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Finding Grace Amidst the Mess

Finding Grace Amidst the Mess


Somewhere at the beginning of this day there was a plan. Honest. No one told me there would be days like this as I sat in my French literature class at the university. No one prepared me for this part of homemaking.

I meant to help my five-year-old son clean his room. He needed a mirror. We would “simply” trade his dresser (no mirror) for his sister’s (she has three mirrors in her room). A reasonable plan. Frugal. We had what we needed; we just needed to reorganize. Just.
But a child’s dresser drawers hold a lot more than clothes. We pause. Sort. Organize.
The dust bunnies beneath both dressers give up barrettes, paper clips, the missing wheel from a favorite toy car—and a dead fish. Again, we pause. More sorting. More organizing. And a fish funeral.

NOW we can trade dressers. As soon as we find a table for the aquarium that used to reside atop the boy’s dresser. After all, if he can’t see himself in his new dresser mirror, the entire move was pointless.

We find a sturdy table in the basement—laden with scraps of wood, a box of tools, and a stereo speaker awaiting repair. Leaving everything to be put away later, I clean the table and tote it up two flights of stairs. It’s too high and too unstable for the aquarium. Not to worry. I’ll use the table supporting the old-fashioned window fan. But then what do I use for the window fan? Oh, yeah … that table in the dining room. I’ll find a new abode for the plant.
The former plant table takes on the window fan … but not before I haul the fan to the tub for a thorough cleaning. I’ll scour the tub later.

Ta dah. We set up the clean fan. As I move the aquarium, I slosh water onto the carpet. Oh, well, the bath towels need washing anyway. I’ll just blot up the water and launder the towels later.

Finally! Zach’s room looks great. New dresser with mirror in place, toys put away, bed made.
My elation lasts about ten seconds.

Zach’s sister’s room is now a mess, her new dresser awaiting organization. The upstairs hall is a maze of fish-smelling towels, a box of miscellany waiting to be sorted, the vacuum cleaner, the table from the basement I didn’t end up using, etc. The tub is a greasy mess from cleaning the fan. My husband is due home from work in 10 minutes, and I’m exhausted.
I survey the disaster. Somewhere in here there’s a lesson, Lord. Help me find it.

He does. First, with laughter. I sit in the midst of the mess and laugh. And then I look around me, and God gives me new eyes.

  • A hard day’s work that barely shows … but three healthy children who helped haul and sort.
  • A husband due home in ten minutes to a hall he can hardly navigate … but a faithful, godly man who comes home. Every day, without fail. A man who does a job he doesn’t really like all that much … because of the holy calling of being a godly husband and father.
  • We have a home. Beds. Food. Clothing. Each other.

Whatever you are facing today, may God give you grace to reach past the attack dust bunnies and the dead fish and to share a good laugh with the One who is “mindful that we are but dust.”

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Stephanie Whitson (3 Posts)

Best-selling, award-winning novelist Stephanie Grace Whitson wrote her first historical fiction in the 1990s while home schooling her four children and learning the true stories of the pioneer women of the West. She celebrated her 20th year as a published novelist in 2014. In addition to writing, she enjoys giving programs on a variety of historical and inspirational topics for civic organizations and church groups, quilting, learning about the women of the past, and riding her motorcycle named Kitty. Learn more at www.stephaniewhitson.com .


  1. Jackie McNutt says:

    Wonderful article ! I always am amazed how much “mess ” I can create by cleaning !!
    Thank you for the reminder to be grateful for all the messes in my life but especially for the grace to find the joy

  2. Bless you, Jackie and thanks for letting me know that you enjoyed the article. I realized this morning that I probably wrote it because I needed the reminder LOL. Glad I’m not alone!

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