Tuesday, September 10, 2013

"Life's Messy"

"And it's supposed to be.  We're doing Jesus work, and Jesus' life was messy."

Some might say it was a chance meeting at Target.  I hope she didn't notice I hadn't yet got my makeup on- I had been fighting tears all morning.  She couldn't have known that the boy's inferno had been building in intensity for several weeks and erupted last night.  It was ugly.  It was very messy.

She had no way of knowing that last night Rex and I had sat in a dark, finally quiet living room with two sleeping boys in our laps- asking the same questions we've been asking for years.  What were we thinking? What are we doing?

We aren't equipped for this, we don't have the answers.  We're failing.  And the guilt.  Oh my the guilt.

The guilt because it's.so.messy.  I feel compelled to clean it up.  Pretty it up.  Make it presentable.  To make real life look as happy and carefree as some of the pictures.  The pictures we catch when it's good.  Or, when it's close to good.  I've said it before, if a picture says a 1000 words, there are thousands more it doesn't say.

I want to clean the messy up so the daycare won't falsely accuse my son because most of the time he is guilty.  I want to clean up the messy so he can function at school without a call or note home-again.  I want to clean up the messy so his new Awana leader doesn't greet me with a report of his disrespect. I want to clean up the messy so we can do life with joy. I want to clean up the messy so we can let down our guard and rest.

I look for just the right thing to clean the mess with.  I grab the "why" for his behaviors but to most it just sounds like excuses. People in general don't care why.  It doesn't matter to them that RAD never goes away. 
How long has he been with you now? 
Shouldn't he be over his rough beginning?
Have you tried discipline?
Do you really believe he remembers that stuff, he was so little? 
It's clear with just a bit of discussion that they just want the messy gone too and think I can clean it up with a magic eraser.

Messy is hard.  Messy is exhausting.  Messy is scary.  What if it's messy forever?

And so we do what we know.  We pull out the mops and the brooms and we remind each other as we parent this messy life that we need to step back and remember what we've learned in our failures. Don't get hooked.  Allow his rage at the screaming spot and not in the kitchen.  Don't take him in public more than necessary.  Model Jesus.  Love unconditionally because he is pushing to prove that we won't.
And we fail.
Again.

So we throw up our hands and say to God -we don't know what to do.  And as if He forgot, we remind Him that we're doing what He called us to do and we wonder why it feels like we're doing it alone?

But even Jesus had a messy life too, remember?  He hung out with prostitutes, thieves and liars.  Even His friend denied Him.  He cried and felt anger.  He was tempted and He asked God if there was another way.  Yet He kept loving.  Unconditionally all the way to the cross- knowing He may not be loved back.  

Just before walking in to Target, I had heard "I will praise you in this storm" for the hundredth+ time and I was feeling a little on the edge of sanity.  One of the first times I heard that song was at my friend's funeral.  Usually when I hear this song my mind goes back to the day we buried him.  It was Troy's song.   Today when I heard it- it was different.  It was for me. It wasn't about death, it was about living in the messy-living in the storm. Seven years so far of the messy. 

I was sure by now
God, You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say "Amen", and it's still raining
As the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
"I'm with You"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away
I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
Every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm
I remember when
I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry
You raised me up again
My strength is almost gone
How can I carry on
If I can't find You
As the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
"I'm with You"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away
I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
Every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm
I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth

I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
Every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

She didn't know today when she reminded me that life is messy how much she was encouraging me.  No judgement. Just a hug, a smile and a love-filled reminder that we do it because we're called to be Jesus to these our children and He never promised it wouldn't be messy.  But He did promise that we're not alone in it.  He has never and will never leave my side.

I believe her because she understands messy.  She spends her days being Jesus to others in a messy world. 

So we'll keep taking the mercy and grace that's new every morning- we'll throw our hands up in praise to the One who's riding the storm with us.  And we'll pray that our boys eventually feel safe enough to give up control.

Happy Messy Tuesday y'all!


Lyrics to "I will praise you in this storm" by Casting Crowns.

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