Why Messy?

DSCN8991

I not only get the feeling that others wonder this, but I also have people ask me outright …

“Why do you focus on the messy in marriage?”

It’s a valid question, since focusing on the positive in marriage is, … well, … positive!

On the other hand, I feel like there are many for whom the positive side of marriage or life is so hazy and distant that they can’t really relate.

But most of all, I believe that …

Sometimes God calls you to see the ugly, the broken, the desperate mess from His perspectivethe eternal, unseen, redemptive side.

When I was young and newly married, I wanted my marriage and spouse to be perfect, perpetually romantic and always filling my “love tank.” Instead, my experience in life and marriage seemed to be moving from one trial to another conflict to another marriage mess.

It wasn’t until I realized how God was using those “hardships” as refining tools in my life—making my life and marriage more about Him (Christ) and less about me and my satisfaction or image in this life—that I could embrace “messy marriage.”

What does it mean to embrace messy marriage?

  • It simply means that we recognize we’re sinners, falling short of God’s holiness every day (Rom. 3:23-24).
  • It means, we accept that we live in a fallen world, scarred and broken by sin.
  • It means, we recognize that we can’t fix the messes that we or our spouses make. 
  • It means, we aren’t afraid to admit our human frailty, because we know it welcomes the “wandering and weary” (ourselves included) to the truth.
  • Most of all, it means that we’re in perpetual pursuit of a surrendered heart to Christ, knowing that He alone can redeem the messes we make in life and marriage.

If you feel that your marriage and life are hard, harder than you ever imagined they would be, then you are in good company here. We will not sugar-coat our struggles. We will not preach perfected platitudes. We will not pretend to have it altogether because we’ve figured out how to perfectly execute steps “a, b and c” of some marriage manual.

But …

We will be real. We will be honest. We will point the way to the One who can redeem the hurts and the brokenness of our lives, choices and marriage messes. We will rely on Him alone to make a difference in our lives and marriages—instead of trying to place that heavy and unrealistic burden on our mates. And we will find hope and healing in life and marriage as we yield to God’s refining and purifying purposes in our lives.

Come along with us and embrace the mess that is marriage!

“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” —2 Cor. 12:9-10 (NIV)

photo credit – CCK_mom

**********

Linking up with NOBH, Playdates with God, Monday’s Musings and Matrimonial Monday

26 responses to “Why Messy?”

  1. I think “messy” is a great adjective. I heard a lesson a couple years ago on loving “messy” people and it stuck tight. I want to love messy people because I’M a messy person. Thankful that God loves messy people!

    Like

  2. Yes, Lisa, and until we recognize our “messiness” in this life, our marriages and relationships will continue to falter and ring untrue to the watching world. I know that you resonate with what we talk about here, because you talk about the messiness of life at your blog too. I’m grateful for a kindred spirit–in embracing the messy, my friend! Thanks so much for coming by!

    Like

  3. Thanks for the constant reminder Beth, that God uses the mess and pain to draw usclose to Him.. I often strive for a mess free relationship or life but that usually gets me in trouble! Your blog always points to Jesus who is the real answer to life and I’m seeing that a by product of focusing on Jesus first is a deeper more authentic relationship with my husband.

    Like

  4. Wonderful post. A nice intro to new people and a nice reminder to the rest of us.

    Like

  5. Amen. And well put. Have you read Keller’s book on marriage? Reminds me of how he and his wife describe marriage. Blessings!

    Like

  6. No, but it’s on my short list of “must read” books. I’ve heard so many great things about it. Thanks for your encouragement, Christina! I really appreciate it!

    Like

  7. That’s what I thought too. 🙂 Thanks so much, Heather! I appreciate all you do for MM.

    Like

  8. Preach it Beth!!!!!!!!!!

    Like

  9. Preach it Beth!!!!!!!!!!

    Like

  10. I love how you said, we will rely on Him ALONE! Wow, how much easier life would be if we could have total reliance on our Saviour. I know personally many of my messes happen because I begin to think that my spouse can do “something”-whatever that might be at the time – for me. He is imperfect just as I am but when we surrender to Christ – He and only He can make us complete (and clean up the messes)

    Like

  11. Great post Beth. I didn’t always understand that messy was acceptable to God, so i was always trying to clean up before coming to Him. I think marriage was a huge wake up call…you can’t do this alone! I am glad He loves and accepts messy..otherwise we’d be of all people most miserable..lol. God bless you and happy new year.

