May 15, 2012

The Necessary Messy

If you dropped by our place and I wasn't expecting you, you might be impressed by the messes you find!  Perhaps you're new here at Life in the Valley or don't know, but we homeschool.  Friends, that means that my kids are home all the time, which means there's never really a break from life's messes: meals to make and clear up, toys strewn across the floor, little clippings from a cutting project on the table, blanket forts that take up half the family room, school books and manipulatives littering the floor or desk or kitchen counter, or all of the above.

That's life, when we live in our homes, isn't it?  Messy.

Of course, part of training our children is teaching and reminding them (and sometimes reminding them and  then, ... reminding them) that one must pick up the mess he makes.  But as a mom, sometimes I want to wish the messes away. completely. eternally.  Can't my home stay organized and picked up FOREVER?  Pretty please, with a cherry on top?

The abiding reality:


Without the opportunity to explore their world, try things out, build, destroy, invent, cut, paste, draw, paint, climb and fall, there are so many things our children would never have the privilege of discovering.  Without food to nourish them (dishes to wash), clothes to keep them warm (laundry to do), and space made for play (floors and surfaces to tidy), their little brains and bodies would not be able to take advantage of these creative and shaping opportunities.

This morning, as I pondered this blog post, it occurred to me that God works in our lives the same way.  He lets us make messes and He also makes some messes for us.  Usually those places are significant spring boards of growth.

Shall we give thanks today for the messes and let them happen?  Shall we let they boy try, when he wants to pour his own drink or cut a piece of paper into a million little pieces for no apparent reason?  Shall we free the girl to climb a little higher than we'd like so she can see what she is and isn't capable of?

I wonder: what messes in your life have launched you to new levels of ability or maturity or grown your faith?

Praise God for the mess!

Yes, thank you, Lord, for the messes.
Change our hearts, so that even in and with the mess we give you praise.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  Galatians 6:9


  1. That picture makes me happy on many levels. But I'm thankful for this - because yes, I'm a huge mess and it's nice to think that God is letting that mess happen for growth. I never quite thought of it that way.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Cat. May God give you joy in the middle of the messes (in your heart and in your home!)

  2. I love this post and I really needed to hear this! Inhabiting an elementary school is definitely one of the hardest parts of homeschooling for me. But that doesn't even look that bad, there's actually like a WALKWAY to the fort area. I want to play there. :) You are so wise... Seriously when are you going to write a book?


    1. Thanks Lydia! If there's any wisdom, I can only really credit the Spirit. I've been pondering the book idea for someday. What do you think I should write about/call it? I have no clarity on that front! Your turn to drop some wisdom. :)

  3. is that messy, because i call that's all in how you look at it :) and if i were honest, life is messy and i am messy too! praise God for coming in anyways!

    1. I love it, Sarah, both that you called it homey and the visual of God coming in. Beautiful!