So what kinds of things am I talking about when I refer to the Spring cleaning that has to take place in our hearts and minds?
I hope you realize that I am not talking here about the many external messes that we need to learn to live with: like piles of laundry that dwarf the washing machine, babies that aren’t shiny clean (still wearing the same onesie from yesterday smeared with spinach from yesterday’s lunch, of course!) or the yoga pants that we’ve lived in for five days (or five months!) I’m not talking about cleaning up beautiful messes that constantly accumulate on every floor of our home and threaten us with a trip to the ER- (literally!)
I’m referring to the beautiful messes we find in our minds, when we compare ourselves to the models on magazine covers (for example) whose bodies have been airbrushed and who sit for hours with makeup artists and beauty experts before they pose for the camera! I am referring to the beautiful messes we invite into our minds when we compare ourselves to other moms who seem to have their act all together on a regular basis and bring in the perfect cupcakes for classroom snack every time! Could I possibly be referring to the times when we think: “Oh God, please tell me that I’m not the only mom whose child has a meltdown on a regular basis in the middle of the grocery store because I’ve said ‘No!’”
Do you see how we can let the beautiful messes become obsessions? Can we admit that we have been there, caught in the comparison trap? Can we be honest and say that we have occasionally thought “everyone else has their act together except me!” You get the picture!
So here is the admission that no one ever wants to make: we want to get it all right, have our act all together, be able to say that our house was clean and all our meals were homemade…Ha! We want to raise our children without worrying, we want to be able to ignore our beautiful messes and concentrate on only the important things…but we will all make our fair share of mistakes and have our fair share of messy messes and really embarrassing moments…because we aren’t perfect. I wasn't, and you won't be either! We sweat the small stuff, we worry about our images; we wonder whether we, and our children, “look good”.
But what really matters? This: what our children are going to be like when they are 25-30 years old. Rosemond stresses that what we need to “worry” about is our child’s character, integrity, morals, and values, our unconditional love towards them, and everyone’s level of empathy and compassion. Those are the things we should value and nurture in our children as we journey through motherhood! We can’t spend our time and energy on the temporary, daily, meaningless frustrations that are so insignificant in the big picture.
So read this twice: “I will never be perfect. I will give myself grace. I understand that my beautiful messes will someday be a distant memory." (And last but not least) : "These days are fleeting and my children will soon be gone.” Do you realize that when they are nine years old, they are already through half the time they will likely live under your roof? Yikes!
We all have our struggles. We sit some days in our beautiful messes and wonder what on earth we are doing? However, have you ever noticed that It is in the midst of the mess that we learn to appreciate the perfect parenting of our Father God? We need to accept His forgiveness for the times we fail and mess up, and in turn, forgive our children.
Let’s all do a little Spring cleaning (and weeding) in our hearts and minds this week! It’ll do us all good. It’ll get rid of the choking weeds of doubt, inadequacy, and comparison. It will promote new growth and let the “son-light” in…and we will be amazed and thrilled with what blooms there instead- with God's help!
Happy Spring everyone! Remember, this is a season of hope and the promise of renewal! As Ephesians 3:20 reads: “All the Glory belong to God whose power is at work in us. By this power, He can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine!” What a blessing!