Tuesday, March 12, 2013

grace in the mess

This weekend we soldiered on in our Lent challenge. We made it through the master bedroom. We stripped the bed. The linens were washed and the windows thrown open wide to receive fresh air, to drive out the staleness of being cooped up all winter. But we still left so much undone. And that is my own issue, being ever and always nagged by the undone. The perfectionist in me screams silently about the piles in the hallway that are waiting to be dragged away. The girl with the clipboard and the to-do list taps her pencil impatiently while she tells me to put real life on hold. Because real life is messy and we don’t have time to deal with items that weren’t already planned out on that to-do list. She’s a cruel taskmaster and I suspect years of wearing her bun too tight have made her really grumpy. And sometimes I just want to punch that perfectionist girl in the face.

That crabby perfectionist causes to me to overlook all the progress I have made in this home project, and that is where we jump over into real life. Because the undone in my house becomes a metaphor for the undone in my life. 

But today I will accept grace as freely as I want to give it. Today I will be okay with the undone, the unfinished, and remember to look back at all the progress of yesterday. 

Because by the grace of God I’m getting there. It’s one day at a time, one room at a time, sometimes one tiny corner at a time, but it's progress. And when the enemy tries to laugh and accuse me of all the undone I will say loud for all to hear that my worth is not measured by my to do list. My days do not depend on me getting it done, my life is ever and only a testament to God’s great grace. If it weren’t for that I would be always undone, always playing catch up, always living in regret over what hasn’t been accomplished. 

Today I will make a choice to live in the mess and be grateful for right where I am. Because it reminds me of Grace. Grace takes us just as we are and loves us madly just the same.

The storms bring rainbows, kids bring messes, and growing is always about making changes. 

So don’t expect me to ever post a how to on deep cleaning that master bedroom. I’m thinking you already know that anyway. Accept this friendly reminder that there is grace for us in the middle of our messes, the challenge is to accept our messes as a testament that we are making progress. We are alive and growing and changing. And hopefully for the better, while we receive hefty doses of grace all along the way. 

It takes a certain sort of bravery to live in our messes and be able to accept ourselves right where we are. 

Because we are all undone in one way or another. 

Today I rejoice in the progress I have made, in how far I have come. And I’m not talking about my clean bedroom. I look at what God has done for me, where he has pulled me from and how he has changed me through and through. And I rejoice that I am getting there. I know it’s a long journey, but will I remember to be kind to myself along the way because I’ve got the most gentle leader of them all. 

And I gratefully receive his grace that reminds me of how far I've come, because of grace and grace alone. 


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  1. So, so good. And a reminder I most certainly needed today! I'm so glad I hopped over form the EO to visit you today : )

  2. Wow. So so good. I struggle with this a lot...the discomfort with the constant state of things undone. And I'm certainly not a neat freak, but I do need order. If I could figure out a way to live at peace with disorder my life would change. This is a good solid hint at how to begin to try...Thanks. As usual.

    1. I hear ya, I deal with my perfectionist tendencies daily. Some days are harder than others, but little by little, right? God does his work. I'm so glad he does.


  3. "It takes a certain sort of bravery to live in our messes and be able to accept ourselves right where we are." Amen! With the "help" of my children, God has been teaching me to be brave living with messes in the home... and with the help of my Savior, He has caused me to have grace for the messes in my heart.

    1. Yep, my kids help me there all the time! And it's funny how our natural lives parallel our spiritual lives.

  4. Love this, Gina. We would so be bff's if we lived closer. Seriously. I can relate to so much of what you write. Funny enough, I just started reading "Cleaning House:A Mom's 12mo Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement" and there is a group of us moms doing a weekly cleaning "class" and challenge to tackle our messy homes and all of the clutter. It has been so fun to do as a group - but has also left me feeling like a failure to some degree too because I am also a perfectionist that sees all of the clutter and stuff and messy closets as an overwhelming task. Your writing this morning encouraged me to just tackle one thing at a time - and to look at the progress I've made so far. Today I'm choosing to be grateful for the process. For both the messes and the squeaky clean. Thank you for the encouraging words!!

    1. I love that book title, I'll have to check that out. But I hear you about the comparison thing and the undone. My sister in law said recently "we're just living life. And it's messy" I keep remembering that, messy is not bad.

  5. "It takes a certain sort of bravery to live in our messes and be able to accept ourselves right where we are."
    YES. Grace given to the one in the mirror is sometimes the bravest thing of all.
    Love this post.


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