Saturday, April 9, 2011

Blessing the Mess

Recently a friend posted on her blog about the differences between some "showcase" homes and more shall we say "lived-in" homes. = ) Technically my apartment is a showcase home. When potential students visit the seminary our home is one that they tour to get an idea of what the living space is like. I'm happy to say that usually people love the way our home looks. I know it's not because we have a lot of fancy, expensive stuff (my SWAP shop furniture collection is growing, after all!) but more likely it's because I've made it a place that I love. I am not afraid of color--just ask my purple couch. I also lean toward the country side of style which always feels nice and homey. But style won't get you anywhere on showcase housing day if you're house is messy so with three kids and counting, it's a good thing I know how to clean up and FAST.

More than one person has asked me, "Is your house always this neat?" My answer is always a resounding, "NO." Today I thought I'd be brave and offer, as my friend, Michelle, did, some photographic evidence. So here's a shot of my bathtub after the boys had their bath yesterday:

No, we hadn't been to the beach--just the playground! My boys (and Keeleigh, too!) are dirt magnets and I'm okay with that. If it means they aren't wandering off into the street or around the building out of my sight, I'll happily let them dig in the dirt while I connect with fellow moms. That means that we take lots of baths while supper cooks and that if you're barefoot in the hall to the bathroom that evening, you might feel the gritty sand under your toes.

The bathroom certainly isn't the only area that gets messy. I could have photographed Keeleigh's room or the crayon marks on the homeschool table or the cornbread skillet that has been sitting on the stove for a couple of days because I just haven't gotten around to washing it. Am I a naturally messy person? No. If I lived here by myself, this place would be pristine. I might even attempt waxing the floors instead of "sharking" them frantically once a day. But it's not just me--I am blessed with a family. And ever since I took a student wive's class led by Dr. Rhonda Kelly (our seminary president's wife), I remember her words to us on the subject of cleaning up after others in our house: Bless the mess. When your child bumps into you and the cereal bowl on your lap tumbles and milk gets all over you and the (purple) couch, say, "Thank You, Lord, that I have this child to clean up after!" Because many, many couples don't. When you pick up your husband's clothes and towels off the bathroom floor for the one millionth time (I'm assuming some of you do this, not that I would know from personal experience or anything), say, "Thank You, God, for giving me this loving, hard-working man to help care for." Because there are so, so many lonely people and broken homes out there.

No, it's not always easy and it can become quite frustrating but thank God for these little trials every day (second?) when I must choose between getting stressed or blessed. And oddly, the more challenging it becomes to keep things clean, the more children there are running around messing up the perfection I'd like to pretend we live in, the easier I'm finding it to chill out. I know that some day my children will be grown and I will have clean floors for days on end. I won't find random sticky spots and I won't step on tiny, sharp toys. I'll never worry someone will color on the wall and I will always have the laundry caught up. And you know what? I bet I'll miss these days. So for now, I'm going to "bless the mess." The bath toys don't seem to mind so why should I?


  1. Love it!! :) Homes are meant to be lived in not looked at! :) I always tell tour students "If you really want a glimpse of what Seminary apartment living is like, open any closet you please."

  2. Thank you, Tracy for the reminder that we need to "Bless our MESS!"... It is so true! As I sit here on the computer typing I am looking at left over popcorn from last nights movie viewing... it's just sitting there happily as I fret. So instead, I'll just say, "Thank you Lord for precious family times, money to provide popcorn for 6 kids and a floor for it to sit on!"...