I had to chuckle today, as I glanced at the end table in our living room. It is a microcosm of my life, and it made me smile.
Adjacent to the end table is my “chair,” just a hand-me-down, green Ethan Allen piece that rocks and swivels. (That spot used to hold my beloved Grandpa’s chair from the 80’s… but sadly it rocked one too many times and had to be retired…) I spend a lot of hours in that chair, between nursing Esther, snuggling Levi, perusing Facebook and watching Netflix (sometimes simultaneously!) So inevitably my daily life spills onto it. Before kids, the end table was decorated with a lovely placemat and lamp off our wedding registry. Now, it looks like this:
It is topped with a Kleenex box, cell phone, remote controls, toddler’s sippy cup, Mommy’s water bottle, hand sanitizer, pacifier clip, an empty infant Tylenol syringe, baby nail clippers and file, current snack, morning snack, and leftovers from yesterday’s snack, four toddler trains (discarded and traded for said snack), a chip clip, an old birthday card, a parenting book (!) and if you look closely, some overwhelmed coasters.
Needless to say, the rest of my house is not a whole lot different.
Have you seen those decorative wall hangings in boutiques that say “Bless this Mess”? I always figured they were just something to be displayed as a flippant apology for an unkempt house because of laziness. Well… as a mom my perspective has changed.
I constantly battle my feelings regarding the state of my house. I am well aware this is not a unique challenge, and as moms we often are trying to encourage each other to not worry about the cleanliness of our homes or apologize for it, to which I agree. The first time I saw the rhyme ending with “So quiet down cobwebs; dust go to sleep. I’m rocking my baby, and babies don’t keep,” I about wept with release. However, I am battling my feelings again as we have friends coming over tomorrow, and my intentions at getting some cleaning done today were pushed to the back burner AGAIN because time was more wisely and appropriately spent on other things – namely, relationships. I do not regret how I spent my time today. But reality is that my living room floor could use vacuuming, the bathrooms need sanitizing, the dishes are undone, and the germ party going on underneath Levi’s seat at the table is outstanding.
And then God reminds me of a perspective he revealed to me awhile back. I could plead desperately, “God, please bless this mess!” But he whispers back to me – “honey, darling, this mess is evidence of how you are already blessed.”
There are Hot Wheels cars scattered across the kitchen floor because there is a toddler pretending the lines on the linoleum are roads. There are crumbs, stains, and smashed food beneath his seat because he is proudly feeding himself with food we have in abundance. There are burp rags lying about because I have a beautiful baby girl who turned two months old today, and I am privileged to nurse her. Though the toilet is dirty, I AM THANKING GOD FOR INDOOR PLUMBING! Other things are more difficult to be thankful for – the unopened mail on the kitchen table; the hole in the basement door created when Levi angrily slammed the back door into it. The list could go on.
But really, when the chaos causes guilt, embarrassment, and stress, I am striving to change my perspective – and realize that the mess is evidence of an abundant life shared with the three most important people in my world.
So today, my end table made me laugh. What a blessed mess!!!!