In the Middle of It

This week has been a doozy.

I know I write all the time about my “messy” life, and my “messy” house, and my “messy” marriage, and my “messy” kids, and well, you get it. But this week has taken “messy” to a whole new level.

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Ironically, this is the playroom… Or it was the playroom, anyway.

Like many others this week, we had pipes freeze and burst, and well, the ceiling fell down.  My daughter says that I was expressionless as I watched it fall to the ground.  Like I didn’t even care.  I assured her that I did indeed care, I just wasn’t surprised at all.  Because that is just the kind of week we had.  This was the biggest of MANY things that just went so, so wrong this week. We had a gogurt incident in the van (no, they aren’t “allowed” to eat gogurt in the van.  I don’t care what the box says, it is NOT portable yogurt.) We had a leak under the kitchen sink that was, of course, next to impossible to find parts to fix… I spilled an entire cup of coffee in the van.  My van is smelling like a yogurt latte.  (That’s not a good smell, by the way.)  And there were lots of problems found with the plumbing once they started working on the leak.  These are just a few of the highlights from this week.  There are lots more.  I won’t bore you with the details.

Little stuff, for the most part, right?  Just everyday kind of things that go awry… Relatively speaking, pretty minor stuff. But a hurricane can be relatively minor.  That is the problem with relativity.  Things can be either huge or small depending on what you compare them to.  But the truth of the matter is this:  When a bunch of small stuff goes wrong all at once, it feels pretty huge.  Even if it’s not. Relatively speaking.

I started feeling kind of down in the dumps about it all.  Yes, I was truly thankful that the damage from the pipes bursting wasn’t as bad as it could have been…. But being thankful for that didn’t really make me feel better about the insulation and drywall all over the soaking wet carpet.  Or the smelly van, or the kids who were feeding off of my skyrocketing anxiety level and acting like little psychos.

I was going down.  Fast.

Here is what happened next:  Friends.  Friends started calling, texting, facebooking, asking how they could help.  Could they bring dinner?  Could they bring a shop vac?  Could they bring dehumidifiers?  Could they help with repairs?  Could they have me over for coffee and make me some yummy muffins?  And with every conversation, every ring of the doorbell, every bite of some deliciousness that somebody lovingly prepared for us, I felt my spirits lift.  And I felt a new kind of gratitude… A deeper kind that was not at all affected by the theory of relativity.  I felt grateful to be loved and cared for.  By friends who likely had their own messes to deal with all week, and still took time out to lighten our load.  I felt grateful for a Father who knew exactly what I needed and sent it right to my doorstep.  And I felt JOY return.  Right in the middle of the mess.  This is the theme of my life, folks.  Discovering over and over again that JOY is not to be found on the other side of the mess.  The JOY is right there–in the middle of the mess.

You make known to me the path of life: in your presence there is fullness of JOY.  -Psalm16:11

What mess are you dealing with this week?  Maybe your ceiling isn’t falling down…  Maybe it is a struggling relationship, a financial burden, an illness, or depression… My prayer is that your eyes will be open to how God is caring for you right there in that mess.  And that JOY will return the instant you recognize His presence in that place.

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