Motherhood is messy.
My four-year-old, Eli, was recently given some Play-Doh® toysets by a neighbor whose son has outgrown playing with them. She also gave him some brand new Play-Doh® to use with the sets.
I have a love/hate relationship with Play-Doh®.
Play-Doh® is such a great tool for creative play for kids. It’s relatively easy to clean up as long as it is contained to a specific area. It is usually a calming activity perfect for rainy days stuck inside or when Mom has to work and kids need some quiet play time.
I remember spending many hours as a kid creating Play-Doh® statues, imaginary food items, and of course the classic snake. There is one thing about Play-Doh® that has driven me nuts since I was a kid that my son does everytime he plays with it — he mixes the colors!
Instead of emerald green to use for making lettuce molds in the burger maker set, we end up with green, blue, and yellow swirls, which after awhile mixes into a putrid olive color. Forget having nice clean white dough for making snowmen — our white Play-Doh® looks like a unicorn pooped in it.
It’s a mess.
The other day, while sitting at the table playing with our white-unicorn-contaminated dough, my son observed how the colors continued to swirl as he began to shape it. He was in awe of how it started as one color and turned into another.
The color change sparked his imagination and the simple pizza crust he intended to create began to take shape into an egg. An Easter Egg to be exact — one that looked like it had been tie-dyed and swirled on purpose. It was beautiful.
He continued playing and making creations, half-hazardly mixing colors because he liked how they swirled and made new colors. He asked me to help him make bricks for a castle. We began stacking them. He grabbed the putrid olive color that I avoided and said, “this is perfect for the dirt road to the castle!”
As we continued playing I found myself becoming more agitated. Eli was inspired and was mixing colors faster than I could separate them. The Lord began speaking to me, as he often does when I struggle with letting go of control. He began to loosen the binding I had placed over this simple playtime and breathed grace into what I saw as a mess.
“You see chaos. I see creativity. Eli sees art.
You see putrid olive. I see inspired. Eli sees a dirt road.
You see need for control. I see opportunity. Eli sees playtime.
You see a mess. I see loveliness. Eli sees love.
There is loveliness among this mess.”
It still amazes me how often I learn about who God is through my numerous parenting blunders. His grace that teaches, exhorts, and encourages me as a mother is invaluable. Sometimes it is difficult to see the loveliness of motherhood in the mess made, until we see how God meets us in our mess.
Yes, motherhood is messy.
Our kids will make mistakes. They will make some bad decisions. There will be times our kids will defy us and disappoint. They will push every limit in benevolence, patience, and forgiveness.
We will make mistakes. We will make bad decisions. There will be times we will mess up and dissapoint our kids. Our every limit will be pushed beyond our capabilites. We will make a mess of a moment when we ought to have been patient, benevolent and forgiving.
So often we get wrapped up in what things should look like in our parenting. We get frustrated when things go wrong, aren’t perfectly organized, contained, controlled and separated. As a result of this we often miss the loveliness in front of us — God’s unrelenting grace.
Yes, our lives would be easier if there weren’t messes to clean up like mixed Play-Doh® or parenting mistakes. Yet, the messes are where growths happens. Messes are where creativity can flourish. Messes are where the opportunites are found. Messes are where God’s grace is abundant. It’s where loveliness is discovered and cherished.
Motherhood is messy — and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Brianna George is a Speaker, Teacher, and Missionary– as well as a part-time Writer and full-time Encourager. She currently lives in Middle Tennessee with her husband of 12 years, Jason, busy being Mom to two spicy little boys and Bosa the Boxer. You can read more of her writing at http://www.unveiledandrevealed.com.
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