    Like

  12. It’s all about surrendering to Christ, isn’t it, Becky? Maybe that should be our word for the year! ha! I do want to learn how to be a better “surrenderer.” And I know when I do, my marriage will be better too. 🙂 Thanks so much for your continued encouragement, my friend. I treasure you!

    Like

  13. A “wake-up call” is right, Ngina! I know there are people who have relatively calm marriages, but even if that’s the case, “life alone” can be messy. Anyone who tells me otherwise, I feel is lying to me and themselves. As far as Christ accepting messy people, I’m right there with you, my friend, thanking Him with all my heart! Thanks so much for your encouragement, friend!

    Like

  14. Thanks so much, Jessica. I really appreciate you saying this. It’s high praise that we point the way to Jesus and it’s exactly what we’re aiming for. Your encouragement is greatly appreciated!

    Like

  15. Thanks so much, Kimberly. Can you guess? I figured out how to sync the wayward mobile comments into the thread! Yay! Now if I can keep this going … that’s the question. But back to your encouragement … it’s much appreciated!

    Like

  16. Oh, that’s why I love it here… I’m used to “messy”- and I am a great lover of the ONE who takes my messy and turns it into marvelous. Thanks for writing, for encouraging, and for stepping into another new year with eyes on Christ. I count it a blessing to call you friend. (Thanks too for the encouragement at the Overflow- your wise words were what I needed to hear this week) Blessings, Beth!

    Like

  17. I like that you get real here, Beth! I appreciate all the wisdom you share. I wish I had someone like you in my life when I was first married :). Most of my lessons? Learned the hard way. So much nicer to read and learn. Thank you for the ways you are always so transparent and encouraging.

    Like

  18. We can’t see the redemptive if we don’t open our eyes to the messy! That’s what helps put us, right where we need to be: “in perpetual pursuit of a surrendered heart to Christ, knowing that He alone can redeem the messes we make.” Yes! (And oh do I love that scripture! So big in my life!)Sylvia R @ sylvrpen.com

    Like

  19. look at YOU….tech savvy girl! I LOVE LOVE LOVE the pic you chose. My motto when my kids were litte was “A dirty kid’s a Happy Kid!” Applies to marriage too!

    Like

  20. I love this post, Beth, because it is the yin to my yang most days. With my blog, which you have read a bit, I fully intended the Monday Morning Bragging Wife to be one topic and to cover some of our messy stuff in other posts. But I’m finding that my writing time is not so plentiful so, lately, I only get to the bragging!I’m sure the messy stories with have their day as well and I agree that, when we get real about our struggles, EVERYONE can relate and find a need for Him in our marriages.Keep up the good work!

    Like

  21. Wow, Alicia! You bless “me” with your sweet words of encouragement. I truly feel blessed to call you friend as well. And love the authenticity you give “to us” and the full-out surrender you give to “Christ.” It’s evident in all of your writing. Thanks so much for making my day! 🙂

    Like

  22. Yes, I wish I knew then what I know now as well, Laura. Those early days of marriage can be so hard and confusing. That’s why I feel called to help all I can with His truth and love. You’ve greatly encouraged me here and at your blog as well, my friend!

    Like

  23. I don’t think we can see that truth, Sylvia, until we’ve gone through the messiness of life and depended on God to get us through. I guess that’s what Paul was talking about, ya think? 😉 Thanks so much for your sweet words, my friend. They brighten my day!

    Like

  24. I didn’t really set out to share about the “messiness” of my life and marriage at first. That was totally God directing (or redirecting) me. And it still is God nudging me, since it’s hard to put myself out there from this perspective all the time. But you get that, don’t you, Colleen? I’m glad I have a co-laborer in the reality of a messy life that’s yielded to Christ! 🙂

    Like

  25. Wish I had a like button for your comment. I totally agree about the “dirty kid” part. And thanks so much for your sweet role in my life, Kimberly!

    Like

  26. Thank you for your honesty, Beth. Marriage and life are messy, at times, well most times! I resonated with your words, “When I was young and newly married, I wanted my marriage and spouse to be perfect, perpetually romantic and always filling my “love tank.” I think most of us think this way. After all, everything is new-a new gown, suit, shower gifts, etc, It isn’t messy…yet. But what a joy to find God, not just in the new stuff, but in the messy old stuff as well. Thank you for posting and linking with us at NOBH. Every blessing, Kelly

    Like

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: