There’s Glory Right Here in the Mess

memories

Our first family camping trip with our church friends began with a torrential downpour, which caused me to let go of any future expectations of how the weekend would go.

Instead of complaining, we laughed. Three families huddled around a picnic table and ate soggy burgers under a leaking tarp. We made jokes. We took pictures. We watched the red areas on the weather apps move directly over our campsite.

Memories were made. Community was forged. And the rain just gave us something to talk about.

That evening, when we were all beyond tired and ready for rest, my two-year-old decided it was party time. It was his first night outside of the confines of his crib. This fact did not escape him. I closed my eyes and feigned sleep, thinking this might calm him.

Instead, he crawled to my side of the tent, put his face directly to my ear, and in a loud voice said, “Hey!”

It was an extremely long night.

As much as I love my bed and a good R.E.M. cycle, I will never forget that night. Even as I type about it now, a smile comes to my face.

When we embrace what is instead of wishing for what isn’t, memories that last a lifetime are made.

We have the freedom to open our hands and receive the blessing that is right in front of us with gratitude, instead of clenching our fists because things didn’t go as we’d planned. We can receive what’s given to us as grace, because everything is.

Our God is not one whose miracles are limited to saving lives and healing the sick. Everywhere we look, the earth is filled with them.

A beautiful sunset after a storm. An expanse of stars that forms the Big Dipper. A dry tent.

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The following day after our restless night, we took a hike around the lake. As I was walked hand in hand with my oldest, he looked up at me, all of a sudden, and said, “Mom, I love you. I really like walking with you.”

I would have given a hundred sleepless nights for that one moment.

So today, I’m opening my arms to the unexpected. I’m embracing the glory in the mess, and letting go of those unseen ideals.

And I can’t wait to see what God has in store for me next.

 

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10 thoughts on “There’s Glory Right Here in the Mess

  1. I truly believe one of the most important life lessons I’ve learned since becoming a parent is to let go of expectations—because nothing is going to go how you planned anyway! Your philosophy of embracing it instead of fighting it, of being thankful for it instead of frustrated by it, is the best choice we can make. Also, those words from your oldest just melt my heart.

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    • They melted mine too, Katie. I agree that we have to let go of those expectations, especially as parents. Thank you for your continual encouragement. You are a blessing.

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  2. This is such a great tag line for life, “We can receive what’s given to us as grace, because everything is.” So many words to love and live by here today, Abby. And such great memories you all made! Definitely one for the books and to share for years to come…love it! Thank you for reminding us all what’s really important. xoxo, Meredith

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    • You are such a blessing to me, Meredith. Yes, that weekend will definitely go in the book of memories to treasure. Thanks for your encouragement as always, friend, and I’ll see you in a couple of weeks! 😉

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  3. So glad we met on twitter! What a blessing for God to speak to you like he did! What a great post about what’s really important. Thanks for sharing, blessings!

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    • I’m glad too, Michelle! Thanks so much for stopping by and I look forward to checking out your website as well. God definitely spoke to me, and the message was loud and clear. 😉

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  4. I really adore you, Abby. I love every post you write. Truly. This speaks to me today as I look back on two hard days with my youngest son. Something happened that was not expected and it had us both in tears. But God was there. He comforted our hearts. And He used others too. From the moment it began I saw His beauty in witnessing how the first person my son called was his oldest brother. Thinking about it still brings tears. You’d have to know their prior history to fully understand but God is so good!! Thank you for how you share your heart. Blessings. xoxo

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    • I adore you too, Beth! You make my heart smile. I’m so glad to hear that God was made himself known in the midst of your circumstances. He uses some of the most unexpected ways to reveal Himself, doesn’t He? Thanks so much for your kind words today. xoxo, Abby

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