Finding Wonder In The Crumbs

I sit here this morning, drinking my lukewarm coffee and scarfing down an all-organic, sugar free, fat free pastry -- (just kidding, it’s a maple covered donut from King Soopers).  I am amidst the chaotic din that is my three children who are suddenly all whining and sobbing for my attention, and I survey the state of my house. And part of me dies a little bit. The floors that had been mopped three times (because I hadn’t mopped for a good three months so I’d better mop the HECK out of them when I do), the counters that had been cleared, the table & chairs that had been wiped down and the sink that had been dish-free last night – were all back to their usual state of disarray (and All The Crumbs) in just a matter of hours. That’s not even mentioning the disaster that is the living room and toy room.

 *sigh*

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a neat freak AT ALL and I totally choose ANY OTHER THING besides cleaning, which is why my house looks like an episode of Hoaders meets Craftwars meets Kitchen Nightmares on a daily basis. And I generally don’t mind it because I know this season of life is fleeting (sob) and I totally am “going to miss these days”. These days are fun. (However I will most definitely NOT miss the epic meltdowns and incessant whining, thankyouverymuch.)

But some days are HARD. And on those days it's not easy to “enjoy every moment” (most inappropriately offered advice ever) when I feel like I’m in a constant state of chaos and mess, both in my mind and in my house. When my joy from simple accomplishments – like having a couple of clean, orderly rooms in the house for once…the only thing in my life that I could control at the moment – is so easily and instantaneously taken away from me by my three small wombfruit who now control basically every part of my life.

I’m not saying I don’t absolutely ADORE my terribly, messy kids, because obviously I want to eat their faces off every day because (most of the time) they are SO STINKIN CUTE and they are so clever and very kind and downright funny. I

genuinely love being around them and I love being their mom. But sometimes…just sometimes…I *do* want to lock them out in the backyard or even just run away for a little while because it’s just all too much. And that’s why we have GNOs and date nights and Target - THANK THE HEAVENS AND STARRY NIGHT FOR THOSE. (See how I just related it to the MOPS theme right there? Come on.)

But Mandy Arioto, who wrote chapter two “Stormy Nights” in the MOPS devotional, helped remind me that some of the most life-giving moments still happen in these everyday, mundane, even chaotic and messy moments. And she reminded us not to write them off as less significant than the big moments.

I love that. I totally do find life in the small stuff. And I want to give a few of those moments some proper recognition right now, in a similar Jimmy Fallon and Jen Hatmaker “Thank You Note” style…

   …I cherish you, first sip of hot coffee that has the exact amount of sweet creamer added.

   …I recognize you, the perfect chocolate zucchini muffin and best tasting soup I’ve made yet.

   …I see you and love you, YouTube video that just made me snort-laugh my coffee/wine.

   …I remember and treasure you, hilarious or awkward text conversation with a friend.

   …I appreciate you, the smell and warmth of a fresh load of laundry that was washed three times because I forgot about you twice.

   …I enjoy your touch on my body, husband – no, not that kind. The back massages I make you give me every Monday. Those are nice.

   …I do find wonder and immeasurable joy in you, my delightful little mongrels, even if you sometimes scream in my face or ignore me.

That was just fun, you guys. But it’s all true! It’s the little things.

I used to write a gratitude journal to help me see the positive in the every day moments (btw, you should all read One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp – AMAZING). I’m not sure why I stopped because it truly is life-giving to have written record of the goodness that’s right in front of me when I’m stuck in the “darkness” of the day.

Until this week I didn’t know what my 28-Day Challenge would be but now I think I do – to take five minutes every day and once again make note of the “light” in my life. Then I will tangibly see how the small bits of gratitude add up and become something bigger and better in me.

So just as a reminder to all of us when we’re not feeling especially joy-filled or full of life, I wanted to share a excerpt from a devotional that I read just the other day that I thought was so perfect:

“When the hospital bracelet has long been removed and the monotony of motherhood settles deep, we can forget. Forget the magic of toes the size of peas and the delight of folding sweet-smelling miniature clothes. We refocus instead on the dirt those toes leave behind–and the actual peas that have rolled away and fossilized– and the need for stain stick on those little clothes…again…. Life gets tedious; tedious is trying. If we’re not careful, the repetitive tasks that fill our days can drain our spirits. … The idea here is not to compare our days, but to realize that if we are too busy grumbling, or so focused on the next holiday or family visit, we won’t be able to serve and see God today in whatever numbing tasks lay before us. He’s there. And we are value to God right now, in the plainness of today. That means digging deep and doing what we do, “whatever you do…for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31) …Even in the little things God can be big.”

- taken from the devotional, Always There: Reflections for Moms on God’s Presence (p31-33)

Ahh, that right there is some meat. Some good ol' bacon for the weary soul. An intentional reminder from God to notice Him and embrace our important – sometimes tedious – Kingdom role as moms.

Finally, in my favorite cousin’s wise words: “Take some time today, Laura, and find some wonder in the crumbs. Look at them. Examine them. Accept them. Hold them in your hand and listen to their whispers. "We are here, we are here, we are here!" I want you to find the wonder in the small crumbs in your life today.”

Because, let’s be honest, sometimes there are just those days when you have to laugh in the face of chaos.

Laura Hartgerink is a Midwest girl and work-from-home mom who runs her graphic design business while simultaneously wrangling her three young kids, Sonora (5.5), Grayson (3) and Violet (1.5). She has been married to her husband, Ryan, for 11 years and they love traveling and going on family adventures – whether it’s a hike in the mountains or a cross-country camping excursion. Most nights she likes to unwind by staying up late and binge watching her favorite shows on Hulu. She’s addicted to clearance sections and thrift stores. She is aware of her crazy and embraces her weird. It’s okay that you don’t know how to pronounce her last name.