Invest in the Mess
Recently, my 20 month old son Moses learned the word “messy”. After spreading food all over his hair/face/chest/high chair, he will look up at me with a concerned expression and say, “Uh oh, messy!”
The fact that he says, “Uh oh!” before the “messy” is something he has learned from me. In my opinion, messes are an uh oh. I do not appreciate mess. I do not enjoy cleaning up messes. As a mom of two little boys under age two, I feel perpetually surrounded by MESS.
After months of frustration and discouragement at my inability to contain the chaos of life with little ones (and two big dogs who delight in shedding hair everywhere), the Lord sat me down for a little chat.
To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.
Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.
Not only had my obsession with keeping my home in perfect order taken my joy, it had interfered with my goal of spending quality time with the Lord, digging in to His Word and coming before Him in prayer while my kids napped. As soon as they hit the sack I would immediately rush to get the dishes done, the clothes put away, the toys back in their place. Only after everything was in order would I sit down with my Bible…and nine times out of ten I would have 5 minutes before the first kid would wake up and the crazy start all over again.
I found myself resenting my precious little guy whose goal was not to maliciously ruin Mommy’s day by doing what little ones do best and leaving a mess wherever he toddled. I found myself nagging and nit picking my husband every time he would leave something on the counter or the floor. I found myself jealously comparing myself to the other moms who seemed to have immaculate homes and perfectly clean children who delightfully started cleaning up after themselves at six months of age.
I came to the realization that I need to embrace this season of mess, for my own sanity’s sake and also for the well-being of my family, but ultimately for the glory of God. This is the season He has placed me in. My toddler is learning and growing and developing, and that means spilling and smearing and leaving a disaster in his wake more often than not. Of course, I shouldnt let my home fall into a perpetual state of squalor, that’s not God-honoring at all. But exhausting all my energy and joy in trying to rid myself of the inevitable messiness of life that accompanies two little boys under two robs me of the pleasure of enjoying my precious family and investing in these fleeting moments of childhood and parenthood.
So. I’m going to stop freaking out when my clean living room turns into a train wreck in .5 seconds after Mosha wakes up from nap. I’m going to stop apologizing all over the place in embarrassment when the handyman comes in and has to step over mega blocks and a pile of goldfish to get to the water heater closet. I’m going to stop being a Martha who is “worried and troubled about many things”. I’m going to stop envying other moms and their seemingly perfect homes (and kids and makeup and hair and lives).
I’m going to glory in the season God has given me. I’m going to marvel at the milestones my little Moses and Thadeus hit. I’m going to thank my God for the gift of children and a legacy and all that entails. I’m going to follow Mary’s example and put my time with the Lord FIRST and trust that He will honor that and give me opportunity to complete my to-do list after. I’m going to put down the laundry and leave the half-cleaned kitchen and spend the remainder of my evening with my husband after the kids have gone to bed, investing in our marriage and having face-to-face time with him. The unfinished chores will be there tomorrow, guaranteed. The precious moments with my family are not so guaranteed.
Written by Natalya Brown.