Originally published Sunday, 25 September 2022.
One of my biggest surprises when it comes to parenting is how nonlinear it is. I always imagined that once I taught my child something, we could just move on to the next thing. Once she learned the alphabet song, she would always know it and we could build on that. It’s been much messier than that. She might know the alphabet song for a time and then months later “Q R S” have mysteriously disappeared and been left out entirely. Not to say that my children never retain anything, but it requires so much more relearning and repetition than I expected.
Predictably, I also expected my walk with Jesus would be more linear. Instead, I find that the more I know Jesus, the more I realize what a mess I am and how short I fall. Those lessons in humility I hoped I had learned in my early 20s? I find I’m learning them all over again. I’m so thankful that I am in a relationship with a God who acts as a loving Father—loves me just as I am, and meets me right where I am.
“But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” Romans 5:8 (NLT)
It was one thing to try and live a life honoring to God when I was single, with no kids, and very few financial responsibilities. Now, the stuff of life—financial strain, three small children, exhaustion, surgery recoveries, job shifts, and changes in friends/community— chips away at my fragile veneer and reveals my own selfishness and controlling tendencies. When some of these props are taken away or changed, I find that I’m often just a hot mess. But in this mess is exactly where God is working.
“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Philippians 1:6
God won’t give up on me. And he’s not expecting me to have it all together. In fact, He is most glorified when I admit what a mess I am. Each time he says, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.”(2 Corinthians 12:9)
So I bring him the untidiness, shambles, and mishmash that linger within me and ask, “Teach me again, Lord Jesus.”
Sarah Clews is a wife, mother of two little girls, and prolific reader. She received her BS from Corban University in English and still loves writing. She helps her husband run their martial arts school, and in her free time, enjoys sewing, experimenting with makeup, and reading blogs.