess. Package deal. Sure, you start as a cute little pregnant lady basking in the glow of expectancy. But let’s face it, by month seven, you can’t see your toes and your emotions are blubbering all over the place. It doesn’t end at birth. That’s the beginning.
Birth? Hello, mess.
Face it. Raising kiddos isn’t exactly a neat process.
Newborns…welcome to the world of spit up.
Infants…um, this diaper’s leaking.
Toddlers…two year olds, enough said.
Fast forward to the teen years and start buying deodorant in bulk.
Mamas, we know messes. And we also know that sometimes you just have to embrace them.
Several nights ago, we plopped down in our creaky hand-me down chairs in the kitchen. The stained tablecloth was simply an attempt to cover the table’s scratches. We filled our plates with leftovers and contents of the way-back parts of the freezer. Piecing meals together in the summertime is a must. Who wants to go to the grocery store with three boys in tow?
That evening, I longed for conversation and manners. What I received were weird noises accompanied by dirty fingernails grabbing for the last dinner roll. But there were also lots of laughs and moments to savor.
Mothering is about loving them through the messes.
Some days, it’s helping them find a pair of socks under the pile of laundry. On other days, it’s pushing the stack of dishes aside to bake their favorite muffins. It’s leaving the pile of papers to show them that mama can still score on them in basketball.
Loving them in spite of the mess.
But it’s not just the disarray found on the playroom floor or the red dirt on the khaki pants or the sucker sticks in the minivan. Not just those messes. We all have Pinterest boards dedicated to stain removal, cleaning hacks, and odor blocking sprays.
It’s the mess that happens when an imperfect mom gives her all to raising imperfect kids.
It’s the potty mouth and the name-calling.
And the words you never imagined you could say to the ones you love so much. The syllables you wish you could pull back in even as they cross your lips.
It’s the anxiety concerning the decisions they’ll make.
And heavier, the guilt of the ones you’ve already made.
It’s the sound of little people who won’t listen.
And louder, the sound of my own voice raised in anger.
It’s the tears and snot resulting from boo-boos, hurt feelings, and tantrums.
And your own tear-stained eyes and worn-out knees from begging the LORD for His grace as you parent.
It’s the frazzled edges, fevers, fears, and failures.
IT IS A MESS.
But it’s a beautiful mess.
There are handmade cards with backwards letters and misspelled words.
There are forts, complete with every pillow and blanket, bonding brothers together.
There are snuggles that happily interrupt all to-do lists.
There are looks of forgiveness your teenager offers in spite of your mistakes.
There are heart palpitations when your son scores a goal in his soccer game.
There are tears of thankfulness to the Creator who entrusted you with these little people in spite of your own imperfections.
So as messy as life may appear, perhaps I do have something about this Mom thing down. Rough around the edges? Yes. Stained and smelly? At times. But my goal is clear: I’m an imperfect mom pointing imperfect kids to a Perfect Savior.
Because I want them to know that no matter the mess they’re in, they have a mama who can manage a mess. But they have a Savior who makes masterpieces.
"My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness."
2 Corinthians 12:9
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