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Lessons I learned from my gritty side steps (From Salt to Sand)

I must confess. I’m a bit of a neat freak. Well, what I really meant to say is that I can become a bit of a freak…and freak out on my children… when they ruin my “neat”.  I’ll admit that my least shining mothering moments have been when the kids tear up the joint I just spent a whole day spic and spanning – in a matter of nanoseconds. It’s not pretty – the messy house, or my reaction to the messy house.

I don’t like the floors in my side entrance at all. They are not very pretty either. ’80’s terra cotta has never been my thing. I do, however, love them a billion times more when they are freshly cleaned (hooray for my Norwex mop!). If you know me at all, or have perused my site, you’ll know I’m the blessed mom of two young handsome boys. Keaton and Braden are sweet young things, but also walking tornadoes. It can be a natural disaster when they enter a room. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly they can terrorize and wreak havoc on my perfectly put together living space upon setting foot in it. I heard a quote once, that cleaning while kids are in the house is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos. There has never been a statement any more true than that.

So, here I am on a cleaning day in December. I’m down on my hands and knees with my dust pan and broom, gathering all of the little dirty crystals of salt that have migrated inside from our driveway. They’re everywhere, and they seem to leave a lovely trail of dry white soot wherever they’ve been. Once I sweep up the mess, I wash away the winter marks from the tile, and I see a glimmer of hope again – hope of a clean entry way…that is, until the 3rd grader makes his grand entrance from off the bus, and he swings and lets loose his back pack and his bright green and black Minecraft hat up onto the stairs, only for them to tumble back down again to his feet. Those feet – those lovable little feet inside scrunched up, damp fuzzy Christmas colored socks. The little legs I love, wiggle back and forth to kick off their sloppy winter boots. Brown drops of water fly everywhere off the bottom of those boots as they wag to and fro. The boots then make a thud onto the landing way…my freshly cleaned landing way. It’s not clean anymore. There were about four heavenly minutes of cleanliness for that poor entry way. It now looks like the aftermath of a tornado. As the adorable natural disaster obliviously barrels into the kitchen to find his after school snack, I grind my teeth and grab a paper towel. I refuse to re mop, but I will at least make my best attempt to absorb “Lake Keaton” that has formed on my floor.

As I’m wiping back and forth, my mind thinks back to the summer. I recall a day that my teeth were clenched equally as hard as they were right now, and I was down on my hands and knees wiping with a similar towel. It was when those boys “forgot” to brush off their feet before coming in from the sandbox. My freshly shined floor now adorned a billion tiny pebbles of sand, enough to give my feet a nice exfoliating rub. Not the kind of pedicure I was hoping for. I remember thinking that I couldn’t wait for sandbox season to be over. I was anticipating not having to wipe sand from my kitchen, my bathroom and somehow even my countertops. The blasted stuff spread like the common cold in February at a preschool. I was more than done with the sand infestation. I wanted that season to be over.

And yet, here I was, exactly a half a year later, thinking the same thoughts about all the winter nast that my kids brought in with them on their feet. Come to think of it, fall and spring had both brought in the mud and the pollen that I wasn’t fond of either. I toss the gatherings into the garbage; the grit of the season. I had just swept away the mess from a season I had once longed to be in.

From salt to sand, there is a grit to every season we cannot escape.

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In my thirty six years, I have moved fifteen times. Several of those have been to a new city, state or country. Including babysitting my not so co operative cousins, I’ve held at least fifteen jobs. I attended a few different schools and many churches. I’ve driven five or six different vehicles and labored with two young boys. In every last single one of those seasons, there have been times I’ve longed to be in a different time or place and have rushed myself out of nearly every single one of them. I often saw only the problems, and did not recognize the beauty and the blessing of each, until they had gone. There have been moments I thought life would be better… easier, more fun, more relaxing, more fulfilling, less tiring on the other side… but,

the grass is gritty on the other side too.

[bctt tweet=”The grass is gritty on the other side too.” username=”DanielleMac80″]

And so, now, in my thirty sixth year, in the middle of the grit that surrounds me, I am asking for time to stand still for a moment, because I am ever aware that as sure as the summer and the sand will come again, there are also other seasons that will only come once, and then be swept away.

Ecclesiastes 3, (and the Byrds) tell us that to everything, there is a season: “a time to plant and a time to harvest…a time to tear down and a time to build up…a time to grieve and a time to dance…a time to search and a time to quit…a time to be quiet and a time to speak…”

Soloman, who has been labeled a man full of wisdom, because he lived through life and has learned, goes on to say,

“Yet God has made everything beautiful for it’s own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

I pause.

“God, what do you have for me right here, right now? How will it help me to see better, and to be better?”

He shows me.

I begin to see that I rarely count the cost of the season I wish to be in. I am often only focusing on the mess that I’m currently in, and wondering how to get rid of it. But, could there truly be beauty in that mess I’m sweeping up off the floor and tossing into the trash??

It dawns on me that I was forgetting something major. The salt was put there to keep me, and those precious little feet from falling hard. And, that pebbly sand was trailed in on a sunny day from the feet of our happy, healthy boys.

“Look for the bless, not the mess“, I tell myself.

[bctt tweet=”Look for the bless, not the mess” username=”DanielleMac80″]

There will always be mess, because this world is not perfect. Perfection has been set aside for another life, so that we deeply long for it. But, in the midst of imperfection, there still is beauty – immense beauty. I tell myself, “don’t rush the season. Accept…even welcome the grit. It is there for good reason.” The pearl is a thing of beauty; one adorned across a woman’s neck, and yet, it began as a nagging, unwelcome grain of sand.

All these thoughts hit me like a blizzard, full force, while I’m scrubbing the toilet now; the one where my boys “forget” to aim. I wash my hands and run back to record them on my laptop. All these treasures from the Lord, coming to me while I do my least favorite work.

Dan told me once, “all my best song ideas come to me while I’m driving for hours, which is the least glamorous, and least desired part of my job.”

All that scrubbing produces all of these thoughts. All that driving produces all of those songs. All this life birthed out of us, ones who were created from dust…in the time and space we are most eager to be relieved and removed from.

Who, what, or where is it that you wish you could be relieved from? What season of life do you hope comes to an end? Could it be that there is treasure amongst the trash? Is it possible that God is allowing the grit for greater purpose?

[bctt tweet=”Is it possible that God is allowing the grit for greater purpose?” username=”DanielleMac80″]

Whether it be going through the gruel of school, the mess of raising young children or the sweat in starting at the bottom of the ladder. It might be the fight to fill your days with purpose during your retirement years, or the anguish of a chronic illness… the Lord will make treasure from your trash; gold from the grit, a pearl from the sand…if you let Him. This is His specialty.

“And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28, emphasis mine).

“So it is with You, and how You make me new
With every season’s change
And so it will be, as You are re-creating me
Summer, autumn, winter, spring”

(Nichole Nordeman, “Every Season”)

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