Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Dirt Packed Grace

It's summer again, the time of scrubbing dirty feet out on the back porch every night and wondering just how many times a day it would take me to sweep to keep my kitchen dirt-free. A toddler scrubbed clean can resemble Pig Pen of The Peanuts fame in about 5 minutes of outside play. For a Mama, the work seems endless. Is endless. Constant dirt and mess and even for those of us who are a little more laid back in the housekeeping and child-rearing department, it's frustrating.

I'm sweeping the kitchen for the umpteenth time that day at 9 pm and my thoughts turn longingly, if only for a moment, to Winter. Clean snow. No dirt. Only for a moment though, before I remember that Winter has more than enough mess for itself. Dirty slush and that enormous pile of snow gear that you struggle kids in and out of every 15 minutes. It is by no means easier. Just different.

That's how discontent works. If allowed to take hold, it fills us with false promises of better - when really all it can offer is different. Different joys, yes, but different struggles as well.

As a mother, it can be all too easy to wish your way right out of where you are, the stages of childhood and even your own joy in motherhood. It's how we are deceived - and tempted - by false claims of ease, of improvement at no personal cost. "If only he was out of diapers." "If only he could read." "If only they could babysit themselves." Discontent fails to see the blessings and triumphs of today and wishes away all of it - not just the tough things. The truth is, life is tough. Life with littles, life with bigs. Life as a single person. Life as a married person. Life.Is.Tough.

When there isn't dirt and dust from summer kids running back and forth, rivers of sticky popsicle drips running down grubby arms, there will be slush and soaking wet snow suits, mismatched mittens and double the laundry load. There is always enough work and worry and trouble for today - but there is also enough for tomorrow. The only tried and true combat for wishing life clean away is taking the time to notice the grace of each and every day. It's there, I promise. Sometimes in tangible ways. Sometimes in hard hallelujahs. But if you look closely enough, you can see it.

When you wake up to baby cooing and smiling at her Daddy. When the birthday boy rides his new bike like a pro the very first time. When 5 kids pour over a fossil book, heads crammed together. When their dirty footprints on your kitchen floor tell the tale of a childhood lived fully and happily. When you get a few moments to knit a few rows, read a few lines, stretch a few muscles. There is something, some thing, each and every day - to be grateful for. Even on the very hardest ones.

Ann Voskamp says "The Hard Things will be for Good. The Good Things will be Forever. The Best Things will be Forthcoming." I believe that. I do.

It's 9 pm and I'm bone tired, sweeping up dirt my kids tracked in. My kids. My beautiful, marvelous, can't believe they're mine Kids. I'd sweep a thousand times a day for the privilege of just that.

It's hard. It's happy. It's beauty and goodness and privilege. It's more than I could ever hope for and more. It's grace, of the dirty variety.

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