I can't read mommy blogs right now.
I know. I know. I am a "mommy blogger." But I'm not doing much of that these days either.
Can I just lay it all out here today?
My life is messy.
My house is a mess. My hair is a mess. My kids are sticky-messy. My car is a mess. My yard is a mess. Relationships are messy. Social media is messy. Parenting is messy. Marriage is messy. Holidays are uber messy.
And I'm not talking about the "beautiful chaos" or "heavenly mess" or "I'm-letting-Him-refine-me-in-the-process" kind of mess.
I'm not talking about the kind of mess that can be neatly wrapped up in a devotional-style thought at the end of 200 words or less.
I'm not talking about "you will look back on these days and [fill in the blank]...
... regret being so impatient."
... regret spending so much time cleaning instead of playing with your family."
... realize these are the best years of your life."
... miss those grubby little fingerprints."
... wish for one more day."
I'm talking about sticky kitchen floors.
I'm talking about kids with dirty fingernails. At church. On a Sunday morning.
I'm talking about lice.
I'm talking about old wounds.
I'm talking about new pain.
I'm talking about losing my cool because I stepped in another unidentifiable puddle in my house.
I'm talking about having absolutely no idea how to raise Godly, passionate, fully-alive children when I'm not doing any of those things well myself.
I'm talking about being mortified when someone unexpectedly shows up at my front door.
I'm talking about life. A messy, messy life.
And these blogs would have me believe that because life is messy, I'm allowing the enemy to "steal my motherhood" (whatever that means). Or, on the other hand, that my mess is "beautiful," that if I set lovely music and soft lighting to most moments of my day, it would actually be beautiful.
But neither of those are true.
Because motherhood is messy.
When my toddler finger-paints with ketchup on her baby brother, I'm not going to take a picture and call it artwork. I'm also not going to beat myself up for disciplining her. It's messy. And dealing with that mess was neither beautiful nor tragic.
And that's life. There are sweet, soft, powerful, beautiful moments. There are also gut-wrenching, crazy, painful moments. The majority of our moments fall somewhere in between those extremes.
But the trap is set when we start thinking in absolutes: Because we yelled at our children, we are ruining their lives, and the Enemy has won. Because our house is a disaster, we are failing as a wife and mother. Because we are fighting our own demons - depression, food, chronic illness, exhaustion, our past - we are weak.
And if those messes are not beautiful, they are evil.
Can we just stop?
Can we stop categorizing motherhood as either beautiful or failing? Can we just say what it is?
And it's okay to be messy.
Or it's not. I don't know. That's why it's messy. There are no clear lines. There are very broad boundaries, and no instruction manuals.
At the risk of wrapping this up in a devotional-style thought, here's the verse I have been clinging, grasping, clawing to hold onto these days:
He's too busy dealing with my mess to categorize anything. He just loves me. And my mess. And my kids' mess. And my house mess. And my relationship mess. And my social media mess. And my holiday mess.
And when those messes are all cleaned up, there will be more messes. Because life is messy. But He isn't scared of the mess. He's in the mess. That's what I know. I just thought you should know too...