Saturday, September 15, 2012

Counting Mercies: #48 - The Mercy of a Mess

I've mentioned before that S loves playing outside, but did I mention how absolutely filthy she can get? I'm pretty sure that in the few short weeks we've had her home, she has managed to get dirtier and smellier than any of the 4 boys! She definitely topped them all the afternoon I checked on her during her nap and found that she had gotten into her stinky diaper! You'll be glad I didn't snap a picture of that messy moment, and I'll spare you the details.  Let's just say that I used a lot of Clorox, and I brushed her teeth and scrubbed those  little hands for a long time! It is also a regular occurrence to find her with a mouthful (and I mean a LARGE mouthful) of sand. All it takes is about 15 seconds of me turning my back on her, and she can become quite a mess and make quite a mess! I've had to take child-proofing to a whole new level! The things that I thought were out of reach...well, a lot of them aren't! Probably the funniest thing that she consistently goes for are the decorative, green "cabbage" plates hanging on my wall! While I have to admit that it made me mad at first (when I took them down, it left an empty wall full of nail holes), now I find it quite funny. She reaches for those plates like they're covered in cake! Bless her heart, I'm sure it's all so confusing, and I know she's never seen plates hung on walls before! Now that I think about it, I think I've served her oatmeal in the morning out of bowls that look like those plates! :)

S is not the only one around here who can create a mess! Since I am still hand-feeding S ALL of her food, you can imagine what meal time looks like at our house! Evie is normally in my lap with a bottle, and Barrett and S are strapped in their seats with me attempting to feed all three! When Will is at work late and I'm extremely outnumbered, Barrett usually ends up feeding himself and more food ends up on the floor than in his mouth! Occasionally, I will hold off feeding Barrett (or he will refuse to eat), and I will let him draw while I feed S.  In this picture, he somehow managed to grab a marker and color his face all in the blink of an eye! 

Notice the clock in the background says that it's almost 5...This is crazy hour at our house! After spending the afternoon playing outside, S realizes that she's hungry.  My sweet, content baby is ready for her bedtime bottle and does not like the chaos and noise that is usually coming out of the kitchen. Barrett is ready for his Daddy to come home! I am too, but we both have to wait another hour. Usually the big boys are tired of being Mom's helpers and decide it's much more fun to have a wrestling match! Somebody gets hurt! Then somebody gets thirsty! Then somebody else spills their milk! Then somebody has a stinky diaper (note the pile of diapers by my back door in the picture below)! All of this usually happens while I am trying to fix supper with Evie strapped to me in her sling and S in her seat frantically signing for "more." And, yes, you read that right! She has learned that one sign, and she uses it all the time! Another mercy!

All that to say - Mealtime is messy! Actually, all the time, it's messy! And that's exactly what I've been learning this week...

A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

A few days ago, I read Charles Spurgeon's description of this passage from Mark 2. I loved Spurgeon's insight about how "faith needs to be full of inventions," but the Holy Spirit didn't stop there. He had another message for me that morning, one that He is daily reminding me: FAITH IS MESSY! And some days and, definitely, some seasons are messier than others!

When the tiling of the roof was cut out, it was sure to have created quite a mess! I can only imagine the dust and debris that cluttered that home as the man was lowered down through the roof. I can picture the scene...a house getting turned upside down! 

I can relate to this on so many levels! The dust, the mess, the cutting through of what seems so important to get to what really matters...

I have loved thinking about this story this week, and I've been so grateful for how the Lord used it to gently remind me of what my perspective needs to be! I must choose to see past the dust so thick on my furniture that my boys can practice their handwriting on it. I must choose to not focus on the mountain of dirty diapers piled high by my back door. I must choose to see past the boxes of china in my bedroom that need to be put away in storage for a season or the dining room that has been turned into a play space or the empty walls that once were covered with pictures and decorative plates. In the middle of what feels like deconstructing my house (in order to keep another little brown-eyed girl from doing it for me), I remember this story...first came the mess, THEN came the miracle! 

The healing of the paralyzed man came in the middle of the mess! As he was lowered through the roof now cut into pieces and into the room now filled with dust and debris, it was only then that his healing happened! 

The Lord knows the healing that needs to happen here in this house! He knows S's heart and mind! He knows all the parts of her little story that we will never know - the abuse and trauma that she must have gone through, the rejection and abandonment she surely must have felt, and the fear and mistrust that forced her to do whatever she could do to survive! The Lord knows it all, and He is the One - the only One - who can do the mending of her wounded and broken heart. And, so, we look to Him! We fix our eyes on Him and not on what a thousand books or therapists may say, but on His ability alone to transform darkness into light, sadness into joy, despair into hope, tears into laughter, and sickness into health! 

I know that it will be messy! It already is! All I have to do is look around my house! I'm laughing to myself now as I take a peek and survey the "damage!" It does feel very much like my house has  been turned upside down these past few weeks, and in many ways, it has. It's quite challenging to "baby-proof" for a 3 foot, 30 pound "baby" and that's exactly what S is on so many levels. And I will be completely honest! It's hard and frustrating! I liked my things the way they were. I liked being able to keep my house clean. I liked being able to have picture frames sitting on side tables. I liked having a dining room rather than a converted playroom. I liked having a china cabinet full of pretty things. I like my bedroom much better when it was not turned into the dumping ground for everything that needs to be boxed up and put away. 

And this is where the cutting away happens for me, and this is where MY messiness is revealed as the Lord uncovers the places in my heart that need His healing touch. I must be willing to see the dust and dirt. More than just see it, I must be willing to live with it, to live in it! I'm quick to clean up the messes. I like to create order. I like to feel like I am in control...

And the cutting continues, one tile at a time! 

And I'm sure others will look and wonder what in the world are we doing, and I'm pretty positive that we will create quite a scene on numerous occasions. But we will keep making messes and cleaning up messes and living in messes and praising him for the mercies that messes can be! All will be well because HE can make us all well!

Seeing the broken places in S's life has revealed broken places in mine and in Will's hearts, our marriage, and in our other children, too! And this is a good thing, a blessing...a mercy! It might not be fun! It might hurt! It might stink like the pile of diapers by my back door, but it is good! It's good because we know the Healer, the Miracle-Worker, the One who can make lame men walk and blind men to see! This is the One we will keep our eyes on! This is the merciful One who can take this mess and turn it into something beautiful! 

In the meantime, we'll keep stepping over the pile of diapers and dirty clothes and ignoring the floors that need to be mopped and furniture that needs to be dusted! We'll wake up tomorrow morning to do it all over again, one messy moment after another. And along the way, we'll choose to remember the mercy of this mess!

...a time to tear apart and a time to sew together...
HE has made everything beautiful in its time...
Ecc. 3:7, 11


1 comment:

  1. Truly beautiful, Melanie. Thank you for sharing...I was blessed to read this.