Here, a week after Christmas, I am still sitting in the aftermath of Christmas day. The mess after all the pretty boxes have been unwrapped and the 10 bazillion bags of trash have been taken to the dumpster. As I walk into our home school room where I stuck the majority of my children’s crafty sort of gifts in hopes of not tripping over them throughout our house, I notice newly opened art supplies with random small objects, instruction manuals, discarded boxes, a blanket, a box of 3,000 rhinestones, tiny pieces of cut up construction paper, and many other unidentified objects scattered carelessly across the main walking path of my floor. This disaster of a room is our family’s schoolroom/business office/life-room where we do a lot of working, learning, living, creating – and CLEANING! It’s also my daily nemesis that I’m aggravated continuously with because of its perpetual disorder.
As I was evaluating my disordered schoolroom after the explosion of Christmas day, I thought to myself, ”goodness, it’s a disaster in here.” Then failure filled my heart – again – looking around at yet another situation that I could not seem to keep under control. I hesitated while looking around, feeling overwhelmed, and wondered ”God, do you look down on my life and see me like I constantly see this room – an utter mess?” Before my mind had a chance to chase the rabbit trail of self-condemnation for too long, I felt God’s spirit interrupting the thoughts of inadequacy of this Type-A recovering perfectionist. His spirit calmed me as I remembered the truth that He can see me far beyond my mess. He views each mess that I tend to make in my life through the lens of mercy – and potential. He also understands that living inside this flesh is sometimes messy business. I often think of Rahab, a woman living as a prostitute in the wall of Jericho, yet who was also so highly esteemed by God that He chose her to be in the lineage of Jesus. God saw past her mess, past her sin (which was great), and saw her courage and her heart. The Lord saved her from the destruction of Jericho, and she and her family went on to live among the nation of Israel – all because she had a repentant spirit and heart for the God of Israel.
Despite my best intentions to live a right and godly life, many times I unintentionally land myself into messy situations because of my own sinfulness and epic shortcomings, and as unpleasant and uncomfortable as these situations seem, each time I walk through one of them, I grow stronger in hope and gain a deeper understanding of God’s character. Without the messes of life, my faith would wither and grow stagnant, never learning, never challenged, never able to tell others of God’s provision, and never experiencing the mercy of God’s forgiveness.
Many times I feel that I am just a hot mess not knowing how to do this life-thing well, but God can see beyond my mess and see it as part of a process that will (hopefully) one day produce a masterpiece of a well-lived life. Masterpieces don’t begin with beauty but with sloppy brushstrokes of paint scattered on a blank canvas with what appears to the naked eye to have no direction. But with diligence and time, these brushstrokes begin taking form and transform something messy and ugly into something orderly and beautiful.
Our faith-journeys are like God whispering to our hearts, “I see you beyond your mess; I see you as a masterpiece in the making.” As Ecclesiastes 3:11 says so well, “He has made everything beautiful in its time.