So, this is the truth. My kid's rooms are a mess. Sadly, I assume the "three little words" that my children heard most often, as they lived through the teenage years were not, "I love you" but rather, "Clean your room". It's part of having children, this training. It's part of being the parent, this exampling. And, quite honestly, while I have done well in some areas, training my children to keep a tidy room is not something that I could teach a webinar on.
That being said, today is my son's 17th birthday, so when he returns home from school, his room will be clean. For many years now, on or near my children's birthdays, I have given them the gift of a clean room. While they are at school (because this can only be done in their absence) I enter the room with a trash can and a box for Goodwill.
The whole tradition started when they were young children and I knew that they would be having friends coming to our house for a Birthday Party or a Sleepover. I certainly didn't want to end up having to keep a child belonging to someone else, due to my inability to locate said child in my offspring's messy room. And, now, my children embrace it! They don't like to do the work of cleaning out the closet, or sifting through the trash, but when they arrive home, they embrace the serenity their newly uncluttered domain provides. So, once a year...thisis a priceless gift I can provide.
Stepping into my son's personal disaster, I wonder, "Did his XBOX explode?"
His floor and his closet look as if his latest war game managed to come to life. I should feel relieved that my youngest was able to survive such a battle. But, quite honestly, I don't find myself filled with a sense of wonder and joy as I look at this mess. In one corner I find a bag full of trash, near that I find what appears to be an old lunch sack. I unroll the brown paper and spy something black, "Is that a banana?"
I begin to get irritated at the things that I find, and I suddenly move away from the heart of Gift Giver to the mind of the Task Master:
"Why am I doing this? Next year, he will be an adult. An adult! He should keep his room better than this! Someone who makes such a mess is undeserving of this gift. Undeserving of me spending my time doing what I've asked him to do on so many occasions!"
Ah...undeserving. I've lived in that shadow. I've felt the truth of that word spread across the darkest parts of my "me". And, with the thought of that "me", that has depended on the Grace of the Father, I realize, we are all quite undeserving of Him cleaning our messes. I think of my life; I try to keep my room clean of jealousy and envy. I try to rid myself of fear and doubt. Using a dust rag, I've eliminated some of the film that clouds my mind, but within a short time the dust settles again. But, the Father comes in and cleans up my room. He doesn't get angry or call me undeserving of His time. Of His life.
And, now, I think of my friend who heads up an All Girl's Conference, Father's Eyes, based in Southern California. In planning for 2012, they have decided that they will be celebrating the work that God does to transform our "junk" into something BEAUTIFUL. I think of the theme she has shared...A Beautiful Mess. I am suddenly quite thankful for my friend who works hard for months to plan, organize and facilitate this event to share God's truth with these teenage girls. His words are not the command, "Clean your room", but rather a reminder, "You are forgiven".
It's by God's grace that He saved me and cleaned up my mess, so I readjust my mind to align with the heart that started the task, and I find ways to enjoy my son's beautiful mess.