“Just leave it all, sweetie. Leave the mess. I love having the mess around me, because it means you all were around us today. In fact, I may even leave it until tomorrow just so it feels like a piece of each of you is still here.”

Goodness.

What incredible perspective.

A grandmother’s point of view, with an empty nest.

And a mother’s point of view, with a full one.

The moment kind of took my breath away.

And filled my heart with such a bittersweet reminder.

Just how often I hustle and bustle to pick up our home’s messes. Just how often I get after our little ones to “please” straighten up. Just how often I sigh and quietly grumble under my breath. Just how often I wish for even just 10 minutes of a straightened home.

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A few years ago, I read an article that broke my heart while simultaneously piecing it back together, with the most bittersweet reminder. The story was about a mother. A mother who lost her daughter at a young age. The first Christmas rolled around without her daughter. And as she sat on the living room floor and began to wrap presents, amidst the chaos of her other children and dog running through leaving a kite-tail of a mess with every step they took . . . she took a deep breath and swallowed her greatest wish of all, caught in her throat, as tears welled in her eyes. What this mother wouldn’t give to have her daughter back with their family, making messes everywhere. Stepping over her gift-wrapping station. Leaving cookie crumbs across the kitchen counter. Spilling her milk onto the floor.

What she wouldn’t give to have her daughter, and all her messes, back within their home, once again.

The words of the article never left my heart. I have tried with all my heart, even in the deepest, messiest trenches of motherhood, to be thankful. To praise God for the beauty of such a wonderfully chaotic life, right before my very eyes. Fresh within my worn hands. Overflowing my undeserving heart.

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Watching my parents lose my little brother at such a young age taught me to never, ever take life for granted. And so, I learned to continuously thank God above, every single day, for these beautiful messes.

Yet, in the hecticness of motherhood, we can still lose sight. Our huffs and groans tend to overpower our thankfulness. Our exhaustion and weariness tend to trump our gratitude. We plea for clean and tidy, all while forgetting what the messes truly mean.

But then, God?

He just has this incredibly remarkable way of quietly whispering into our overworked hearts and souls, just when we least expect it. And so very often, just when we need it the most.

And this weekend, He did just that. Through the gentlest, kindest voice on Earth: a grandma’s full heart after spending the day with her grandchildren, especially in the midst of such unprecedented times.

“Just leave it all, sweetie. Leave the mess. I love having the mess around me, because it means you all were around us today. In fact, I may even leave it until tomorrow just so it feels like a piece of each of you is still here.”

Oh, sometimes, those messes feel like they will simply break you.

But the real truth?

Those messes are actually what absolutely make you and keep you whole and complete.

Because with the messes, come the greatest blessings of all.

Liz Spenner

Liz is a former elementary teacher and now a stay-at-home mama to six little ones. She writes as an inspiration and encouragement to other women, and most especially mothers on her blog, www.gracefullywoven.net (where you can subscribe and receive her free Five-Day Mini-Motherhood Devotional!). Liz loves spending with her family, outside as often as possible, as well as sneaking a few moments to herself with a run, dark chocolate and writing, with her faith as her greatest motivation.