At first glance, it looks like poo.

I'm cleaning and thinking. I know what you're thinking: Her? Cleaning? Although the appearance of my house belies it, it is a little known fact that I do, indeed, clean at least a little bit every - single - day.

The dust bunnies mock me from under the beds.

The piles of dirt grit disappointment under my heels (and when I say piles, I mean piles: I measured one pile yesterday just to see if I was exaggerating in my own head. It was 1 1/2 cups of sand. From the front room and front door rugs alone. Is it possible to exaggerate 1 1/2 cups of sand??).

The never-ending succession of toys that litter my living room and dining room scream frustration.

The dining room table that cannot be seen shouts condemnation while we eat at the island yet another evening.

In every one of the daily visual reminders of my weakness and failures as a mother, wife and daughter there is something other than the scoffing accusation I see first: there, also, is the visible remains of Grace.

My mother and I both saw it at the same time.  A pile of poo on my brand spankin' new [albeit thrifted] blue chair. Not only a large, lumpy turd, but the shmear of said turd and the little pile of rabbit turds that sometimes precedes such a turd out of the rear ends of my offspring.

I guess I realized what it was a moment before my mother, and I think she nearly collapsed when I reached out with my bare hand to pick it up.

It was crusty playdoh.  You know that weird brown everything from watercolors to the dinner in the Crock-pot takes on when you mix enough things together? Well, this was mixed together-25 colors of Playdoh with just enough variation to truly resemble a large, steamy pile of poo. What a relief to find it was easily squished together and removed from the pristine velveteen of the chair that had somehow survived 25 or so years in someone else's - apparently more immaculate - home.

Playdoh is one of those constant burrs under the saddle of parenthood around our casa. There are a million-and-one recipes for nearly free homemade dough, but seriously, I have trouble getting edible dough of any kind on the table for dinner. How often do you think I have time and energy to devote to making dough for playing with? Arguably, I might spend less time sighing and cleaning up little yellow canisters as a result.

This is a picture of my kitchen sweep-up yesterday afternoon.  Less than a day's worth of dirt, Playdoh canisters, dried balls of the contents of said canisters, and other miscellaneous art scraps...previously littering the floor in a space 8 feet by 8 feet.

It's the cost of allowing creativity to run amok in your children's lives.

Something catastrophic like cancer hits and it leaves you with only a couple of options, as a homemaker. (You could fill the "catastrophic" blank in with anything time-consuming, really: grad school, a home improvement project, a demanding ministry opportunity, that novel you're writing or the recipe you're perfecting.) 

Option A: Hire a professional. Because your medical bills certainly won't eat up so much of your budget that you don't have space left for "frills" [sarcasm].

Option B: Tighten down, get rid of most of the toys, all but the essential, color-coordinated outfits, and all the consumables that tend to get scattered about, cut up or otherwise contribute to confetti like messes in your home (i.e. Playdoh, toilet paper, computer printer paper, paper towels, napkins, stickers, grocery get the idea).

Option C: Throw up your hands (cast all your cares upon Him), put on some socks so your dirty floors don't drive you crazy, and decide to live with the mess.

Option A is going to be most appealing to you.  But your husband and kids will probably thank you if you make early peace with Option C.

Have you read Proverbs 31 lately? The passage that describes the perfect matriarch? I perused it as I wrote this, and found no mention of a clean house in it. She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. So let me ask, am I looking well to the ways of my household, with the resources I've been given? Am I eating the bread of idleness?

Mock poo piles or no, this is what I can do with this day.

And believe it or not, I see the shadows of His redemption everywhere.

This week, I am going to show you my messes.

And I am going to tell you how God has turned them into my successes.