It’s Saturday and we’re dusting and vacuuming and picking up like mad. A few of the boys are having friends over and it stuns me to the center that as hard as we try, our home never gets past that “lived in” look.
Life can be messy. Messy will happen as long as we live and breathe.
A boy carries his dirty clothes hamper down the old, curved stairs. He and I stand together, feeding jeans and sweatshirts into our over-worked washer, and I think of my long-ago dreams of having a perfectly tidy home. One void of dirt and spills and stains and mess. Now I know that won’t happen.
A family lives here.
When we were fewer in number and my oldest sons were small, I believed that I would be able to keep our emotional and spiritual lives free of mess too. I believed that if I said yes to all the right things and barricaded the door against the wrong, we’d be safe inside. I had the best intention and the things we practiced were solid and good.
But the thing is, people aren’t perfect.
Life happens and can take turns that are out of our control.
The plan, the perfect plan, can turn messy.
The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. Matthew 7:25 NIV
I’m learning, as I stretch and grow in my faith, that following the Lord doesn’t mean that I can keep life- storms at bay. It doesn’t mean that I can protect my family from every wind, rain, or struggle. What is does mean, sweet amazing grace, is that the Lord is with us when the storms come.
The Lord is perfectly present when life doesn’t go as planned.
When I think about the times that I’ve been overwhelmed by grace, when His goodness has seeped into my soul and brought peace that penetrates peril, when I’ve needed Him as much as I’ve needed air and He’s been just as present, I understand that the most intimate times of experiencing His Presence may have been during the trials.
He’s by my side in the middle of a mess.
He is faithful.
The washer chugs and the dishes are in the rack, and when a small blond son finds me, his green eyes are wide with hope.
“Are we done, Mom? Will you look at my bedroom?”
I climb the stairs and check his room. The beds are made. The floor is clutter-free. There’s a line-up of teddy bears on the chest by the window.
Looks fine to me.
An hour later our home is rich with the sound of boys. There’s laughter. The thud of feet pounding up the stairs. Bigger boys are in the family room and a couple of small ones rush through the living room with the dog at their heels.
The house isn’t perfect.
By some standards it may be a mess.
But it’s okay.