Joyful abandon. These two words quickly come to mind when I reflect on the pictures I see on my friend April’s Facebook wall. She wrote a comment about one of her pictures the other day that resonated with my purpose here at Middle of the Mess. She mentioned the idea of wearing red lipstick being a noteworthy event in the middle of the mundane of daily life. I felt it best that I let her elaborate on this in her own words (thanks, Denise, for the idea). I believe we can learn so much by sharing our stories with one another!
By April Strasler:
I am a stay at home, homeschooling, bread baking, art making, Instagramming mama. Most days, I am reading recipes, making grocery lists, baking, breastfeeding, making lunches, and washing diapers. I read to my kids, cook with them, and discipline them. We learn the Gospel and the words to “Danger Zone.” These are good days.
The days when I have a coffee date with a girlfriend or two, a hair appointment, or my husband watches the kids so I can go thrifting by myself? Also good. Let’s be honest: even if I’m getting groceries by myself, I’m having fun! I stay at home a lot, remember?
Each day is a gift. Each time my 3-year-old belts out, “Highway to the danger zone! I’m gonna take you right into the danger zoooone!” while using the bathroom is a gift. When I’m wearing lipstick and she says, “I wanna wear you wipstip, too!” I let her. Because joy is a precious gift, and I want to bless her with it. Jesus delights in us, and I delight in my children. Because we are to be like Christ, He has enabled me to do this. Even in the middle of the dishes, and the laundry, and the crying.
I want to switch gears on you for a minute. I wasn’t always so grace-seeking! Jesus has softened me and shaped me as I have cried out to Him. Slowly and surely. And then something kind of huge happened.
It was the end of my husband’s latest deployment. Rett called and said, “I’ve been released! Can you come get me right now?”
I was almost to the grocery with my girls, then 4 years and 16 months. So of course, I blew past Kroger and, with tears in my eyes, was on my way!
Halfway to Camp Atterbury, I lost control of my SUV. The steering wheel locked, and we careened across the road. As we headed straight towards a massive tree, at about 50 mph, I was surprised at how I felt complete peace about dying. I had always doubted that I was ready.
I woke up in a shower of glass as the SUV turned over from its top to its side. We were precariously perched on top of a hill, far from the road. The lady who had been driving behind me was a 911 dispatcher who had just gotten off of work. She said we flipped end over end several times, and then rolled up the hill. She had already called in the accident. She was expecting fatalities.
My girls were unharmed in any way. I was covered in glass from the windshield and front windows. We walked away, because Jesus saved us.
Psalm 18:19 says, “He has rescued me, because He delighted in me.” He has rescued me. Because He delighted in me! I knew that night that big changes would be happening in my life, that this “accident” would be a springboard to great big things. I knew this, because I knew Jesus spared our lives for His purpose.
“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” -Isaiah 43:19
That was two years ago, and I know that Jesus will show himself in my story for the rest of my life. What I didn’t anticipate was that the biggest change would be in my heart.
“This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long!” (Refrain from the hymn “Blessed Assurance.”)
Therefore, I delight in the good days, and I have hope in the long ones. You can find joy, delight, beauty, and just plain old fun in every day! Put on some red lipstick and crank up the Top Gun soundtrack while you drive to the library to return those overdue books you found in the bill basket. Ask Jesus to reveal the joy in your day, and revel in that.
Today my joy is hosting a little dinner to celebrate my daughter’s half birthday. She doesn’t really know it, but I am actually celebrating her life—a wonderful, overwhelming blessing. She might not have celebrated her last 2 birthdays.
Life is a gift. Every single day. Every good thing. All of it.
What a beautiful life Jesus has given us. Not because we deserve it, but because He delights in us.
Thank you, April for sharing your story with us! April has blogged in the past at http://strawberryblondleopard.blogspot.com/. Let’s encourage her to start writing again!