Last night, my wife and I were sitting across from each other in our living room slouched in our chairs, taking a deep breath and taking in that moment when all the kids were asleep. We had just finished the nightly ritual of putting them to bed when one of our twins, Georgia, let out that “I’m not falling back to sleep on my own” cry that translated to “Nope! You’re not done!”. We looked at each other and without saying anything, knew what the other was thinking. The concern with twins is often not about the one who is crying, it’s about the one who is asleep and will no longer stay asleep if we don’t get in the room quick enough.
After an hour more of holding, rocking, dancing, and feeding, she was finally sleeping and we got her back in her crib (I also tried the dad-strategy of letting her watch game one of the Brewers/Rockies playoff series with me – sacrifices, am I right? Kayla was not amused.). We once again found ourselves on the couch, this time slouched a little further. As if we hadn’t had enough, our next conversation was one that we have at least weekly, and it’s not very productive. It went something like this:
“Our house is a disaster.”
“I feel like we just cleaned.”
“We did. And then it got dirty again.”
“We just need one day. No kids, no work, just cleaning.”
“Can one of us quit our jobs?”
“Let’s both quit our jobs and sell everything. Then we wouldn’t have a house to clean.”
I’d continue, but it’s a lot more of the same. On a related note, I was doing really well with the No Complaint Challenge until that point.
On my drive to work this morning, God brought my mind to a sermon I heard from Steven Furtick a few years back called “How to Love the Mud”. I strongly recommend watching it or listening to it, but to recap, it’s all about recognizing blessings that may be hard to see through the difficulties in life.
The Meaning of the Mud
First, what is the meaning of the mud? The fact that our house is a mess indicates that we’ve been blessed with three beautiful, healthy children… and they make messes. We don’t have it all together and that is okay. There is likely a couple somewhere who has more free time and is sitting in a spotless home –two things Kayla and I are constantly longing for – but is walking through difficult times because they’re not able to have children. Thinking about that changes my perspective and makes me grateful for the mud.
The Mercy in the Mud
Life is messy. I used the example of a messy house, but that is trivial compared to many of the messes we find ourselves in. In John 8, a woman is caught in adultery and the Pharisees want to stone the woman according to the law. But, Jesus instead tells them to cast the first stone if they are without sin. As they all leave one-by-one, Jesus tells the woman to leave her life of sin. Satan tries to constantly remind us of our sins and derail us, but Jesus loves us in the midst of our mud.
There is a Miracle in the mud
There is so much potential in the messiest places of our lives. Where we see mud, God sees a miracle. Pastor Steven articulates this much better than I ever could, so I’ll defer to him on this one:
“What God says to you today is: ‘Here’s what I want you to do: Bring me your dirt, bring me your shortcomings, bring me your regrets, bring me your second-guessing, bring me your doubts, bring me your dirt. I’ll pour my spirit into your dirt and I’ll make some mud and I’ll show you who I am. There is a miracle in this mud.'”
So, today and every day, when life gets tough – love the mud.