My sweet, generally calm and quiet husband HATES it when things get broken. He sighs and huffs and scolds all of the children. He stomps around, searching for tools in a foul mood
because something is broken. I got news for you, sweetheart, we have 3 boys who basically don’t even have a frontal lobe yet. Shit’s gettin broken. Like erythang.
I’m not criticizing. I’m the same way when the house gets messy. I clean the kitchen. 5 seconds later, someone’s in there getting a snack, makin it rain crumbs and mozzarella cheese like a boss, putting dirty dishes in the sink… I sigh and huff and scold all of the children. I stomp around pointing and listing off their mess-making infractions in a foul mood because things are messy. I got news for you, sweetheart, we have 3 boys who basically don’t even have a frontal lobe yet. Shit’s gettin messy. Like erythang.
The problem here is not the broken thing or the mess. The problem is the way we see the broken thing and the mess. Because Jesus said, “In this world, you will have trouble.” The way I said it is, “Shit’s gettin broken and messy.”
The problem is what I THINK the mess says about me. The problem is what I BELIEVE the children are saying to me by making the mess. Because it FEELS like the mess says, “You are a crappy mom who shouldn’t be allowed to stay home with your kids because you never accomplish anything and you have nothing to show for any of your days because the house is always a disaster.” It FEELS like the kids say, “You are invisible and worthless and we don’t care that you just cleaned that kitchen, I am entitled to throw cheese everywhere because you will just clean it up.”
But the mess is just saying, “I’m a mess.” The kids are saying, “I’m still learning fine motor control, and I hate myself when you sigh and scold and stomp around here because of something I screwed up.”
Because, you see, when something gets messy, my old wounds get split open.
When something gets broken, my husband’s baggage shows up.
The solution, partially, is to clean up the mess and fix the broken thing, but the difficult part of the solution is to tell myself the truth that the mess doesn’t say a thing about who I am. The mess does not give me a measurement of how well I am doing as a person. The other difficult part is to shut my mouth when the mess is made, come alongside the mess-maker, and make it rain grace. Because that might help them to see the mess differently. Because if they grow up to see the mess the same way I do, they will hear the same lies I heard, and their stomping and scolding will deceive their children. They will be telling my grandbabies lies because I taught them to.
So Ima go figure out how to turn cleaning up cheese into a parable of grace-- like Jesus did. He’s way better at this stuff than I am.