Let’s be honest. Life is messy. It’s not the clean, organized, carefree, happy place I desperately wish it was. On the outside, I may appear to some to have my ducks in a row. But believe me, if you spend more than a few minutes with me in my home, it won’t take you long to realize that my ducklings are running to and fro, squawking loudly, and leaving a tidal wave of messiness in their wake. Someone once said that raising children is like being pecked to death by a duck. I’ve had my share of days of like that.
As a mom of eight exuberant children, I know about chaos. Believe me, I know. What has taken me longer to learn is how to find true joy and peace in the midst of the daily wiping of bottoms and noses, teaching everything from counting to 10 to Algebra, feeding a family of ten 3 meals a day, scraping mysterious sticky goo off the kitchen floor, conducting search and rescue missions for a lost shoe when we are supposed to be getting in the car, trying in vain to climb to the top of Mount Laundry, and then collapsing exhausted into bed at night, only to get up and do it all again tomorrow.
Oh yes, the rewards are more than worth all the effort. When my toddler says, “Mommy, you my best friend ever!”, or one of my teenagers stops to give me hug in the midst of my stressful moment, or I watch my husband play Wrestlemania and Ticklefest with pack of giggling, screaming children . . . my heart absolutely melts and I wonder if there could be a better life. And what parent can resist stealing one more kiss while observing the peaceful beauty when they are (finally) sleeping! Gazing on their sleepy forms, hearing their quiet breathing, I wonder how I could have ever allowed myself to get so bent out of shape about their childish antics. What’s a little mess and noise when you get to see God’s handiwork of growing a whole person with an eternal soul right before your very eyes?
I’m in the process of learning that joy doesn’t just happen; I have to pursue it. I will not find peace and happiness when my home is spotless, well-decorated, and inviting; the laundry is clean, folded and put away where it belongs; and the kids are all neatly dressed with matching shoes (on the right feet), combed hair, and impeccable manners. (Let’s just face it. That will never happen anyway.) I must grab a hold of joy in the middle of stepping on legos and squishy cheerios while trying to teach, raise, and love a happy bunch of amazing, loud, messy, blessings we call children.[tweetthis]Joy doesn’t just happen. I have to pursue it. [/tweetthis]
I’ve decided to blog about my efforts to find beauty in seemingly ugly places with the thought that perhaps I am not alone. Perhaps there are others out there who have similar struggles . . . others who long to find the beauty hiding right in front of them in their own lives.
If that’s you (and even it’s not), I invite you join me on my journey as I make a deliberate effort to purse joy, because in the end I believe the effort is worth the reward. Please join me as I pursue God in the chaos of life, seek beauty in the broken, and find joy in believing what I cannot see.
What is one small thing you can do to seek and acknowledge beauty in your life today?
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 weary moms and to empower and equip them to live and parent with purpose.