Mess

My husband and I shared one of those deep belly laughs the other evening. 
One of the ones where eyes squint close and cheeks cramp up and your whole face becomes some really ugly open mouth grimace as you desperately try to regain your composure and lasso the hysterics back into flattering giggle range while simultaneously continuing to spiral out of control into mascara-run-massive guffaws. 

 
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He hung through one side of the mini-van wrangling one screaming toddler, and I doubled over through the other side trying to swing the infant carrier into the latch and in-between us one unnamed little one shoved another unnamed little one because they were taking too long to hike over the clogged center aisle and both collapsed to the cheerio strewed floor in their own set of sobs. 
 
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It was just so overwhelmingly such a mess of a day, it was hilarious.
 
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Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t feel so gleeful earlier in the day during our quite heated debate on who held the most tallies for changing the most diapers that day. And there was no laughter to be found in this mother’s heart when a certain unnamed child woke up from an especially short nap with proud handfuls of the contents of their diaper. 
 
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And later on, I may have literally sprinted, one hand pushing my cart and one hand steadying my baby in the sling, to  hide around the corner in the grocery store to avoid the scene I heard unfolding as another unnamed child of mine tipped a full cart of groceries over onto themselves with a crash and shriek that brought the entire store to a silent freeze. I let the hubs deal with that aftermath. Yes, I could share a number of other stories, some tearful, dirty, some disgusting and some that would plain just make you just about as tired as I am at this very moment, but the point is, it was just one of those days.
 
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We all have them. We seem to have a good number of them around here. And, more often than not I find myself in survival mode with an outlook and attitude just like my stories...tearful, dirty, disgusting and tired.
 
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And yet, a wise woman shared a proverb with me recently. It holds a redemptive promise for those of us in the midst of chaos of child-rearing, a tender hope for those of us struggling through the mundane and the mess of the daily.
 
Where there are no oxen, the feeding trough is clean,
but profits come through the strength of the ox.” Proverbs 14:4
 
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Another version words it -
 
Where no oxen are, the crib is clean:
but much increase is by the strength of the ox.
 
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To expound further on this, the Reformation Study Bible reminds us , “...the minor benefit of the unused trough must be weighed against the nothing that is produced when no oxen are working. Expenses must be accepted if anything is to be accomplished.”
 
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I find this analogy incredibly refreshing, rejuvenating. See, I may not have the four-legged creatures this verse references, but I’ve got some seriously powerful animals running wild around here. And, according to this, with our laundry room, the noise level, the floor of our minivan, the number of diapers needing changed, the attitude adjustment sessions held during the day, the messes we find ourselves in the midst of daily, the overall state our "stall" is in...well, I must have an abundance of “rewards” coming my way.
 
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And, if nothing else, at very least, I’ll have a collection of belly-laugh worthy stories someday.

 

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