Answered Prayers in the Middle of a Mess
Most any day you come into my house, the kitchen table and counter are a jumbled mess of books, empty chocolate milk glasses, keys, glasses and wallets. Someone might have left the ketchup out. Why the barber-grade Cremo for texture, high hold and low shine must sit on the counter, I just don’t understand and cannot resolve. The reasoning – “I put it on before I walk out the door” – well, it doesn’t hold high with me, but it’s like those summertime ants that just keep coming back, I cannot put a stop to it.
There’s a pile of tomatoes on the counter now. A nerf gun, too – and a miniature tea cup from the mouse house, and a used coffee cup that one of the boys hasn’t put in the dishwasher, alongside an empty glass of chocolate milk that needs rinsing. Sometimes there’s Paw Patrol cars or princess crowns – last week I saw a baseball mitt. I hadn’t seen one of those on my counter for years. There’s always a pile (maybe even more than one) – the only thing that changes is what’s in the pile(s).
Sometimes that’s what answered prayers look like!
When I asked God all those years ago, after our first son was born, and we experienced secondary infertility, – when I asked Him for another child, praying for what I wanted and grieving what I didn’t have, He was preparing me for His plan – for this once full house brimming over with boys.
Answered prayers aren’t always answered on our exact terms – and they don’t live out in neat, tidy, Hallmark story settings.
Kitchen table and kitchen counter messes came with my answered prayers, all five of them.
Maybe you’re one of those gifted people who can straighten a kitchen in 10 minutes – when it’s my kitchen, it’s an overwhelming task – and it never stops.
Friends, when I do get ahead of that kitchen counter, it’s usually only a twenty minute to two hour sparkling fix.
My son’s friends walk through the kitchen doors – sometimes they stop by the counter, sit for a while and talk – in the middle of the mess. (I imagine if they came in to a neat sparkly kitchen, they’d walk right back out thinking they were in the wrong house.)
Hamburger & Hotdog Thursday is patted out and grilled – in the middle of a mess.
Everyday ordinary kitchen living – in the middle of a mess.
When all the family gets together for Big Dinner, which is what I call dinner when all the boys and their families come, happens in the middle of a mess.
Whether we’re sitting at the counter, the kitchen table or have a table set up outside, when my house is full, there’s a mess, but in that mess are the answered prayers walking around, talking, laughing, sometimes still wrestling, filling my heart.
I make up holidays, like Bucher Family Hat Day and Merry ThanksGiveAHallweensterIndie Day, June 14-16-18-18-27 and January 7-9-11 Birthday Parties – as an excuse to get together – and it happens. . . . in the middle of a mess.
The price for answered prayers is more often than not giving up control of something to God – that’s the fine-print in the contract. Answered prayers stretch us, stir us up, turn our lives upside down in holy ways – because answered prayers bring us ever closer into God’s presence. Answered prayers are multi-dimensional and cannot be kept in a neat, tidy box – or even kitchen.
Answered prayers? Ultimately, each one is for the glory of God.
What does my answered prayer look like? It looks like me standing on the sink side of the kitchen island, stirring a pot or washing those milk glasses, patting out hamburgers or filling bowls of stew, maybe grilling cheese – and looking at my sons, their friends, their girl friends, their wives, their children, sitting on the stools on the other side of the counter, talking about life and sharing their stories with me.
Answered prayers in the middle of a mess!
I thank God for that mess – because He gave me the boys that help me make it!
What answered prayers are you living in the middle of a mess?
Remember Me Monday: # 10 & Linky
“I’ll make a list of God’s gracious dealings,
all the things God has done that need praising,
All the generous bounties of God,
his great goodness to the family of Israel—
~ Isaiah 63:7, The Message
In the Old Testament, God repeatedly, quietly and loudly, tells his children, “You have forgotten me!” (Jeremiah 3:32, Ezekiel 22:12, to name a few). It’s a heart cry from a father to a child who has forgotten all the love, all the saving, helping, little and big blessings – and it leaves me stunned when I realize our Father, the creator of the universe, who knows things I cannot begin to fathom, who authors storylines that leave me amazed, delights in all of us so much, He cries out, “Remember Me.”
While every day is a Remember God Day, I am inviting you to join me on Monday mornings to come by and remember what God has done for you, for your family. Maybe God sent a cardinal darting out in front of you, as if to tell you, “I’m here,” or broke a child’s fever after you laid it all down at His feet in a 2 a.m. bedside vigil. Maybe He stood with you in the wait of a prayer sent out, or brought someone you loved to Christ. Maybe He healed your broken heart, gave your courage, or you gave Him your dreams as a love offering only to have Him give them back in an unimaginable way. Maybe God helped you survive to bedtime after a crazy Monday, or forgive yourself for missing it with your kiddos –– Whatever it is, let’s Remember Him. . . in a “Remember Me Monday” love letter.
“My mouth will tell of your righteousness,
Of your salvation all the day long,
Though I know not its measure.
I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, O Sovereign Lord”
~ Psalm 71:15-16.
Let us delight in Him by telling the stories of what He’s done! If you wrote a blog post remembering what He’s done for you, join the linky. If you didn’t but still want to praise Him for what He’s done – write it in the comment section. Then visit a comment before or after yours! One of the beautiful things about the blogging community is the relationships it builds!
