Life with toddlers is often messy. I can't walk across a room in my house without a Cheerio sticking to my heel or a crayon snapping beneath my feet. Children are a package deal - with a trail of crumbs and sticky fingers that accompany their adorableness. Yes, I'm constantly in awe of how my girls can take a perfectly tidy room and destroy it into a toyland of smithereens within a lapse of five minutes...or, however long it takes me to step away and prepare their breakfast.
But, the joys of having two kids so close together abound when it comes to activities. Because they are only 20 months apart, I don't really have to worry about entertaining them each at their own level (slightly, at times, but not significantly) as they can share in the same craft or game or story time.
The other day, I (amidst the chaos) decided we would make muffins...as a team...as a project...together. This seemed like a simple enough idea in the moment because (against the purist foodie that I am in my heart) I had recently purchased some easy "just add milk" muffin mixes. Simple enough: bowl, mix, milk, stir, bake, and voila! Muffins!
I think it was by the third lick of the whisk that I realized my girls were going to be devouring these muffins all by themselves. Batter was flinging about, and their JOY in the creation of it wasn't just due to their participation - but in the sheer mess of it!
I stepped back. Hands off. And I soaked up the image of their smiling faces, four little feet planted side-by-side on a chair, two swirling whisks splattering batter about, and I calmly stepped back into the scene and tried to reign in their fun towards a productive action.
You know what I mean - we all want to be fun and effective parents! It's hard to walk the line of patient and frustrated. I don't want to squash their little spirits - but, I don't want to be scrubbing muffin mix out of the cracks in my kitchen for years to come either!
The truth of the matter is, in order for them to learn and have fun...it's just going to be messy.
This is one of those moments where I get a glimpse of how, as a parent-to-a-child, God must view me at times. He loves me, He wants me to learn and grow and desire Him more, and He wants nothing but blessings and goodness for my life...and here I am, flinging my mess all over the place, stirring up all kinds of trouble in the name of self-interest. It's not all bad, but too often I can make things much harder on myself (much messier!) when I try to do it my way.
It's true that life is gonna get messy no matter what. Only Jesus lived a perfect life and even HE didn't have it mess-free! (Far from it!)
What mess are you in the middle of right now? Can you laugh about it? Can you get help with it? Can you hang on just a little longer?
Because often, if I can just embrace the mess and keep my eye on what's to come...well, it just might lead to a delicious ending.