Thursday, November 05, 2009

My Messy, Stinky Life

I learned quickly when I became a mom, that life is pretty messy. I just cannot believe that the messiness continues to get worse compounded by stinkiness.

I got twenty large pumpkins for girls scouts. I loaded them in the back of my van. You shouldn’t do that when you are wearing a white coat. Because if it’s been a wet fall, they will be wet and muddy on the bottom. Pumpkins 014

I left them in the van over night and those wet bottoms rotted. Now my whole van smells like rotten pumpkin.

Pumpkins 015

We painted them with 20 girl scouts. They turned out cute but do you know how messy it is to get this result?

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Then we carved pumpkins at our house. Knives, pumpkin guts, markers and five kids.

Pumpkins 003 Pumpkins 008 Pumpkins 011

The manure spreader is out. It makes the rotten pumpkins smell really good.

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We’ve cleaned up puke and other body fluids a lot this month.

I can’t keep up on the laundry and kitchen to save my life. Laundry is kind of the crown jewel of stink. I can’t find the picture I took which is probably for the best.

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The kids are working on school projects. They need pictures and information. They inform me at 7:35 a.m. as they are getting ready to head out to the bus. I realize how unorganized my pictures and storage room is. In fact, I can hardly open the door to that dreaded room.

I can’t help but wonder sometimes if it’s worth it. I wonder if I will go crazy. I wonder if I will ever walk across the floor and not be grossed out by the stuff that sticks to my feet or trip over toys.

In the process of motherhood I keep getting bogged down and discouraged in the details: the messes, the laundry, the sickness, the stinkiness. It doesn’t take long to start wondering what the point is. Why am I doing this?

In the book I’m reading on Paul by Charles Swindoll there are lots of hardships in Paul’s life on his first missionary journey: opposition, sickness, a colleague leaves, difficult travelling. I’m guessing that maybe had Paul only been looking at the details and daily pressures he might have decided to throw in the towel too. But He doesn’t quit. Because he has a sense of mission, the big picture. He knows that the trials and sufferings are nothing compared to Christ’s work.

Here is part of what Paul writes to the Philippians.

“But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.”

Philippians 3:7-11

Swindoll writes, “My challenge to you is to live a carefully examined life in an unexamining age. That will result in your maintaining a carefully examined ministry in a day when virtually anything goes. Whatever happens, keep your eyes on the goal. However difficult, don’t quit. Though the obstacles are extreme, the stakes are eternal.” Paul A Man of Grit and Grace, Charles Swindoll, page 165

Can the same be true for a mom? If I lose sight of the God-given ministry I have to raise, train and nurture my kids for His glory then the details will overwhelm me. I can easily lose sight of living my own life for His glory.

The other morning as I was digging through pictures for projects, I saw the kids in Halloween costumes from years ago, little preschool toy story characters and baby flowers. I saw my now grown nephew as a little boy. I saw my brother-in-law in his navy uniform holding Grant and Jenna 8 years ago when they were two and six months old. And I got all nostalgic.

There’s more to this than dirty clothes and floors. I need to look for His plan and His glory in my situation and mothering. The stakes are eternal. Not only in my kids lives, but in mine.

Acts 20:22-24

And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.


Joanna said...

Oh thank goodness that my stove isn't the only one that grows dirty pots and pans. I thought it was just us.

The Bergman Family said...

"Whatever happens, keep your eyes on the goal. However difficult, don’t quit. Though the obstacles are extreme, the stakes are eternal.” Thanks, Michelle~ I needed that. I'll probably need it tomorrow, too. And the next day... and the next day... and the next....

Peter and Nancy said...

Some days, I'd like to be able to see my kitchen counters for more than 4 consecutive hours . . . but then the kids come home with backpacks, homework and lunchboxes and they disappear again! I have to remind myself that there are more important things than a spotless house (but it doesn't feel that way when someone else drops in unexpectedly!!).
-- Nancy

Amy D. said...

Thanks for the encouragement! We're all in the same boat, the same chaos with kids and laundry and dirty dishes. And our lives, and our purpose, is much more than all these little details. Thanks for the reminder to keep my eye on the larger goal.