Messes Can’t Steal My Joy…Unless I Let Them

Her eyes glistened slightly as her shoulders tightened. She sighed and blurted out, “Mom, I left my water bottle in my backpack and now there is a big mess.”

My heart sank. I envisioned a huge puddle of water in the closet ruining the dark maple stained hardwood floor. “What do you mean big?” I asked attempting to keep the edge out of my voice as I ran to grab towels to sop up the water.

“It’s big mom. OK?” her frustration rang in her voice.

“Where is the mess?”

“There,” she pointed to a damp spot on the dark floor.

Relief flooded my heart, “It wasn’t that bad.”

“But my backpack is wet.”

“It is? Where?”

She handed me the backpack and it was damp. I began to empty the backpack as my heart rate increased. Oh God please say her school books are not wet.

“Go get another backpack or bag. You can’t use this one,” I nodded at the wet one as I removed a wet jacket, a booklet with what appeared to be tie-dyed marker splotches where words and drawings once were. I finally reached her school agenda, only slightly damp, and her reading books. The books were dry. Thank You Jesus!

And still there was a lesson learned. Our book Pete the Cat is wet through – most likely ruined.

“Mommy don’t throw that away,” she said tears pricking her eyes as she pointed to her booklet. “You haven’t seen it yet.”

“I’ll try to save it, but I don’t know if I can.”

And the mess could steal my joy. I could have yelled and screamed about the mess and that she was lucky she didn’t ruin her school books. I could have stormed and pouted. I don’t get me wrong I wasn’t perfect…

But I realized I do it too.

God tells me I need to do something and I forget or get lazy or just don’t.

I make a mess. It may not be an obvious one, but I do. And there are consequences to my mess.

Some things get ruined. Other things will be marked forever with water stains.

And I am responsible.

But here is the truth. God is able to redeem our broken, water stained messes and make them beautiful.

And so a mess can’t steal my joy. It may make me penitent. I may need to ask for forgiveness.

Oh but there is joy in the redemption and beauty in the mess. And maybe I chuckled a bit when it was all over as I imagined the scene…The irony of what I thought was important and what she thought was important. How God protected the school books. How we all have to learn hard lessons, but God brings beauty in and from them.

Yes there is joy. And I pray I never let messes steal my joy again.

What do you do to keep messes from stealing your joy?