Heather worked efficiently among the church ladies, giving directions about what to put where.
Cleaning out and organizing her mom’s house was a daunting task, but the church ladies were there, as church ladies often are, to help with what needed to be done.
She was dealing with years of neglect as well as a disorder where buying more things will somehow fill the void where a husband and grown children used be.
Things were moving along slowly, but we were making progress. Suddenly, we heard sniffles and looked over to see Heather weeping. This strong and determined young mother was completely undone.
“I don’t want to do this, she wailed.
This is NOT MY MESS!
But…she’s my mother!”
We rushed over and offered our hugs and love and encouragement.
Obviously, the situation is difficult on many levels. Watching Heather’s daughter-struggle between complete frustration at her mom for letting things get to this state and, in the next moment, fierce protection and desire for her well-being tugged at my heart.
Can’t we all relate in our own crazy families?
Like being furious at my teenage son for not turning in a big project that seriously impacted his grade, yet loving him to the very core of my being.
Sometimes being in community means that we have to help clean up messes that we didn’t create.
I couldn’t help but think about the last week of Jesus’ life. That night in the garden, the night before his death, he asked his friends for a simple thing: please stay with me while I pray.
And these men, his homeys, his buds, his peeps – in their flawed humanness, they couldn’t stay awake with him.
So he prayed alone in that garden, knowing what the next twenty-four hours would hold.
Our Savior said,
“Father, I don’t want to do this!
This is NOT MY MESS!
But they are my children.
If there is any other way…
But Your will be done."
What gift of grace that Heather didn’t say to her mom, “You made this mess, now you’re on your own to clean it up!”
And what a gift of Grace that Jesus knew we couldn’t clean up our mess, either. So He took care of it for us. And He continues to be with us, even in the midst of our ugly days, honoring the promise that He will never leave us, no matter how big our mess is.
Luke 22:4242 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”
5 No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.
· Is there an area of your life that feels like a mess right now? What would it take for you to surrender it to Jesus?
· Have you even had to spend time and energy cleaning up a mess that you didn’t create or deserve to clean up? How did it make you feel? What were you able to learn from the experience?
· Have others ever had to clean up your mess? How did you handle it? How did they?
· If you could talk to Heather, what encouragement could you offer?