Thirteen years ago, my husband and I had a very clear picture of what our family would looks like.
Two kids. Girls, of course, because they are easier. Neater. Calmer. They would be exactly two years apart, and exceptionally well-behaved.
It's almost laughable now that I look at my life.
I have two rowdy, crazy, always-into-dirt/bugs/mud/any sport boys. Think pet praying mantis, lizards, and cicadas. And one wild, ready to breakdown at any moment, girly girl. Think tantrum in a tutu and tiara.
They are a perfect mess. There is nothing neat or calm at my house.
Princess is working through trauma and as parents we are stepping into new territory that we never imagined. We are committed to walking through this with her--because she is worth it--because our family is worth it.
But I'd be lying if there weren't days where I wished my family didn't have to face the mess of trauma. Where I wished all three of my kids knew love since their first breath. There are those days when I don't think I have a single more ounce of love or patience to give. How I'm not sure I can meet anyone's needs--especially Princess' the next day.
And, you know what, I get up the next morning and fumble through it all over again. God drops little gifts every once in a while: Grandparents who understand Princess and sit with her, love her, and are patient with her. Or a friend who unexpectedly calls and invites Princess over and gives me an all day break. These things come at the most unexpected and needy times.
Then there's the church service where we are reminded that we are called to live messy lives.
Jesus didn't walk the face of this Earth with perfect, all-together people. He sought out the messiest, trauma-ridden people. He didn't sit in a beautiful house, with his perfect family, and watch the world go by. No he got in the mess--fully emerged himself in it--in fact he sought it out.
We were created to roll up our sleeves and get muddy. We were created for mess. And if we view our parenting as a holy calling--a calling like no other--then it only makes sense that we are equipped to survive and thrive in the mess of parenting.
Hardly ever do I feel like I'm thriving. But I get holy glimpses of it--like when all three of my kids play together; laughing, talking, working together. Or a little girl who asks for her daddy when she so often rejects him. Or my middle guy, who is only 7, asking to send his toys to orphans because they have nothing and he has everything he needs.
They are fleeting, perfect glimpses of the hard, messy work of parenting.