Vacuuming out the car again today, sucking up endless debris--bread crumbs-apple cores-lost Legos-stray milk tops-straw wrappers--wondering how it gets so dirty, so quickly.
Every week, in and out, I clean out the car, always throwing away the same things, and carting in the same things to the house. Books, baby dolls, jackets, Legos, always Legos. And every week I wonder: how do we go from so clean to so dirty in less than seven days, spending a few mere hours in the car?
And I thought, as the vacuum sucked up leftovers from our week, that I do the same thing:
I formulate new plans, new lists, new ideas, new ways of gaining control over this household of people and messes and laundry and meals and animals and life,
and every week, somewhere nearly half-way through, I feel the same waves rising up. Overwhelmed, messes on every side, Didn't I just clean that room? And it feels hopeless to even try to get it under control, except if I don't, nobody will, and we'll just slide further toward mayhem.
Somebody has to be the Mama. Somebody has to wash the clothes and teach the children and plan the meals and hand out chores and the training and somebody has to pray over it all!
And I feel like it's rising up to my neck again, and I know a new little one is coming, and that school only gets harder each year, and is this one going to learn to read, and will that one ever be able to spell, and will anybody want to read their Bibles without me making them? Or maybe even pick up their dirty socks?
The doubts rise up, and my confidence falls.
And I want to quit, but I can't, because I'm the Mama. There is no back-up plan. I am the back-up plan!
I realized, while pushing the vacuum attachment around the crevices of the cupholders, that I will be cleaning out this car for the rest of my Mama-years. And that even if I write new rules and outlaw snacks and drill-sergeant the kids about taking their belongings into the house, it's going to get dirty again.
It's only reasonable, after all: I have to take a shower more than once a week. All the perfume in the world won't make up for lack of hygiene.
Our life is seamless. We live here. We learn here. We are several, and we live a messy life, and no amount of rules will keep the floors clean or the laundry in hampers or the school lessons confined to 9-3.
And more important than a clean car, I have to be made clean routinely. I have to go to Him and bow low, acknowledging what we both already know: I don't have it under control.
I don't need to have it under control.
He has it under control. I'm the manager, not the owner, and the ultimate responsibility doesn't rest on my shoulders. He's not calling me to perfection; He's calling me to willingness. He's calling me to come to Him, to rely on Him, to remember that they are His. It's all His.
The doubts fall, and my trust in Him rises.
And for tonight, my car is clean.
But I am weak, and forgetful, and if I don't run to Him more often than I need a shower and the car needs vacuuming, I will fall under the surge again.
Lord, tonight I'm surveying messes on all sides, despite so much work today. Give me Your eyes. Let me see what You see, and lean on Your everlasting arms when I'm blind. And over it all, remind me to be thankful for this seamless life.