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A Lesson From Wallpaper: Finding the Meaningful in Messy

I have a new set of heroes. An uncommon tribe to say the least.

It sounds silly, but nonetheless … People who hang wallpaper as a profession.

I had a bright idea last weekend, which in hindsight was more along the lines of dimly lit.

Wallpaper is making a come back in the design world.  It’s all over Southern Living. I thought it would be a great addition at our home. I thought this would be easy. I thought this would be fast, and beautiful … and boy was I wrong!

The only word I can come up with was DISASTER!  My entire room  plan, very quickly became a “focal wall”  and at one point, almost a border!

The stupid wallpaper got the best of me. More than once I found myself in frustrated tears contemplating utter and total surrender.

About the time I was throwing in the towel, my sweet daughter came and just watched me.    “Oh, momma- that is so gross.  Look how gooey!  Can I touch it? No–maybe not!”

Then came the question–profound and piercing as it rolled off her tongue.

She said, “How can something that turns out so pretty, be such an ugly mess when you start?”


Was she talking about the wall … or the day, or just life in general?

You see, we had not had such a stellar performance that weekend in the parent/ child department.  It had been one of those days that could only be categorized as unsuccessful.  She was pushing the limits. I had simply had enough.

Her  teenager attitude was rearing its  ugly head … and all I wanted to do was play “whack-a-mole” with that blonde ponytail.

I found myself irritated and angry.

“Why is this raising kids just so hard, and exhausting oh–and did I mention messy?”
It occurred to me in that moment  that most things of beauty, start out as something else. That is comforting to me because it gets pretty ugly some days here as well.

Best attempts occasionally fail.

This growing up thing is hard.  This parenting thing is even harder. It’s not easy, or fast … and it is every bit of messy that you can possibly imagine.

 But so is this adventure called “being a follower of Jesus”

Somewhere along the line I got the crazy notion that this would be easy, and fast, and well, you know the rest. I wanted neat and clean lines, perfection on my first attempt.  All I kept coming up with was a great big mess.

Messy spirituality–it seems like some days I get more wrong than I ever got right.

What a blessing to know that  God in His infinite love and wisdom already knew what a mess I would make of this life.

I am so thankful He will take the mess I make in the daily and transform my futile attempts into a beautiful sacrifice to lay at His feet. And there is more good news …

The wall is finished and no one died. It looks pretty good, if I do say so myself. I decided last night that the imperfections on the wall will remain.   I could choose to start over. It is not even close to perfect. But neither am I and neither are my kids, and because of this I am leaving the wall alone. I need a constant reminder on the days that are simply more messy than meaningful, that we are all working to make something of beauty here.

What do you do with the messiness of your life? How do you handle it and how do you find the beauty?

About Raney Mills

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One comment

  1. I love Raney Mills’ articles.

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