There are days when things don't go like you've planned. And then there are days when you feel like the star of a reality show where the producers just keep throwing things in your path to see how you'll react.
We had one of those days last weekend. I had taken my older daughter on a college visit that included a "tryout camp" for the soccer team. An hour and a half in, she fell, hit her head and ended up with a concussion. Despite the coaches telling her they would be sure to come look at her in the fall, she was crushed.
Just that disappointment would have been enough for my parenting skills, but the day just went downhill from there. We had car trouble and got stuck in Perry, Oklahoma, which is pretty much a wide spot in the road. On the way to come help us, my husband got stuck in stopped traffic, which added an hour and a half to an already three hour drive to reach us.
As we tried to nurse the ailing car home, Kansas thunderstorms decided to rear their ugly heads, and the sunroof on the already broken car was stuck open. It was a constant barrage of unfortunate occurrences. We finally decided to spend the night just north of Wichita and try again in the morning.
In the midst of all the clouds, though, there were patches of sunlight. Perry, Oklahoma, was large enough to have a motel (not five-star accommodations, but they gave us a room with a decently clean bed for my daughter to lie down on while we waited for my husband).
When my husband got stuck in traffic, another friend whose daughter had been at the same camp picked my daughter up on her way home, which got her home and in her own bed to heal.
When we needed an allen wrench to get the sunroof closed, the convenience store clerk let us borrow his.
While the weekend was one major disappointment and frustration after another, it was a great opportunity to find the blessings in the mess. It was an everyday moment that became a teaching tool for my girls. No matter how big the mess, God is there. And there are blessings to be found.
Don't get me wrong. My car is still broken. My daughter still had a concussion. I shed more than a few tears of frustration. But there were signs all day long that God had not forgotten us, that He was right there in the mess with us.
And that's a valuable lesson, no matter how old you are or what kind of mess you're struggling with today. God is there in the middle of it. And He's offering you blessings if you choose to see them.
Messes are a part of life. Broken cars, injuries, illnesses, money problems, broken families. In this broken world, all of those and more exist, and we can get so caught up in the mess that we miss the blessing.
No matter what the mess is that you're dealing with today, remember these two things: God is there, and He wants to bless you in the midst of the mess.