Life is messy – with kids it can be really messy. I think God starts us out early with the physical spit up and vomit so that as we approach teenage years and adult children we are pretty much numb to the physical messiness and can just focus on the emotional messiness. Life is messy – it’s been said, “Life is what happens when your making plans,” – I know the phrase all to well “This wasn’t in my plans”. As my husband and I begin to navigate the rolling class 4 waves of the high school teenage years – we are having more and more conversation about what the Bible truly says and explores. We are finding that rarely is there a fairy tale ending (there is a happily ever after- but that comes at a much later time – and one that is not known – the time not the ending). As we read the advice of Solomon and we search the faith of those listed in Hebrews we see that life is messy. I mean Christ’s bloodline came from a man whose daughters got him drunk to become pregnant, and also part of His heritage is from a man who took another man’s wife and then had him killed to cover it up. (This is part of the David –of David and Goliath- bible story that you don’t get in Sunday school) What this shows us is, life is messy and God is Good all the time – He is merciful and forgiving and gracious – am I?
When my children make mistakes I become angry. I am not sure if my anger stems from their mistake or the fact that I might be embarrassed if someone finds out, I am not sure if I am angry because they did something wrong or if they have caused me to question (what I like to believe are) awesome parenting skills. I am working on this anger and I am working on not being so consumed with showing a perfect life to others that I miss the teaching moment – I don’t want to miss the moment of telling my child LIFE IS MESSY, it will rarely go as we plan – but it will ALWAYS go as GOD plans – and we may never in this life understand it but if we trust GOD we can rejoice in it.
I am learning that when I take sole responsibility for my children’s bad judgment it deprives them of the opportunity to learn from their mistakes. I must remember that my job is to train them and when (not if) they make mistakes my job is to reflect the love of Christ in the midst of what they (and I) may view as their darkest moment. What they need to know is I still love them. I think this should not only apply to my children but to those others who are in our Christian family and community. How often have I breathed a sigh of relief when I hear of some tragedy or trouble encountered by a family and thought, “Thank God that’s not me?” I am not really thanking God but congratulating myself that I have done such an amazing job. But really, I am in way over my head and God knows it and it truly is by His grace and mercy that I have the children and life that we do and I am thankful. We should treat others the same way we would want to be treated or the same way we hope we would treat our own family members – with love, with encouragement, with hope that God saves and forgives and so do we. I have seen all too often in the Christian community when someone comes on hard times – when a daughter gets pregnant, when a young son fathers a child, when a child is arrested for any number of crimes – we back away – we distance ourselves, we make excuses or don’t. We hold our breath hoping that next time it’s not us. Or maybe we pat ourselves on the back thinking we are doing such an awesome job. There is no formula- people are people –we are not math equations. We can’t figure each other out – but we can build relationship – no we can’t do that - we can live relationship because that’s what we are -we are human – we have the ability to have relationship – that’s what makes us different from animals and innate objects. How often do we choose to ignore the relationship because it’s just too messy? We don’t want to be reminded of our own messiness, we don’t want to be confronted with our own faults and mistakes. I think it is these denials and the bubble that we attempt to create in tight, nice, clean Christian circles that are driving our “church-raised” children (at a rate of 70%) out to seek something else. When we say to our children or adults “I’m sorry that sin is just too much for you to stay here” ….we are doing the exact opposite of what Christ teaches. We are saying there is not forgiveness for you, there is not grace big enough and worse than that we are saying, “You don’t matter enough for us to love you through this.” That is sad, that is shameful, that is just WRONG. Why do we put ourselves above God, why do we think we are a better judge of character and of person? I am not advocating allowing a sinful, unrepentant person to remain in a situation and continue to sin – but when we show our children that people have what we consider “big enough” sin that they can no longer be allowed in a Christian Community, what kind of adults are we training them to be? Either adults that now live in a constant lying state (because we know what happens when we tell the truth) or those who have been so harmed that they give up – they won’t get it perfect – why bother?
I challenge you to get a little MESSY and be okay with it – get in the trenches with those around you. Mud races are all the rage –why? because getting messy is fun – we loved to jump in mud puddles as kids until someone scolded us not to. Well, I encourage you to go ahead - jump, splash, and roll – Get Messy – Life already is.