Beauty in the Mess

beautiful It took three tries to get the kids out the door this morning. Forgotten IDs, retainer cases and instruments made the Monday morning rush a little more rushed. The migraine I'm nursing didn't help.

This particular Monday has already been a chaotic mess, and it doesn't look to get much better with guitar lessons, homework, soccer practice, hockey practice, deacons meeting and eating dinner in shifts.

After finally dropping the girls off at school, I came home and collapsed in a chair. My thoughts wandered over the morning, and I realized something important. I wouldn't trade this for the world.

Because while this life has its moments of complete frustration and exasperation and I sometimes feel as if it's a complete mess, it's a beautiful mess.

Many of us have this image in our heads of what our lives should look like if we were doing everything right. Our kids would be straight-A, well-adjusted, athletic and artistic kids. Our houses would be spotless. Our dinners would be gourmet meals every night. We would be skinny, funny, perfectly coiffed moms.

But the reality is that no one lives like that. We're all messes in our own ways. Life is messy. There are days when the kids are sick, when dinner is carryout pizza, and when we lose our tempers. There are days when the house has a layer of dust so thick we can draw pictures in it and we're just so thankful that the homework is done that we don't care if it's correct. Heck, there are days when taking a shower is a big accomplishment.

When we take a moment, though, and step back and look, really look, at the life God has given us, we'll find that in the middle of that mess is a beauty so deep and so real that it will bring tears to your eyes. There's shimmering beauty in a mom who takes time out of what she's doing to listen to the soul-deep hurt of her child. There's beauty in the dinner left uncooked because mom was busy holding a fussy infant. There's crazy beauty in the laughter of your teenager and her friends in the basement on what could have been a quiet evening at home.

This crazy life of school, work, sports, arts, and family isn't pretty. It's real people working their way through the real problems that life throws our way. Sometimes we deal with those things with grace and joy, and sometimes we don't. Sometimes we make a mess. Sometimes we have to pick up the pieces. Sometimes we lose sight of the beauty.

Through it all, though, if we really step back and look, we'll see the beauty in this life. We'll see the shared joy, the shared tears, the moments that bind our hearts together into this thing we call family. We'll realize that the laughter and the tears are creating relationships that will stand the tests that are thrown our way. We'll see the bonds between siblings. We'll know the feeling of loving another being unconditionally.

When we step back and look at our messy lives, we'll truly understand what the words of Ecclesiastes 3:11 mean: "He has made everything beautiful in its time."

Can you see the beauty in the mess?