Every single time I write for Thrive Moms, I feel like I should preface my posts with #preachingtomyself. I love that we focus on genuine community, and intentional motherhood and refreshing rest, but not because I'm an expert. I love writing about those things because it forces me to think about those things, and pray about those things, and try harder to prioritize those things.
I struggle with each one to a certain degree....and so I sit in front of my blank laptop screen and pray for the words to come....and then I pray that those words would be encouraging, and real, and wise. And very very often, whatever angle, or story I originally thought I'd share gets pushed out in favor of something completely that gets put on my heart. So I roll with it, and hope that if that's what I needed to write, that there's someone out there who needed to read it. Even if that someone is also just me.
So, as I sit down now to write about embracing chaos, it would be so easy for me to write some stuff about the beautiful mess that comes with being a mama of little ones. After all, I was a member of the "Two Under Two" club for a little while, and though my two are slightly older now, I could still give you endless examples of chaos in our life...even just from today. And the truth is- the chaos doesn't bother me all that much. I'm fine with a messy house (most of the time). I don't mind the noise (usually). I ignore (most of) the drama. But the fact is- I'm not sure if that's embracing chaos, or just giving into it. Tons of people have tips and tricks on how to corral the chaos, or escape it, or just plain live through it...but embrace it? What?
To embrace chaos means to lean into it, practicing the belief that it actually makes you better. It's the idea that the chaos of motherhood is not something to be mitigated, tolerated, or merely survived. It's recognizing the need to grasp onto this wild season, for it is something to be grateful for. God has provided us with challenges to strengthen our faith and lead us to Him, and chaos is one of His tools, driving us towards righteousness.
So for me- embracing chaos isn't learning to live with a semi-permanent sticky film on basically all surfaces of my home (though there is that...), and it doesn't mean picking my battles, or remembering to "just keep swimming". For me: embracing chaos- embracing a life with children- means giving up control, and letting go of the selfish wants of my heart. It means living the life described in Luke 9:23:
"Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me."
Being a mother is an endless series of situations forcing me to deny myself...and in that, it's easy to fall into the trap of becoming a martyr, bitter about the constant sacrifices being made. But that's not what I'm called to. Yes, I have to deny myself, but then I'm supposed to take up my cross and follow Him. And this chaos constantly around me is a constant stream of opportunities for me to deny myself, and a chances to act like Jesus.
So I won't get aggravated by the piles and piles of plastic food constantly spilling out of the play kitchen. And I won't roll my eyes when my littlest yanks her shoes off in the car for the eighth millionth time. And I won't get exasperated by the constant yelling of "My TURN! You're sitting in my SPOT! I was USING that! It's MINE" coming from the mouth of my oldest.
Wait. I will do all those things. I will get aggravated by messes, and roll my eyes at inconveniences and get exasperated by my children. I will give in to chaos, and I'll struggle through days, keeping my sights on the promise of peace at bedtime.
And I'll do it a lot.
But I'll really try to remember that there's a bigger design to this whole thing, and that the chaos is challenge, but also a gift I desperately need.