When we got into the car after church, I could feel it.
I was emotionally drained.
Though incredibly grateful she came to church this morning, I was equally grateful it was time to take her home, honestly. My grand plans for the remainder of the day were…..absolutely nothing, save for cleaning our filthy house.
But then she asked it, the question I’d secretly been dreading, “can I stay a little longer?”
We had a whirlwind weekend filled with some single-daddying at a chilly Easter Egg hunt, while I spontaneously attended a writing conference I’d heard about only the day before. To say the house reflected the cyclone of activity that occurred the past 24 hours was an understatement. When I walked out of the house this morning, I locked the door behind me, relieved we weren’t having anyone over today and I could deal with the mess after church.
But I knew I couldn’t turn her away. “That’s totally fine,” I said. “Just so you know, our house is a disaster and I’m not sure what we’re having for lunch. But we’ll figure it out.”
She looked at me, eyes still bloodshot from service but also shining with relief, and simply said, “Mom, I don’t care.”
We drove the short two minutes home and walked through the front door. I cringed a little inside. It was we-gotta-sweep-the-carpet-before-we-can-even-vacuum BAD. I reminded myself she didn’t care, and maybe her house was even worse inside, but just to make myself feel better I said, “Well, kids, the plan for today is to get the house picked up again, ok?” Because somehow it doesn't seem as awful if we know it’s bad and planned on picking it up, right? Or at least these are the things I tell myself.
There were groans all around as I preheated the oven and dug some chicken tenders and tater tots out of the freezer for lunch. But not a peep from her. While I scurried around preparing lunch, she meandered about the family room after the baby, picking up garbage from the floor, putting away baby toys, and setting shoes in the shoe bins. She wasn’t at all bothered by our mess -- she was just so happy to be invited in.
And I couldn’t help but see Jesus again, right there in the flesh, eyes bloodshot alongside mine, weeping with me in my pain and sin.
I couldn’t help but see Jesus, who isn’t put off by the mess in my heart but rather simply longs to be invited in.
I couldn’t help but see Jesus, who sees my need for help when I don’t even know how to ask. Jesus, who kneels on the floor with my filth and begins to tidy up, gradually making all things new.
And I began to wonder if in our striving for perfection, we miss the gift of presence. In our struggle to be perceived as having it all together, how often we forsake the privilege of beholding Jesus.
After the last piece of garbage was placed in the trash, the table cleared off, and all the bellies filled with food, I was so thankful that, in spite of myself, I said “Yes” to that inconvenient question. Because today, it made all the difference. For everyone.