for the last several years as i’ve been on my journey to intentionally find more joy in my life, specifically in motherhood, there is one practice i’ve discovered that allows me more opportunities to feeling the most peace and joy every day.
that practice is to:
find the message in the mess.
let’s be honest here, motherhood is messy.
if anyone tells you otherwise, that motherhood is the easiest, all fun and games, walk in the park kind of gig… they’re probably the father!
during those times i’m knee-deep in the trenches of raising tiny humans and i feel myself starting to drown, like my family can’t catch a break and that there’s no end in sight, i’ve learned to respond instead of react and find the message in the mess.
i’ve got a quick tongue and i usually snap at my kids when the house is too messy, there is too much arguing or i’m just feeling completely overwhelmed and out of sorts.
i’ve had to practice, and am still finding moments often to practice, to take several deep breaths for 30 seconds, before i open my mouth at all.
maybe for you that few moment of silence is taking a deep breath, walking away, or closing your eyes before you react. this 30, 60 or even 90 second practice, allows your mind and all the hormones to return to their normal, rational levels of functionality.
this pause to reflect, allows you to see the message in the mess.
maybe the mess is a messy house.
maybe the message is your kids need you to play with them a little longer today.
maybe the mess is a child struggling at school.
maybe the message is patience and grace.
maybe the mess is soccer, ballet, pto, cub scouts, and dinner with friends.
maybe the message is to slow down.
maybe the mess is having to be out of your home in 23 days and not having a place to go.
maybe the message is to have faith and trust in the lord.
sometimes a mess is completely out of our control. a childhood illness, struggles for work or relationship hardships with your spouse or individual children.
these messes usually are much harder to find the message in, but i promise you, there is one.
i’ve always questioned the phrase “everything happens for a reason”
though i’m prone to use it when the outcome looks bright or the trial is somewhat fleeting, during those really hard moments, loss of a loved one, house flooding, constantly sick children; i’ve struggled to believe that they were “happening for a reason”
i never could quiet wrap my head around the idea that a person lost a child “for a reason” or a family went without food “for a reason” or a family experienced any sort of difficult and heavy trial to “for a reason”.
these are perfect examples of times when the proper phrase should be; “whats the message in this mess?”
when my brother passed away, i had to search tirelessly for the message that strengthened my understanding of life after death, eternal families and the knowledge that i would see him again.
when my house flooded, i slowly began to see the message that i needed to learn more patience, trust and humility. the process was all being handled through insurance (thank goodness for insurance) and i had to wait and trust the contractors to individually and one at time, to do their parts for it to all be fixed properly. i also had to learn humility as friends and neighbors offered to serve my family with meals and play dates.
as my children have continued to fight numerous sicknesses over the course of several years, constant upper respiratory infections, reactions to immunizations and a sensory processing struggle, i have had to come to know that as a mother, i know what’s best for my children and with the proper information and advice, i can make the best choices to improve my children’s health.
everything may not happen for reason, but there is always a message, always something to be learned or discovered, and most often right in the messiest parts of our lives.
also remember, messes aren’t punishments. because each and every person on earth has been blessed with free agency, we sometimes experience hardships as a result of our own choice or someone else choice. be mindful that the lord has allowed us the earthly experience to repent, forgive and grow from some of the harder messes we find ourselves in.
i challenge you, someone seeking more joy or peace in your family life, to be more mindful about the messes you face.
when you can; don’t ask why, ask what.
what is the message in this mess?
begin to acknowledge that things aren’t happening to you, but that they’re happening for you. know that in all the messes, the fleeting small ones and the drowning head under water, at times unbearably big ones, you will find peace. you will be able to cultivate the power that only mothers have to feel more joy and have greater strengthen to support and rise up your family in these latter days.