I was trying desperately to get out the door. The clean dishes were unloaded from the dishwasher and replaced by the sticky ones from breakfast. Oatmeal that was vehemently clinging to the carpet had been scrubbed clean. I wiped cheerios and spilled milk off a high chair tray and dashed to the bathroom to apply two minutes worth of make-up and throw my hair in a ponytail.

I picked up two little people one by one, wiped down their sticky hands and faces, changed their diapers, and put on their outfits. While searching frantically for a matching pair of shoes, as if on cue, breakfast hit their tiny tummies. I undressed them, changed their diapers, and redressed them. The lost shoe was found in a toy bin. As I packed the diaper bag, I turned to find my oldest curiously digging through a bag of trash. I moved the trash, took her hand, and started loading both of the girls in the car.

I went around to one car seat, click, click, click. And then around to the other, click, click, click. I went back inside, grabbed my purse, and took a final look around the apartment. As hard as I had tried to leave everything clean, it was still messy.

With the apartment now locked up, I got in the car and immediately a voice in the backseat cried for “lovey” which was most certainly left inside.

I looked at the time. Fifteen minutes late.

I glanced at the two sweet faces in the back seat, one who was crying. Should I even try to go where I was headed? Maybe I should just go back inside. It would be naptime before long.

I closed my eyes and leaned my head against the headrest. Why couldn’t I get it together? 

I spent the next few minutes of that morning beating myself up for not being an always on-time and organized kind of mom. Essentially, I was asking myself, why am I not perfect?

I’ve had many mornings like the one I described above and I am sure I will have many more in my future as long as I am alive and breathing.

Even though these kinds of mornings aren’t my favorite, I am learning to embrace them because they are a regular reminder that I am, indeed, far from a “perfect” mother.

What is a perfect mother any way?

As I grow in my understanding of what it means to raise little ones, I have been freed by a simple truth that I heard while taking a counseling class for seminary wives last semester: “God has not called you to be perfect, God has called you to be faithful.” 

In our DIY and Pinterest-perfect culture, sometimes it’s easy to start comparing ourselves or wondering how all those women out there in the blogosphere do all the things they do so beautifully. While these things (whatever it may be: fashion, crafting, home-decorating, etc)  have their place, as soon as we start making them our primary focus, we can get lost very quickly. After all, people only post their best anyway.

As women, we are often hard on ourselves for things that we shouldn’t be: Why can’t I be as crafty as her? Why can’t I decorate my home like she does? I wish I were musically talented like that. If only I could get up as early as she does. How does she keep in such great shape?

But we are soft on areas where we should be tough. We say we are “stressed” or “frazzled” instead of confessing anger or self focus before the Lord. We are lazy and do not work hard to keep our house clean and say, “That’s just not my thing” or “I just didn’t have time,” even though we made time for watching TV or browsing the Internet. We snap at our husbands and then make excuses, “Well, I had a long day.” Or “You have no idea what my day was like.” We gossip and say, “I just needed to vent.”

And the list goes on.

At the end of the day, as hard as it may be to imagine, God doesn’t look at your vacuumed floors or your color coded closet (if someone out there has one of those), he looks at your heart (1 Samuel 16:7).

Were you faithful with the time you had? Were you faithful to confess sin? Love your husband? Love your children?

God doesn’t call you to be perfect, but He does call you to be faithful. He calls you to call sin, sin, and to love Him with all your heart, soul, and strength and love others as yourself (Matthew 22:37-39).

And while you will never do these things perfectly, you have a faithful God who will grow you as you try.

When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay.

When things aren’t the way you want them to be young mother, run to the Faithful One, and find your perfect acceptance in Him.

2 thoughts on “Messy Faith

  1. With 3 children within 4 years, we have had oh so many (many, many, many…) days like that. When in the midst of chaos and Cheerios it’s hard to maintain perspective, but try to remember that for everything there is a season, a time to sow and a time to reap. This is your season of late mornings and sticky fingerprints, spoiled milk spills and middle of the night Lego foot attacks. But it’s just a season. The crying eventually subsides into “big kid words”, the messy fingers begin to wash themselves, and even the diapers eventually end. The mornings get easier. The problems get bigger. Remember that you’ll be able to face hem when the time comes because you’re being prepared for them now with the patience, perspective, and compassion you are learning with each hectic day while they’re little. It’s all baby steps, even for mommies, and you’ll get there.

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