Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Pick Up, Clean Up

Every day, at some point, I utter the same few words to my precious son: "Gabe, you need to clean up your room" or "Gabe, you have to pick up these toys before you get anything else out."

Usually, without fail, his innocent little voice will follow: "But mommy, I need you to help me."

I tend to see this as his clever way of getting ME to clean up instead of him. In my ultimate mom wisdom, I think I have figured him out and am wise to his cunning ways. "I did not help make the mess, Gabe, so I am not going to help you. You made the mess so it's your responsibility to clean it up." This, of course, is usually followed by wailing and gnashing of teeth. Okay, not really, but the whining does commence at that point and after much bribing encouragement, he gets the job done.

But I had an epiphany of sorts the other night. A revelation, perhaps. Call it what you will. It was a word from the Lord. The cycle began yesterday late in the afternoon when he wanted to play with his play dough but his room looked like two grown sumo wrestlers held a match in there. I began my usual way: "You can play with your play dough as soon as you clean up the mess in your room." This time, he actually went in there and I thought, "VICTORY!" But it wasn't two minutes later and he was back out.

"Mommy, I really need you to help me." Heart. Melt. How can one say no to that sweet little pleading? Stay. Strong. Needless to say, I followed him into his room just to supervise the cleaning process. Something hit me, however, as I sat on the floor of his room watching him just tinker with the toys strewn around his floor. Isn't that just like you and me? Don't we makes messes of our lives at times? Some are small and not that dramatic and so we are easily able to pick up the pieces and put them back together. But then there are those times that we make bigger messes. And then we stand in the middle of our self-made mess staring at the rubble around us and wonder, "Where do I begin?"

In that moment, many of us cry out, "Lord! Help me! I need You to help me!" And then the Lord replies, "Nope! Sorry! You made that mess on your own. It's your job to clean it up!" doesn't go quite like that does it? He doesn't turn His back and leave us to fend for ourselves. He jumps into the middle of the mess with us and begins to guide us through. He shows us where to begin, what to pick up first. He helps us clean up the life mess that we've made through loving correction and instruction. I realized that my sweet 3 year old represents us in that scenario. He may have made the mess but he is now overwhelmed by the sheer size of it. His little mind wonders, "Where do I even begin?" And because he doesn't know what else to do, he calls to me or to daddy, "I need you to help me!"

So in that moment, I began to show him where he could begin. "Start with the animals and trees that go in this bucket." He picked those up and then we started on his legos. "Okay, pick up all the green ones and put them in your lego bus." The time passed and the room looked more like a bedroom than a scene from Twister and when he was all finished, we high fived! What a teaching moment for this mama! I don't ever want my son to feel abandoned when he's asked for genuine help. That's certainly not what our Heavenly Father does for us. 

Image retrieved from Google Images

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