I was running down the evening check list, "Have you finished your homework? Taken a shower? Brushed your teeth? Did you go potty? AR completed? And hey, let's all help pick up the living room!" To which a piggy replied, "but I didn't make the mess in the living room!" I froze. Held my breath, hoping I could hold it long enough to pass out and escape the animal farm for just a split second. I failed, my lung capacity weakened from the 160 weeks of child wearing and bearing, I continued breathing, and said in a very controlled, yet escalating mother voice from the pit, "do. you. want. to. know. (each word punctuated with a dramatic pause) how many messes I clean up everyday that I did not make?!!" My child heard it in my voice, the "don't mess with Mama" moment fell upon her. She filled her arms with toys from the living room and exited stage right.
Oh the messes parents bend their knees to every day, that they did not make; using your thumb nail to scrap the bowl with caked on oatmeal, crawling behind the toilet to lap up the urine of the potty training toddler, changing those darn crib sheets in the middle of the night because baby had a blow out, spending hours spraying, rinsing, and double checking the laundry so that every carrot stain, spaghetti stain, berry stain, and grass stain is removed. Stepping in grape jelly with bare feet, or the darn lego piece that pierced the arch of your foot. Breathing on DVDs in order to help remove all the gummy fingerprints along it's edges. Dry heaving as you wear a face mask and clean out the mini van after someone puked on a road trip-----in a five point harnessed car seat, OF COURSE! Or when you find the soured milk sippy cup in a toy box you forgot existed (for the record, pitch the cup and spare yourself the horror!) Night after night hanging up someone's bath towel that inevitably gets your socks wet, re-straightening the shower curtain, capping the tooth paste, wiping down the sink, and finally turning off the bathroom light. The washing, the folding, the redoing, the picking up, the sorting, the signing, the reviewing, the checking, the cleaning, the making, the cooking, the putting away, the taking out... Lord, have mercy..... it never ends.
The business of cleaning up someone else's messes is a hard, gruesome, humiliating, lonely, gut wrenching, soul searching, every day draining, business.
For ME, He who knew NO messiness became the very definition of messy, so that IN HIM I might have no record of being a mess (Isaiah 53:9, NISV~ The New International Sara Version)
Oh the mess He cleaned up on my behalf! A mess He did not make. A mess that was mine, and mine only to own.
Oh the mess He continues to clean up on my behalf. This messed up follower, He calls daughter.
Those who have no messes are not in need of someone to clean up their messes, but those who are MESSED UP do! I did not come for the those who are without messes, but I came for snot-nosed piglets who are in the pig-pen. (Mark 2:17, NISV)
This is the climax of the gospel, our "terrible awful" has been exposed. Our helpless state of sickness acknowledged, known, and reoccurring. He sees our self induced messes in their entirety, and yet He says, "I'm coming for you. I will run after you and pursue you until you are only mine. I'm will not be detoured, derailed, or denied. My child, you are the apple of My eye! You are the mess I am making new. You are the mess I am refining. You are the mess I cannot do without!"
We are all a mess.
When our hearts truly begin to understand that our messes are the mortar in the brick laying of God's glory, it is only then that we have the ability to enter into other people's brokenness and humbly and graciously say, "I did not make this mess, but I am here to sojourn with you, because I am a mess too. I am here to walk with you and point you to the One whose full time business it is to clean up messes He did not make, because He has cleaned up my mess!"
This is Church, this is the precious Body of the Lamb, this is sweet fellowship people cannot help but be drawn too.
For it was the joy of obeying His Father and captivating our souls, that He endured the past, present, and future Messes (with a capital M) despising the shame. And now, today, He sits at the right hand of the Father. He sits, because "it is finished!" He sits, because the messes for all eternity have already been redeemed. (Hebrews 12:2, NISV)
This was the ultimate act of a parent bending His knee for His children. For YOU. For the broken, for the really, really, messed up!!
Be encouraged my fellow piglets!