Finding Beauty in a Huge Mess
FINDING BEAUTY IN A HUGE MESS
By Meagan Young
There are these moments in life, you know, the big moments. The ones where you accomplish something you’ve been working toward for years, or the ones where you lose a loved one; moments where you experience such extreme joy or feel such incredible pain and heartache; moments that produce an intense internal emotion that you can’t help but turn to God in gratitude, in need, or in awe of His delicately placed hand in your life.
I’ve had these moments. I’ve felt God’s arms around me, carrying me and succoring me, and I’ve felt the warmth in my soul of His approval of positive, impactful choices that I’ve made.
But there are other moments in life, too – the small ones – the ones that are constantly occurring and often seem to slip by without anybody noticing. I have a lot of these moments.
As a kid I always knew I wanted to be a mom. I never even considered alternate options until I was approaching college and realized I needed to declare a sensible major, and “mothering” wasn’t a choice. I couldn’t wait to spend all day at home with my kids, playing and crafting and picking out outfits, teaching them their alphabet and music notes – you know, living the idyllic mom-hood life. We would run errands all day together, go to the beach, eat at fun restaurants, and picnic at the park – all while smiling at each other and everyone around us. Life was going to be full of fun, and me and my well-dressed kids would love every second of it.
Then I had my first baby girl.
I got to stay home with her, and nap when she napped, but I still so felt sleep deprived. I was so enslaved to a schedule and so out of control of mostly everything. It was hard, but my apartment stayed relatively clean and I got to pick out her cute outfits and take her to get ice cream and somewhat live that fun mom-life I had dreamt about for so long.
Then 19 months later I had my second child.
And three years later a third.
And that whole idyllic mom-hood thing went completely underground. Their outfits turned into diapers and mismatched socks and those smiles that we were all supposed to be flashing at each other turned into tears and screams and literal claw marks down each others backs. Instead of planning park days I was just trying to find 30 seconds to hide in my closet and close the door to take 5 deep breaths before losing my mind. On a regular basis I sneak outside, cry a little bit, feel refreshed, and come back inside to look at the loads of clean (or maybe dirty – how should I know) unfolded laundry that have invaded my house and JUST WON’T LEAVE! And oh, don’t even get me started on our fun family restaurant experiences… Let’s just say if there’s not a play-place at your restaurant, we won’t be dining there.
My life is a mess. LITERALLY. So messy I can’t even describe it, and it really stresses me out. There are so many times when I look around and just see my failures: Did you get in the shower today? Nope. Fail. Laundry folded? Fail. Dishes washed and put away? Fail. Kids ate breakfast? Whoops, another fail. Yelled at your kids? Yes, I did! Oh wait, that’s a fail too.
The weight of these failures piles up on my shoulders and slowly pushes me down until I find myself sitting on my couch, completely stuck there. It all gets so heavy that I simply can’t get up and tackle anything.
“But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)
I can’t seem to help myself, my kids, or the state of my house, and to top it all off there is nobody around to help me. But maybe, just maybe God is there, and maybe a supreme being in all of his greatness and glory would care about something so small and menial as stressed-out-me in my messy house.
Maybe not. But it wouldn’t hurt to try.
As I sit there on my couch completely overwhelmed and out of control, I hold on to that thought of a loving and concerned Father, and push just enough of my failures off my shoulder to find the strength to pray. “Heavenly Father, please just help me keep my patience with my kids. I am lucky to have them and I’m having a hard time seeing it right now.” “Please help my screaming baby fall asleep and be comfortable.” “Please help me to see the good in this situation that seems too much for me to bear.” “Help me find a way to give my child the attention she needs, so that she will feel loved and valued and important like she needs and deserves to be.”
He hears. He answers. He’s there.
These prayers and countless other quick, desperate utterances have been answered time and time again, frequently in ways that I wouldn’t expect. Somehow God has a way of widening my squinted perspective. When I see moments of shortcomings, He helps me see success. When I’m focused on failure, He helps me find improvement. When I feel like I’ve heard nothing but whines and demands, He helps me hear more “I love you’s”. When I’ve felt pushed and prodded and tugged on all day, He helps me notice the hugs and cuddles.
It’s amazing, really.
Being a mother is such a blessing, the biggest of my life. There is so much good for me to enjoy and observe as a mother every day, the question is, do I let myself enjoy it? Because, being a mom? It can really be a tough gig. So many moments of motherhood (most, I would say) go unnoticed and unappreciated. We receive no raises, no promotions, and little praise for our hard work. It’s easy, so very easy, to get lost in the little unobserved moments. It’s easy to forget that God is there, and that He cares about every minute and experience of motherhood. The fact of the matter is though, that He is there. And He does notice. And I need to notice Him.
I think of people that I know and the trials that they face, or I read about major catastrophes in the news and think, “wow, I’ve really got it easy.” And it’s true, I do. So why is easy so hard for me?
I have been reminded more than once, that Christ didn’t suffer for just the “big” hard moments – the ones that leave us crushed and crumbled on the floor – He suffered for all hard moments, the big, the small, and the ones that seem to go unnoticed by anyone. He understands my motherhood frustrations and feelings of inadequacy, and He’s waiting for me to ask for help. Sometimes it’s hard to ask Him for help when you know somebody else needs it more, but one great thing about God is that He can (and will) help all of us, if we can find the strength to ask.
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
I’m grateful for all of the small moments when God has come to my aide. When I ask, He answers. It’s these small, continual, never ceasing moments that strengthen my faith and prepare me for the big ones that are inevitably yet to come. I know they’re out there, and it makes me scared. But I find great comfort in knowing that if I can take the time and make the effort to see God’s hand in my small moments that (in my opinion) may not warrant divine help, I know he’ll be there when I really need Him. We can’t escape hardship, but we can certainly prepare for it.