July 19, 2010


I am a beautiful mess.

My days look mostly like disorganized bursts of frustration and compassion. I do too much of some things and not nearly enough of the others. I go grocery shopping, only to come home and immediately make a list of five more things I need to get at the store.

Sometimes I feel like my heart is a teenager's bedroom.

Layers upon layers of mess. A mess so devastating that the thought of cleaning it is more overwhelming than the thought of putting the whole house up for sale. I overwhelm myself. All the time. There are ALWAYS so many things I want to change about me, so many things I want to improve upon...

...like cooking. I LOATHE it. It makes me want to break things.

...like patience. If I have any, it's only knee high to a grasshopper.

...like contentment. I've only had a couple of short seasons of it in my life. And that's just ridiculous.

But where does the 'beautiful' part of all this wreckage come in? How can I say that I am a beautiful mess? This mess sure as heck doesn't look very beautiful in the day-to-day. It looks like missed appointments and angry words shot at children who are still just trying to figure it all out. Children who are not adults and should not be expected to act like it.

The beauty of all this oppressive mess gushes in at the very moment that I stop trying to clean it up. At the very moment that I put down my rag and my bottle of 409, it suddenly becomes... redeemable.

I am a mess, it's true. But I was never meant to be my own maid. I can NOT reach the end of the grime. By the time one spot is cleaned, another has built up.

But the very moment that I let go of the stress and anxiety that chases me like a bloodhound, the one that is right on my heels at all times barking, "You'll never be enough!", I become aware that this mess is a megaphone. It is destined to tell of great things.

I am worthless without the grace of God. I am a pile of dirty clothes in the corner. Yet He patiently (oh so patiently!) picks me up, piece by piece, and restores me. He launders me. He hangs me back up in a place of honor and he steam cleans every wrinkle from my form.

I do none of the work. He does it all. I hang limp. The before & after shots... split screened like they do on HGTV... THAT is where the beauty is. Because, if the room had ALWAYS been clean and exquisite, the beauty would be less gut-wrenching! Less real! It would just be... sterile... and somehow beside the point. These hearts of ours long to see transformation, because it speaks to a shared condition. This is why we stay up way too late watching infomercials. We long to be WOWED by the change! We want to see the small things become great! We want to see the weak things trump the strong! We want to see the underdog win!

I am an underdog. Broken, weak, wrinkled, disheveled.

But somehow, right in that disheveledness is my glory. Because I am being transformed... slowly... and my ultimate triumph will not be the result of MY hands, but entirely of God's. The before & after will be stunning, and ALL the credits that roll after the film will be Him.

Him, Him, HIM.


E said...

So true, so well put. We are beautiful messes and just need to embrace our messiness! And ask God to deal with it. We do have a maid service and he's more that awesome.

Mirela said...

Thanks for this Emery. :) Thanks a lot.

Erin said...

Emery, it's so wonderful to know that so many of us are in this together. I go through this ALL. THE. TIME. And I feel alone in it a lot of the time. But the more people open up about this the more I realize that us moms, we're all dealing with this stuff. The feeling of cleaning, disciplining, folding laundry, crying... day in and day out... we're all in this together. Thank God. Thanks for sharing. And it's great to hear it from you and see what you see in this great big "mess". Thank you.

alanna said...

I loved reading this post this morning. Beautiful, and true, and humbling, and freeing. Thanks :-)

zaiahbird said...

you just about summed me up in a nutshell. like i could just cut and paste this on my own blog (if i had one). i love how insightful you are and your amazing ability to put it into such beautiful writing. (PS i HATE cooking too. I'd rather go to the dentist and have my teeth pulled than cook dinner).

Laura said...

this speaks to my heart as well (or rather, God does, through you!).

i am another who hates cooking. and i hate my hate for it. which is just an awful lot of hate. one of the best things i've gotten out of my bible reading lately is that God CARES. he cares about every detail of my life. my mess always feels like a bunch of unimportant crap that God couldn't care less about. but it's just cluttering my focus, keeping my eyes from Him. aahhh.... there is so much to say. you said it well already.

thanks. :)

Liz said...

This is beautiful. Thank you for this very timely post.

Awesome Alicia said...

what a perfect and encouraging post to read before I was getting ready to write my own post about how much of a mess I am. you are so inspiring emery I wouldn't think you'd want to change anything about yourself. I always thought I want to change everything about myself. but knowing there's others in the same boat brings a new light.

this post is so well written and hopeful. thanks. that's all I can think of to say.

Chicago Mom (Heather) said...

Oh man..you wrote so eloquently what is also in my heart. I had a similiar post written but I was too ashamed and chicken to post it.

The only thing I would change is the cooking part. I do enjoy that. :-) Not saying i'm any good at it though!

Molly said...

Beautiful, Beautiful, BEAUTIFUL


Baby in Broad said...

Beautiful post. I'm reminded e of Rumi:
"If you are irritated by every rub,
how will your mirror be polished?"

Rebekah said...

You are such an amazing writer! This post really helped me this week. Thankyou!

anna joy said...

"He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault." eph 5 :)

love your post. reblogged it at prevailzine.tumblr.com!

Terese said...

Hi emery,
so well written, I got so much from your words. fyi the cooking gets easier as the boys grow in size and appetite and everyone eats the same meal together. Love from the antipodes.

Ellie said...

Oh so beautiful! He is so beautiful! and so is this post.

Cali Cakes said...


Anonymous said...

Emery you have an amazing way with words and thanks for posting precious messages as this one.

kristina said...

Wow...this is EXACTLY where I've been for the last month. I get easy overwhelmed already but after having my 2nd child I've been spiraling downhill. God has been speaking to me through things (your post being one) and he is giving me peace and hope. Thanks for sharing this!