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Embrace the Mess


Some days are harder than others. We’d all love for our lives to be filled with nothing but extraordinary days of pleasure and ease. But then reality sets in. Plans change. People move. Storms come. The inevitable realization of our imperfect lives comes crashing in on us, and we often wonder, what do we do now?


My wife and I have had a few of those days. With three toddlers, there is no telling what a day can throw at you (or a child for that matter). Recently we had had one of those days. It was compiled of the endless demands of three little munchkins. They were communicating in the universal language among children: whining. Lots and lots of whining. You know that kind of whining that compels perfectly normal children to demand the whole world stop and give them a snack (in the right colored snack cup of course). I’m sure you parents of little ones are feeling your blood boil as we speak.


Well, it was one of those days, and the snack of choice was a bag of tortilla chips. The Robertsons love some homemade salsa and guacamole, so a healthy stash of tortilla chips is a must for our crew. But we had reached an impasse. Unfortunately, due to all the chowing down that week, the bag was almost empty. All that was left to fight over was an unusually large pile of extra salty chiplets and crumbs.


It was like a slow-motion stare off between the three siblings. They looked at each other. Then they looked at the bag in my hand. And like a pack of ravishing wolves, they pounced trying to devour the leftovers. They then proceeded to tie my feet and hands together as if they were offering a sacrifice to the chips gods and securing the last bite for themselves. So much screaming and whining ensued, I couldn’t even hear my own thoughts. Kathryn looked over at me with a helpless expression that said, “Do something, please.” Wrestling with the thought of locking myself up in the laundry room, I quickly gave in to a solution.


Swiftly, like the fairy godmother in Cinderella, I took the bag of crumbs and sprinkled them all over the table. Thousands of tiny little chiplets descended upon our dining room like fairy dust. Only there was no giant pumpkin carriage or sparkly new dress. Only a colossal mess and temporarily satisfied kids. I wish I could have bottled up the kid’s expressions and sold it. It was awesome!!


Kathryn and I looked at each other and chuckled. Was this going to be a mess we would have to clean up later? Yea! But for now, we decided to just embrace the mess and meet their needs.


Life is a lot like that, isn’t it? Sometimes it’s just messy. Life can’t always be clean of trouble and heartache. Sure, we try to have the floors all sparkly clean, but try as we might, the bottoms of our feet are still covered with crumbs. So sometimes you just have to be still amidst the mess and see the beauty of the moment. Be okay with the imperfect circumstance because that may be exactly where God wants you to be. In your mess is where God gets to shine even brighter. I mean, He kind of has a thing for making beauty from the ashes. Isaiah 61:1-3 tells us,


“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.”


I don’t know what kind of mess you have found yourself in, but may I encourage you to embrace it? Embrace the mess against all urgency to run. Embrace the mess against all perfectionistic tendencies. Embrace the mess even when you don’t understand. Embrace the mess. Embrace Jesus in this moment.

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