It’s time for another Messy Monday post brought to you by the Meyers Family Circus. Over the weekend, I made the fateful decision that all moms soon regret. I let my children finger paint. (dun da daaaahhhh!)
I got out the paints and paper my daughter had just gotten for her birthday, smugly thinking what a cool mom I am. If you think finger painting with one child is messy, you should try it with four. I was hopelessly outnumbered from the start. Within minutes of opening the first bottle of paint, I lost all control. By the time I got all four bottles of paint operational, Chaos reigned supreme and laughed mockingly at my “Cool Mom” status.
One daughter in particular delighted in oozing excessive amounts of paints between her fingers. I didn’t realize how much she was actually using until I notice 2 bottles were already half empty after less than 5 minutes of painting. I don’t think it was the creation of art she enjoyed as much as it was the feeling of globs of paint squishing in her hands.
Then it got worse. She left her seat and dripped it all over the hardwood floor, leaving a trail of artistic splatters in her wake. It was then that I frantically read every paint bottle searching for that beloved word “washable”. My heart sank as it was no where to be found. A rookie mom mistake. How could I be so foolish to buy something that didn’t say “washable” in bold print? It must have been the cute lotion bottle style pumps that snared me. Yep. I should’ve bought the regular squeezy bottle that clearly says “washable”.
[tweetthis]If you look close enough, you can find the beauty in the mess.[/tweetthis]
So it was to be a race against time then. How many spatters of paint could I wipe up before they dried? I launched into cleaning paint as though it were a new Olympic sport and I was going for the gold. (After pausing to snap a quick picture for my blog, of course.) But I was losing. In desperate frustration, I yelled at my daughter, “Stop making messes for just ONE MINUTE! I can’t keep up with you! You are making messes faster than I can clean them!” And just like that, “Cool Mom” evaporated and “Cleaning Fussy Mom” took her place.
When we moved her finished piece of art to the side to dry, it became evident that her painting extended beyond the edges of her paper. The table itself had become her canvas. So absorbed was she in sliding her hands around in the delightful goo, that she was completely unaware of the line where paper turned to table. (I was thankful to at least have the clear plastic sheet protecting our oak table.) The frame of overflow left behind on the table is itself a new piece of “art”. The swirls of blue paint in the lower right corner are worthy of a frame themselves.
[tweetthis]Sometimes art overflows beyond the border of the canvas.[/tweetthis]
“Clean up” proved to be an activity largely based on moving the mess from one place to another. I think we used a whole roll of paper towels. I told my husband, “If I EVER think that finger painting is a good creative activity, please remind me of this moment and talk some sense into me.” He nodded in agreement but said nothing. A wise man knows when a “fix it” or “you should’ve known better” response is unhelpful and undesired.
[tweetthis]Cleaning up involves moving the mess from one place to another.[/tweetthis]
Seeing this whole crazy event as a great post for a blog with “mess” in it’s title helped me have a little better perspective in the midst of messiness. It helped me step back and look at the situation from a new angle. Being intentional about finding beauty in life’s messes changes my whole attitude. By taking pictures and looking back at them in calmer moments, I really can see the beauty in globs of paint that I would have missed if I had only focused on the mess.
What messes are going on in your life right now?
Can you find the beauty hidden there?
What can you do to be deliberate about looking for beauty where there seems to be none?
God is an incredible Artist and He can bring forth the most glorious beauty out of the most defeating and overwhelming messes.
Will you trust Him to do that for you?
[tweetthis]Be deliberate about finding beauty where there seems to be none.[/tweetthis]
In the end, the snaggle-toothed smile on this beautiful face made it all worth it!
I’d love to hear about the beauty you’ve found. Please write me a note in the comments or contact me and share how you have found beauty in your messes.
Elizabeth is a military spouse, veteran, and mother of eight. Above and beyond caring for her family, her mission is to offer words that sustain the weary and equip people to live a life of faith filled with purpose.
Learn more at elizmeyers.com.