We live in the parsonage beside the church that Hubby pastors. It’s a good size house with lots of space. But it’s filled with lots of people. We take up every inch and spill over sometimes. 5 kids, the dogs, bunny rabbits, explosions of toys and laundry. Good luck finding a place to sit. A class 4 storm consisting of daughters 1-4, comes through my living room on a regular basis. It’s made up of high energy and little people. Son keeps out of the estrogen fray most of the time and contains his mess to his room, but those girlies want to share their creativity with the whole house. Our oldest girl, who is Autistic is on a magazine ripping mission. She tears stacks of magazines into shreds every day. She usually contains that to her room, but then she walks through the pile that sticks to her bare feet and they drop off as she walks through the house. So there is a forever trail of shredded paper at my house at any given moment.
Sometimes I look around and wonder where I could get a bulldozer. That is usually the moment that some sweet soul from the church knocks on the door and I stand there mortified, but take a deep breath and open the door that hides the truth about our family…we struggle to keep it all neat and tidy.
Seriously, it’s bigger than that. Neat and tidy are a dream. There are days when I would be thrilled for a path without stumping my big toe. But when life is busy and crazy, you just keep managing and stepping over the toys and overlooking the dishes. But the moment someone knocks on your door and you have to usher them into the mess, reality sets in majorly. We don’t want anyone to see our mess.
And when I clean the house, I’ll be honest, I start with the places that people are going to see if they walk in. The living room. The kitchen. The bathroom. If you show up at my house, don’t venture any other place. You’ve been warned.
I do find this difficult at times. I’m a recovering OCD house cleaner. When I was a single woman on my own, everything was in its place. If someone moved a knick knack while I was out of the room, I would notice immediately upon entering the room and was COMPELLED to straighten it up. Crazy. Then along came Hubby, a decade of babies, toddlers and Autism. Here I am today. What is a knick knack? Those are long broken or packed away. Our oldest daughter once went through a phase when she liked to watch glass shatter and threw every dish I owned from the porch onto the walkway. We call that “Autism Strikes Again” moments. 🙂 Paper plates are my thing now.
Our houses are a great analogy for our lives. Often, we just stick to keeping in order the parts of our lives that people see. Our appearance, the way we dress, our outward persona. Our reputation. The favor or opinions of others. The rules we feel we need to follow to fit in and be acceptable. We don’t spend nearly as much time in the places we can hide from others. But sometimes those places really do need some attention. If I turn over my couch who knows what I might find. Probably something I’ve been looking for. If you reach deep into your heart, who knows what you might find. Maybe something you need. Maybe some truth you haven’t dealt with. Maybe the answer to a question that needs answering.
It’s embarrassing to usher someone into your mess. For them to see the truth that you can’t keep it all together all the time. But here’s something I’ve learned as my world began to grow. The more people we add to our house the messier it gets. When you keep adding people to your world to love, sometimes life gets messier and messier too. But what does that mean? It means we live here. It means our house and our lives are not museums full of dead things. It means life is happening. I would rather have a house full of laughter that’s messy than a sterile house with an empty life.
And if you are going to love people and live life, then things will get messy. You can’t keep it neat and tidy all the time. You can’t worry about appearances. And messy is not the measure of who you are. It doesn’t mean you’ve failed. It doesn’t mean you aren’t enough. It doesn’t mean you’re bad. It means you need some help and you can’t keep up on your own.
When things get messy around here, I call in the troops (i.e. chore time) We pitch in together and get busy putting it back together. Never mind that 24 hours from now it will be a wreck again. Right now we work together and enjoy the result of our work. If you are a child of God then you can call in the troops too. There is the body of Christ who can come together and help you with the mess in your life. More importantly there is the lover of your soul who specializes in making what is broken whole, what is dirty clean, and what is hurting healed.
When my kids have something broken at my house they bring the broken pieces to me and ask me to fix them. They don’t try to fix it before they bring it to me. If you’ve made a mess of things. If someone else in your world has made a mess of things for you, bring the mess to God and let Him be The Lord of the Mess. He can clean up the mess and He can clear a path through it so you don’t stump your toe. He can calm the storms you’re in and He can shine a light in the dark, forgotten places to show you truth. He can give you a clean heart. He is more than enough for your mess friends. Don’t be ashamed. Open up the door. Show him the truth and usher Him right into the middle of your mess.
Cheering you on!
Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth
1 Have mercy on me, O God, because of your loyal love!
Because of your great compassion, wipe away my rebellious acts!
2 Wash away my wrongdoing!
Cleanse me of my sin!
3 For I am aware of my rebellious acts;
I am forever conscious of my sin.
4 Against you—you above all—I have sinned;
I have done what is evil in your sight.
So you are just when you confront me;
you are right when you condemn me.
5 Look, I was guilty of sin from birth,
a sinner the moment my mother conceived me.
6 Look, you desire integrity in the inner man;
you want me to possess wisdom.
7 Sprinkle me with water and I will be pure;
wash me and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Grant me the ultimate joy of being forgiven!
May the bones you crushed rejoice!
9 Hide your face from my sins!
Wipe away all my guilt!
10 Create for me a pure heart, O God!
Renew a resolute spirit within me!