When I’m the Mess that Needs Cleaning Up

I’m ashamed because I know I am a fraud. I have ambition, but no resolve. A willing heart, but weak flesh. And, oh, I hate that weak flesh – that flimsy casing that too often owns me. Erasmus said habit is overcome by habit. Well, I’ve made some sloppy habits over the last year. I have closed my laptop and my Bible and my heart and chosen sleep instead. I have endured playtime and meal time, longing for the next naptime or night time, all the while mourning my waste of that very thing: time. I have wasted the precious and not beheld the majesty of each moment. I have escaped. And in that escape, I have failed to worship. But that’s a lie, because we all worship something. I guess the subject of my worship has been avoidance and comfort.

In the end, I don’t want to waste anything. God never does and I’d like to be like Him. Yes, even this – all of my waste – God can turn into something beautiful even though it seems impossible to me.

I have one and a half drawer novels that haunt me because they aren’t published or fully edited. In short, they bug me. Is it because they haven’t been made beautiful? I want to make so many beautiful things; a tidy house, cute kids, a family image. But I think God wants more than pretty stuff. I think He wants to transform my mess into something beautiful. My house doesn’t have to be beautiful and neither do I, but He is dying for my soul to be gorgeous. But I’m a tired soul – a selfish, comfort-seeking soul who rarely choses God first. So I guess I can show up, but that’s about all I have the strength to do.

Will I still say, Blessed Be Your Name?

Blessed Be Your Name is one of my favorite worship songs. A straight Job rip-off, I feel like it encompasses all of life. There are days when I feel the sun shining down on me and I want to skip through a meadow. This, however, is not one of those days or seasons in life. My husband is slated for back surgery a week from today after over a year of chronic pain. He is unable to lift or carry our one-year-old son, which means I am pulling double-duty as a parent. I am worn out, three-months pregnant and living in a sea of Legos and Eric Carle. My stomach has been a mess and I didn’t think things could get much worse. They did.

I was getting ready for church on Sunday morning. My son was crawling through my legs as I brushed on some blush, but then he disappeared. A few minutes later, I heard a thump. I raced out of my bedroom and saw a mother’s nightmare – an open gate at the top of the stairs, followed by my son rolling down the second half of the steps. I screamed and cursed at my husband, forgetting that I could just as easily have forgotten to close the gate. I swooped his body up and we rushed to the ER.

One bloody nose, a CPS interview and an hour later, we were back at home. All I could do was cry. If I closed my eyes, I saw my son in only his diaper rolling down our carpeted stairs. I thanked God for the carpet and the rug at the bottom, but I couldn’t stop thinking about an alternate outcome. I felt hardened. Angry.

My buddy Lorraine told me that when she is hard, she sings worship songs to soften her heart. It was the last thing I wanted to do, but that night, fearful of closing my eyes, I went into my closet and began to sing. I know that nothing surprises God, but I had to admit that I wouldn’t be jumping for joy if my baby had broken his neck. How can I bless the name of the Lord on the road marked with suffering? And then a wise woman shared with me that blessing the name of the Lord doesn’t mean, “Oh, super, God! Thanks for this loss and that death.” It’s more of an inviting God into the whole mess and acknowledging that He is Lord. Somehow that was an enormous relief for me. I don’t want my husband to be injured, I don’t want him to be paralyzed from back surgery, and I’d prefer my son to survive adolescence! And those things may or may not happen, but God is present. And all I really have.