An Everyday Mess
My friend Adam often asks the question: What is your favorite Jesus story? Every time he asks, I find it hard to narrow it down—there are so many stories that get me excited about Jesus. But, I always seem to circle back to John 4—the story of Jesus’ encounter of the woman at the well. It’s a familiar story right? Jesus finds himself at a community well in the middle of day, his disciples go off to get food, and a woman comes to get water. There is a lot to unpack in the story, but what seems certain is this woman’s life is a mess.
A couple of years ago we moved my daughter, Sophie, to her first big girl bed, and everything seemed to be going well. A few mornings later, I rolled out of bed a little later than planned. At 8:30 I still hadn’t heard Sophie, and so I got out of bed and went to her room to check on her. The sight which greeted me upon walking into her room cannot be adequately described in words. Sophie had taken a full bottle of baby powder, diaper rash cream (the thick, sticky kind), Vicks vapor rub and Vaseline, and used her new sheets, bedspread and body as her canvas. Everything, including her, was covered in a layer of gook topped with a layer of powder. Awesome.
If I wouldn’t have been so angry, I would have taken a picture. I have never been so angry with my child–I didn’t know it was possible for me to be so angry at my child! People disappoint us, even people we love the most. And I am quite sure she never meant to disappoint me. The entire rest of the day she asked me, “Mommy, are you happy?”
The truth is that the person I am when no one is watching is just as messy as a diaper cream-powder-covered 3-year-old. I think that is why I love the story of Jesus and the woman at the well—he was willing to step into her mess, and offer her a different story. He is willing to step into my messes, and offer me a different story.
That night, as I tucked Sophie in bed, I sang her a song which I sing her most every day: “I love you today; I love you tomorrow. I love you as deep as the sea. I love you in joy; I love you in sorrow. You can always come home to me.” (Andrew Peterson)
I am grateful every day that Jesus offers me a different story, and I am challenged by that Samaritan woman who encountered Jesus so many years ago. She embraced the story and shared it. She didn’t allow her mess to get in the way of sharing the story—perhaps it was her mess that made the story even more powerful.
Thank God we are living in grace. Thank God that he never gives up on us. Thank God that everyday messes can be moments in which we learn more about our own mess–and more about how to love, forgive, and live into the Jesus way.
A note from Matt:
Thanks to Beth for writing this. I am so happy that we are blessed with such godly and insightful women in our fellowship. My goal here is to highlight some of them in a way that shows their insights, their attitudes, and their wisdom.