For those of you who know the show Friends, you know about Monica, her obsessive compulsive cleaning disorder, and her ribbon drawer. My life was like Monica’s ribbon drawer. Everything had its place, it was organized by color, size, and design, anything that gave it a sense of organization. My house was like this too…until 29 months ago when we were blessed with a little man named Hunter. I did pretty well for being such a neat freak! There were toys on the floor, diapers to take out, and oh my goodness, the laundry! But for our family of three, this was totally doable! I could clean while he slept and have that house back in ribbon drawer condition in no time at all.
And then December 12, 2012 came along and McKenna joined our family, growing it to four. One little tiny body that couldn’t walk or move, but managed quite the mess. However, it too was manageable! Here I sit, awaiting McKenna’s first birthday, and I look around the house and realize that my ribbon drawer has been completely destroyed. With it has gone some of my pride and, yes, I will admit, a little of my self-worth. Can I ever do laundry again without one sock hanging out by itself in the drawer? When will that massive object, the jumper, leave my living room so that it once again look like a warm and inviting place for adults to come together and talk? All of these thoughts have left trails through my mind over the past three months, and unfortunately, my mind continually ventures back for a hike on those dangerous trails. Why can’t I get a grip on this? The cleanliness of my house?
I know all of the right things to think and say…”Cherish every moment, it goes by so quickly.” “I love the mess because I love my children, and they come together.” “No one cares what your house looks like. It’s the companionship and conversation that matter.” I get it. I know it, but it doesn’t make this any easier.
Sure, this mess is beautiful, if I look past the actual mess and see what it represents. However, what is even more beautiful is the mess that is being cleaned up in my heart. As I have battled with this messiness, unlike anything I have battled with before, I am amazed at what the Lord has been doing in my heart. He is cleaning out my soul and making it long for things it hasn’t longed for in a long time. The ribbons are getting tugged, cut, and some are even being removed all together. This drawer, my heart, is being completely reorganized. It’s painful; things are being removed that I loved, or at least thought I loved. But those ribbons are being replaced by new ones; bright and vibrant ones full of life and love.
You know, my biggest frustration has been that my entire house is never all clean at the same time. But neither is my heart. However, the messes that are there get smaller and easier to clean up as I let the Lord do more and more reorganizing. Someday, a day that I can’t ever know, I will see my perfect clean house and be in possession of my perfectly organized and kept heart, but it won’t matter because I will be so focused on the face of my beautiful Lord Jesus. Because of the mess in my life now, I have hope. Because of the mess in my heart right now, I have hope. Only when we have these messes, this discordance in our lives do we possess the hope and promise of the greatness that is to come.
So even though it pains me to say this and physically hurts me even more to do it, I am going to live with this mess. Some days I will be grateful, and others, I will have to truly struggle to see the work that God is doing through this. It won’t be easy, but I rest in the knowledge that the Lord does not give me more than I can handle. I just have to rely on Him for the strength to handle it. And back to Monica’s ribbon drawer, at least I have one! At least I have a life to walk through that is full…full to bursting. Someday I will get to reorganize this drawer again, and I know that it will be just as hard, but until then I will hold to the joy I find in remembering Monica’s organized ribbon drawer, and the true reality that is life.