"MOMMMMM, are you redy to mix the gredients??"
Pause. Sigh. Cooking with a toddler takes patience, especially when it's with my energetic son and it's a morning where I've yet to finish a cup of coffee. *insert possible meltdown from both of us*
But I look at those big blue eyes beaming their laser sharp glare at me overflowing with excitement to get to work. How can a mother say 'No' or 'Not yet'?? Simple. I can't! We got to work on baking our homemade granola bars .
Later that evening I was pondering the day and still muddling over being loved by God and what it truly means to love. Have I ever been loved by some? Have I reciprocated true love back? It's truly hard to get a handle on what LOVE really is because we all have our own warped perception of it. According to First Corinthians 13:4-7 this is love:
Love is patient and kind.
Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude.
Love does not demand its own way.
Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged.
It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.
Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
If this is the standard, which it is to me, then I have failed on many occasions. I'm just a total mess. Or at least I live in a world filled with 'Messy Love' moments. To me that means that failing isn't an exception, it's the norm. I don't have patience all the time, I raise my voice, I've spanked, I've said unkind things, I've been irritable, I've doubted faith and relationships, etc. All of these shortfalls to those I 'love'? Need I go on? Yup an utter mess! But through love also brings honest repentance, change and forgiveness. It's in those moments of my mess that I can stop, say sorry to my children or husband and seek change. I want to change because I love them. If you truly love someone, you will WANT to change if you've done something to harm. It makes me want to be less so they can be more, if that makes any sense to some of you.
There can be great joy in messes. Some messes are just permanent fixtures that you glance at occasionally, tidy up a bit and keep going through the day with them there. A permanent fixture, if you will. There's comfort in their imperfections as you glance over thoughout the day, like my kitchen floor:
When I look at the mess, I feel love for my kids and their creativity and childlike heart that relishes the moments of simplified playtime. When I look at the mess of baby things over the house I thank God for my precious baby that inhabits those spaces. Some messes are welcomed and are needed. They help to make us a better version of ourselves.
But then there are the not so lovely messes in our lives. You know, the ones that really make you uncomfortable to even talk about let alone look at them. Thoughts of them sometimes bring anxiety or even anger. Broken relationships of warped love . . . that really wasn't love at all but just sinful selfishness meant for one to gain the upperhand over another. Manipulations meant to harm. Control meant to confine. Trust meant to break. Gifts with strings attached. Love never truly given.
Those are the messes that we sweep under the rug or jam in the closet hoping, praying that no one opens the door or lifts up that particular rug. That is the messy love that causes pain. We continue to live while walking over the rug but never again allowing the rug to be fully removed for the dust of our broken heart to scatter.
LOVE. An emotion that can so easily build up but then quickly break someone down. Confusing. Empty. Messy.
That is why I'm working everyday to redefine what love is based on God's view and the love I have for my husband & children. When I see my children's eyes longing, wanting, needing - it is up to me to choose which form of messy love I will unload on them. Will I burden them with hurts of my past? Or will I change the cycle and start anew? Will I love them for their imperfections allowing them independence & autonomy; just tidying up a bit but allowing their own mess to shine through?
We all have a choice and I've made mine!