How can the ugly messy be grace?

I come upstairs from tossing the last of five sets of sheets in the washer to find the youngest of the three tossing his cookies (the figurative ones) right there in the high chair.  Last night the wildest sleeper of the three had taken over our bed (and soiled two sets of sheets).  The other twin had paid in 30 hours of not being able to keep in liquid and 48 hours of little food.  My morning had started with the littlest one and I in the shower trying hard to wash away the sickly stench. I had to call Derek home from work so I could catch enough sleep to be able to handle the sick trio with sanity.  He’s gone now while I clean up the baby and get them all down for naps.


Motherhood is far from glamorous. In fact, on days like this I might just want to pack up and run away. Oh, but what is puke if everything I have is grace? Grace. Puke is grace. But how?

I stop tapping at the keys a minute here while the three sleep and spend time in prayer with a bottle of diluted bleach over a high chair and my table.  It’s not easy to see puke as grace.  It’s not easy to choose gratitude over bitterness. Nothing worth doing is easy.

The table though cleaned with bleach still bears blue and yellow marks.  And I am the same.  This roiling boiling cauldron of selfishness and discontent and frustration seething just under the surface.

“But God!”  Peter had preached these words just two weeks ago.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,  even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:4-7

Puke is grace because it shows me how much I need Jesus.  How ugly and messy I am without the saving power of grace.  How ugly and mess I am when I refuse to see even puke as the grace pointing toward the proudly self-sufficient heart beating violently within.

This messy smelly puke it is grace because it points me to Him.  To “the immeasureable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”  To that place of blissful surrender that says the plans I have are not the ones that He has for me and His plans are in fact better for my own good.

Sometimes I need to be brought low to the reality of earthly motherhood so I can recognized the beauty of the perfect heavenly Father. So I can recognize just how much He loves me in all my filthy sin-soaked sheets and awake to the reality that He died to wash those sheets clean.

And, right here in this moment, puke contemplation gives me the grace to see what true love does.  So I wrap the soiled clothes and rags in a towel and carry them down to the now finished washing machine. It’s time to be washed clean again.