Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.~1 Thessalonians 5:18 HCSB
For me, it was like nails on a chalkboard to walk into the bathroom and see that tiny tail at the very end of the roll of toilet paper just hanging there.
There were at least a half dozen rolls, mere inches away, under the sink, but the people living in my house were preoccupied with other things. We had had polite chats about being thoughtful to others by replacing the roll, but my repeated lectures had fallen on deaf ears.
Then there were the dirty shirts that would land just outside the laundry basket, shoes strewn on the rug and the backpacks that mysteriously landed in the middle of the entry hall floor. My favorite was the dirty glass that made it all the way to the dishwasher — except the last five inches, of course! Does anyone else feel my pain?
These things bugged the living daylights out of me. They still do to a certain extent, but much less so. I remember a day that I had just cleaned up several messes that I had found around the house. I walked in to the bathroom to find the dreaded empty roll of toilet paper sitting in the holder with another full roll balancing on top. I just about popped my cork when the Lord spoke to my heart and said, “You won’t always have these messes to clean up.”
It’s been ten years. It wasn’t long after that whisper from the Lord that my first husband, Jim, was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He passed away at only 59. Since then, our children have grown up, moved out and taken their messes with them. It’s interesting that they are better at tidying up their homes than they were ours. Imagine that!
There hasn’t been a backpack in the middle of the entry hall floor for years now. The mess makers have left the building. But along with their messes, they took the giggles from upstairs, the goodnight kisses, proud report cards displayed on the fridge and their beautiful, bliss-covered faces as they took a bite out of a warm, chocolate chip cookie. Children are a gift from God.
Children are a gift from the Lord. They are a reward from him.~Psalm 127:3 NLT
The things that were once so irritating are now bittersweet. It wasn’t until they were taken away that I realized how many beautiful blessings went with them.
Kids and spouses make messes, beloved. They do things that get under our skin, give us sleepless nights and add grey hairs to our heads. There is a cost to love, but I think the vast majority of the time it’s a bargain for what we receive in return. Children grow up and leave the nest. Parents and grandparents pass away. So do spouses, and even children, sometimes.
Enjoy your family while you have them. Some day you will look back on the frustrations of today and see them through distinctly different lenses. Time has a way of softening the sharp edges— it puts a filter on our thoughts that allows the sweet cream of our memories to rise to the top. Look for the cream now!
Don’t feel sorry for me. “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job 1:21 God, in His infinite mercy, has blessed me with another wonderful husband. And wouldn’t you just know it? He does the exact same stuff! I took this photograph this morning and I had to laugh. The annoyance of yesterday has been tempered by hard lessons learned from grief. Count it all joy when there are messes in your house, beloved, It means there are mess makers living there!
Dear friend, we all get buried by the cares of life sometimes. Often the best way to pull out of that pit is by shifting our focus away from projects and back to people; turn our focus away from troubles and back to our treasures, and count our blessings.
Set a timer for thirty seconds. Name as many blessings as you can, counting them as you go.
Heavenly Father, give me a revelation about the other side of my situational coins. Help me to focus my attention on the joy and not the irritation—on the blessings, not just the dirty laundry they create. Help me to live in the moment so the busyness of the day does not steal treasures. Help me to appreciate what, and even more, who I have in my life—annoyances and all, because this, too, shall pass. Help me to enjoy them now, lest they pass by and I am left to enjoy them only from the vantage point of the rear view mirror. I ask that with a shift of focus that I might be able to look back on today with a deep and abiding satisfaction instead of regret. Thank You for my imperfect family and for loving them and me in our imperfections. And thank You that even the messes in my life come with gifts from You.
In Jesus name, amen.
Copyright 2019: The End of the Roll: Julie Souza Bradley Lilly. All Rights Reserved.