March 8, 2004
Encouragement for Today
Picking up the Mess
Van Walton, Certified speaker
The righteous cry and the Lord hears. He delivers them out of all their troubles. Psalm 34:17
I couldn’t return home fast enough after dropping children off at school. The desire to go to my heavenly Father in prayer was so pressing that I practically flew into the house. In no time I was on my knees before the cross begging for help and asking for forgiveness. I knew I had really made a mess of the relationship with my son, a teenager, a great young man, a precious gift that I cherish. Yet, he is not in agreement with his dad and me, or the entire educational system for that matter, as to what his study habits should be or what goals he should be setting and working toward. Relationships and communication are far more important to him than are the many required hours of school work.
As I came before God I felt totally at a loss. Raising children is a daunting task. I have long been committed to being a good mother, but I now felt like a frenzied She Wolf. I was trapped, with no place to turn. It was obvious my son did not want to cooperate and I was frequently finding myself impatient, tired, irritated, and frustrated. All my son could see in me was an unhappy mother. The relationship with my teenager had begun to drift and I felt desperate and so very sad. This is not what I had anticipated when he was a little boy.
“It is all such a mess, Father.” I prayed. “I do not know where to begin. In fact, it is such a mess that it may be too late to fix it.” I was afraid as I thought of the unknown. Then I fell quiet hoping to hear His voice. I wanted Him to provide a list of corrective measures, to clearly write them out for me, like He had done in Daniel’s day with a handwritten message on the palace wall.
Instead God showed me a picture. Actually it was like a movie playing in my mind. I was walking in Ben’s room. It was such a mess that I could not even walk from one side to the other. Papers, books, clothes, sports equipment, dirty socks and shoes were everywhere. When I go into his room after days of neglect I look around in amazement wondering if it could ever be clean again. “If things could ever get picked up…” The thought froze in my heart.
Ben’s room reminded me how messy our relationship had become. A pair of shoes dropped in a rush to shower and run out with friends was like a negative comment carelessly dropped in the middle of an unresolved argument. A stack of books left in the middle of the floor reminded me of a thoughtless statement that had been misunderstood and never completely addressed. Dirty clothes were stacked here and there just like the defensive looks, rolled eyes, and fiery glances that had become the common communication tool between us. Instead of taking the time to delve into the real issues we had taken the easy way out, stepping over and around the conflict. Ben’s room was a mess and so was our relationship. I was at a loss and feeling hopeless.
Then the Lord asked for permission to walk through our lives. He reminded me that I had often and easily walked through my sons’ rooms picking up the messes. Just as it is second nature to a mom, it is God’s nature to walk through the mess of our lives, picking up the pieces and putting everything back in place. Immediately I was at peace. “Yes, Lord. I do not know where to begin – but you do. Will you help me pick up my mess?”
My prayer for today:
Father, God, Teach me how to be a parent like you! You are wise and patient. You parent with a purpose and committed direction. You have a future plan to prosper, not for calamity. I have not been wise. I have allowed emotion and fear to take control. Please forgive me for making such a mess of the life you have given me. I want to clean up this mess but I need Your help. Thank you! Amen.
Identify the “messes” in your life. Make a list of them in your prayer journal and pray about each one.
How did I get into this mess?
How is it affecting my life and the lives of those involved?
Have I tried in vain to fix it, only to find the mess is getting out of control?
What can I do in the future to keep the mess from piling up?
Can I give this situation to God and ask Him to help me correct the problem?
Job 42:1-2 Then Job replied to the Lord: I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. (NIV)
Luke 8:24 His disciples came to Him and woke Him up, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And being aroused, He rebuked the wind and the surging waves, and they stopped, and it became calm. (NAS)
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do lean not on your own understanding. (NAS)
Ephesians 4:25 Therefore laying aside falsehood, speak truth, each one of you, with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.(NAS)
Ephesians 6:4 And, fathers do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (NAS)
At Home with God by Sharon Jaynes
A Woman After God’s Heart by Elizabeth George
P31 Woman Magazine
Originally published Monday, 08 March 2004.