First Friday: The Mess Upstairs

mess upstairs

Life. Is. Messy.

And nothing in its wake escapes this truth.

Relationships. Faith. Circumstance.

All that and more call out for us to wade into that which cannot be packaged into a pretty box or bound together with a neat and tidy bow.

For years, I fought against it. I thought to be a mess meant to be less than in the eyes of Jesus. But just the other day I was reminded how He has grown me from someone who used to see the clutter of life with “There is nothing about this that is good!” glasses into someone who now is increasingly discovering comfort in it.

It happened the day she brought dinner. I opened the door to a sweet little mama, a darling two-year old and another little tiny (a fact that humbles me still.)  As she looked around my first floor, she graciously said, “Your house looks amazing!!!”

Now in years past, I would have said, “Thank you!” and quickly prayed that no one ventured to the nuclear fallout that was currently occupying what once used to be the upstairs. But this time, I laughed hysterically and said, “Please go upstairs or downstairs and be greatly encouraged!”

Somehow, the first floor had made it to the top of the list the day before most likely because we were in grave danger of losing one of the children or creating the next biological weapon in the half-bath (aka the only communal toilet.)

It was survival. Plain and simple. But in no way did I want this incredible lady to think that it was our reality.

And even though she graciously avoided the mess upstairs, I sent her a picture of said mess shortly after she left if only to confirm I’m a truthful gal.

Whoa. Nelly.

What. A. Mess.

But inside our little interchange, I began to see how my upstairs/downstairs contrast so mirrors life and more specifically, a mama’s life.

We constantly feel the weight of showing the world the cleaned-up version of ourselves. And inside we’re praying all the while that they don’t see the mess upstairs.

The broken hearts.  The broken relationships.  The broken bodies.

It’s all just too unlovely.

Or is it?

In my mess upstairs, you will find quiet corners of a broken heart, scattered with memories of my daddy and permanently stained with tears.

In my mess upstairs, you will find a floor littered in mom-fails, covered with impatience, forgotten permission slips and mountains of laundry.

In my mess upstairs, you will find walls that tell stories of a broken body, with some that end in angry tears and others, in hysterical laughter.

But in each corner, on each floor and from each fingerprint marking the wall, my mess upstairs is filled with mercy and grace and such abounding love.

With every tear, comes the quiet and steady hand of a Savior. With every failure, comes mercy in the moment and reconciliation after. And with every trip to the ER and every pill bottle and every diagnosis, comes abundant and steady grace to greet what comes with the knowledge that this mess is purposeful.

Let me say that again, there is such purpose in the mess.

It builds more than it tears. It bends more than it breaks. It salves more than it wounds.

For in the mess, in that place where we are unencumbered by the need to show the cleaned-up version of ourselves, there is room for Jesus. There is room for all He is and is meant to be in our often tattered little lives. And it is not ugly or shameful or burdensome.

It is a breathtaking vessel.

One in which we fade into the loveliness of Jesus. One where our dings and scratches breathe life into others, dinged and scratched. One that is not us but rather Him, through us.

So that when life comes and storms rage, Jesus can fill every corner, touch every floor and cover every wall.  Freeing us from picked-up and perfect. And instead, growing us steadily into that which heaven needs us to be…

Battle-scarred, broken and breathtakingly remade by the mess upstairs.

Sara Cormany guest posts on the first Friday of each month. Sara is mommy to six-year-old Grace, four-year-old Drew, one-year-old Sophie, and her new little miracle Maddie.  When she is not wiping noses, changing diapers or chasing her kids, she is a sometimes writer and a sometimes teacher to teenagers.  But her most cherished role is that of one who is perfectly held by Jesus. She loves watching Him take the broken, the messy and the seemingly mundane of her everyday and turn it into something beautiful. She recently began her own blog called Where Feet May Fail. Be sure to check it out.