Rules? Write long or short, a list or a story, include photos or not. Just Remember Him and what He has done, and let the gratitude of your heart guide you. Let’s make Monday so Rejoice, that the goodness of God spills into the rest of the week!
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Places I’m Linking at This Week:
Inspire Me Monday, Grace & Truth, Global Blogging, Senior Salon, Hearth and Home,
Purposeful Faith, Tell His Story, InstaEncouragement,
Recharge Wednesday, Worth Beyond Rubies,
Share a Link Wednesday, Lyli Dunbar, Let’s Have Coffee, Legacy Link-Up,
Tune In Thursday / Salt and Light
Grace and Truth, Faith on Fire, Blogger Voices Network
I’ve been thinking a lot about answered prayer over the past 18 months, so this was an encouragement to me. I’ve made a lot of very specific asks over the past 18 months as our family has entered the world of chronic illness with two of our daughters and covid fallout with our son. These months have been everything messy–physically, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually. And in the midst, God has answered with gracious yeses–and some noes–or at least some not yets. I’ve been chagrinned at my surprise at the yeses. I knew he could but I’m not sure I believed that he would, you know. So, I’m sorting through that–part of the mess I’m learning to be okay with.
Natalie, I think sometimes it’s hard to wrap our head and heart around the idea that someone, anyone, especially God loves us that much to say gracious yeses and even noes and not yets.I know how I feel when my kiddos come running to me for comfort – and it about bursts my heart they trust me so – or at least when they were little. I think God loves that about us! You’ve had a challenging 18 months – praying that “All is Well,” – 2 Kings 4:26 as we both continue into the other half of 2020! Thanks so much for coming by and spending time! ~ Shalom, Maryleigh
I love your attitude of seeing answered prayers in the middle of the mess. Because isn’t life always a little messy? Mine certainly is. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your beautiful writing and sentiments, Maryleigh, and for linking up at Grace & Truth. I’m going to feature your post at my blog this Friday.
Life would be very empty if it wasn’t messy – and I would be very out of shape spiritually if I didn’t let God grow me with these messes! I’ve seen big answers slide home off the wings of another prayer sent out. I am so glad Ann Voskamp taught me how to find the blessings He leaves. I see Him in everything now! Thanks so much Lisa for dropping a lovely blessing into my Monday Morning! WOW!See you at your place Friday!
Good morning, Maryleigh! I love your gentle reminder that right in the midst of the messiness and uncertainty, there is Jesus. Speaking, blessing, guiding, comforting.
What a wonderful Savior …
The messes never stop – do they! It’s just the more we let Him into the messes, the better we handle them and live them! Rejoicing with you! What a wonderful Savior we do have! ~ Maryleigh
I am so grateful that our God has watched over me in my comings and goings, that He is providing a new home to move to in a little over a month, and that He provided a buyer for my house immediately at a great price! I am grateful for the precious people He has placed in my life. Thank You, Father God.
Rejoicing with you, Linda – that He supplies our needs and answers our prayers in the exact way they need to be answered and supplied! Praying for you as you make this big transition – Praying that God fills your home with the comfort of His heart, surround your home with a hedge of protection, and send so many feet across its threshold to break bread and share a cuppa that if spills with love and laughter! Shalom! ~ Maryleigh
I love that you can see the answered prayers in the middle of the mess! We had our entire family in the same house (a very small house) for two weeks this summer–the first time we’ve spent more than two or three days together in seven years. It was a mess, but a beautiful mess! I can relate :). It was also an answer to prayer.
It’s like simmering in a pot – when everyone’s together – and the flavors marry together for so warm, soul-filling remembrances!!! What fun you must have had! Thanks so much for coming by Anita! ~ Shalom ~ Maryleigh
I don’t have children, but I can relate to this in other ways. I love the reflective perspective this brings also. And especially this:
“Answered prayers aren’t always answered on our exact terms – and they don’t live out in neat, tidy, Hallmark story settings.”
I’m fact, just yesterday I was thanking God for loving us and not giving up on us in our messiness. How cool to read this post today!
I used to think my life had to be organized, unmessy, my soul perfect before He would want to spend time with me. I am so glad He is with me where I am, in the messiness of my growing to Him! I love it when God surrounds us with a chorus of a message line so that what He’s telling us sinks in deeper!!! Thanks for coming by Amanda! Shalom! ~ Maryleigh
Maryleigh, I loved this post. It is so true that God often is often answering our prayers in the middle of the mess. And I also realized … sometimes the mess is an answer to prayer as well 🙂 Those messy and loud dinners are the joy and laughter God uses to remind me that He is right there with us in all things. Blessings!
I am so glad that sometimes it is in the mess the most important moments happen! Thanks so much for coming by Joanne! Shalom! ~ Maryleigh
Oh, I love these thoughts: “Answered prayers stretch us, stir us up, turn our lives upside down in holy ways – because answered prayers bring us ever closer into God’s presence.” His ways are surely higher than ours, aren’t they? I’m so glad I came over from Lisa’s site, these were precious thoughts that encouraged my heart today.
Thank you so much for coming Bettie! I am so glad we can sharpen each other in this precious community! Shalom!!! Maryleigh