Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Messy and the Mundane

Recently, I potty trained our 2 and a half year old. I have had a baby in diapers for all but 6 months in 8 years. It is messy and I was very much looking forward to the minimized mess of a bottom wipe and a toilet flush! Simplicity.

I dutifully trained and with in a few short days she seemed to "get it" and was dry and clean a great majority of the day and night! My hard work was paying off, finally! After a week I deemed her officially "Potty Trained."

Then about a month later I smelled something... I looked in the back of the pants and found a mess.
I cleaned it and we moved on. Weird, she is "Potty Trained."

A half hour later I smelled something again and saw another mess... I cleaned it and gritted my teeth a little and we moved on. This went on 15 times that day. I was at the point of thinking there couldn't possibly be anything left in her to make a mess with... but there was. The mess just kept being deposited in big girl pants until the point we reached when there was no more "big girl" pants to put on!  It just kept coming (and no she wasn't sick) it was just deposited in small amounts all day long as to make the biggest possible mess over the course of the day.

Then the next day she was wet... and messy... all... day... long! Then the next. And then the next.

I am a mess in the mess around me.
I try to put on my "big girl pants" every day only to find that I am running out of them, just like I am running out of patience.

Despairing over small inconvenient messes has become the place I have lived in for a few months now.

Messy Seasons

This season is harder than any I feel I've yet been in... not the season of having 5 kids, or the season of having "new" kids, or the season of having little kids. I began to rationalize that maybe this season is harder because of my husband's sickness (Lyme's). Or because we are post summer, and that is always a tad challenging. Or because we have never had this many in school all at once, but then again we have. I have been in ALL those seasons and they weren't this hard.

Praying I said, "Lord, I don't know what I am not seeing. This is SO hard! Why is it? I just want it to be easier so I can be more effective. I want my normal life back. I want to not be so easily frustrated with the messy and mundane around me."

Saying and praying and hearing my own thoughts to God is sometimes all the perspective I need.

I am only able to be more effective through becoming stronger. I become stronger through resistance and training. My training now is in the gym of the Messy and Mundane.

I am the mess.
Not my house.
Not my kids.
Not poopy pants.
I am the mess.

What Spoils Things

I've been reading The Princess and the Goblin by George McDonald to my kids, it is my second reading and their first. It is just good.

In one part it says about Curdie the hero miner boy and his mother...
 "And if Curdie worked hard to get her (his mother) a petticoat (a red flannel one), she worked hard every day to get him comforts which he would have missed much more than she would a new petticoat even in winter. Not that she and Curdie ever thought of how much they worked for each other; that would have spoiled everything."

That is the problem isn't it?

I work hard not just for myself, but for others, but too often I work hard and think, no dwell onhow hard I am working for them... and that spoils everything.

It is the root of all spoiled things; thinking about how much I am working!
I am not working to bless. I am working to be blessed through the work I do and that is the singular problem that ruins it all!

More is said about Curdie's mother,
"Mrs. Peterson was such a nice good mother! All mothers are nice and good more or less, but Mrs. Peterson was nice and good all more and no less. She made and kept a little heaven in that poor cottage on the high hillside - for her husband and son to go home to out of the low and rather dreary earth in which they worked. I doubt if the princess was very much happier even in the arms of her huge great grandmother than Peter and Curdie were in the arms of Mrs. Peterson. True her hands were hard and chapped and large, but it was with work for them."

As I work hard in my home it remains a mess and I work more and that is mundane. I feel hard, chapped and rough on the inside... but unlike Mrs. Peterson I don't make my home a heaven, it remains a dreary place because I am dreary and a mess in my heart.

Our work matters.
How we work matters even more.

"If God doesn't rule your mundane then He doesn't rule you. Because that is where you live." 
~ Paul Tripp

God often doesn't rule my mundane.
I realize that now.

I am so bent on ruling it myself! I wrongly assume God handed me all this mess and mundane and wants me to deal with it on my own, by the grit of my teeth and the pulling up of my boot straps (which have mud caked on them, by the way.)

Recently we've been reading about some of the "great" people in the Bible, people like Abraham and Moses. It is really easy to think from our perspective that the mundane and messy never encroached on their important lives.

Abraham leading his family on endless road trips, trying to keep his nephew out of trouble and waiting each month for a positive sign of pregnancy... mundane and messy to the core. Moses too went on an epic road trip this time with millions of whinny bratty people who undoubtably kept saying "Are we there yet?" or "When can we go home?" Daily, he had to figuring out how to feed them because they were picky and didn't like what was provided for them. He had to keep them out of trouble, he had to clean up the messes they would make over and over and over again and they really stunk at simple obedience. Sounds kind of familiar.

Messy and mundane is what God's people are called to. What differentiates them as His people is who they look to in the midst of the messes. They see beyond the mess and mundane to see the plan they are partakers in.

"If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory." ~Colossians 3:1-4

I can wipe little dirty bottoms all day long and get the job done in a practical sense, but I am learning true submission requires the bending or breaking of one's deepest self to partake in joyful plan unfolding among the messes that surround us.

"Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones that you have broken rejoice." 

~Psalm 51:8~

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