I wrote this two weeks ago, but somehow, it feels appropriate to post today, as the Christmas euphoria fades. Funny thing -- my house looks almost the same now as it did then. I promise I picked up after I wrote this! But a clean house waits for no man.

The milk sits on the counter next to the coffee creamer. The bread is still out, next to the still-open jar of peach jelly. The blackberries are on the stove top and the washcloth is on the high-chair next to the soggy Cheerios. The table where I’m sitting with my laptop is covered in small sticky spots that are probably dried milk from breakfast.

The living room is wall-to-wall Little People. Legos and cars and scraps of paper from Natalie’s latest self-invented game cover every flat surface.

Home as metaphor. Life unfinished. A work in progress. Two steps forward, one step back. Messy. Active. Always on the go.

It’s my reality these days.

I love being a mom to four. That sounds a little trite, a little too easy. But it’s true. My heart soars everyday to see these sweet little face. (This despite the fact that I’m so tired, it feels like I wear exhaustion like a wet pair of jeans.)

Kieran is growing so fast. He’s sitting up solidly now (after a few weeks of sitting up and then randomly falling backwards and knocking his noggin). He’s got two toofers. He is starting to get up on all fours and rock (hold me), and he’s pretty good at scooting around the living room on his belly. (Evidence: Last night, I set him down in the middle of the room. Five minutes later, I found him near the Christmas tree with an ornament in his mouth, a pink foam creation I made when I was in kindergarten. If a disease wiped out in the mid-70s is rediscovered in our house next week, you’ll know why.)

And Teyla. Oh my goodness. She grows more Teyla-like every day. She walks around my house, all giggles and sass. She bosses the dog. (“Keh-nole Sami! Keh-nole!”). She bosses her Dad. (“No Dadee! I no want to wear dat. I want dis one!”) She bosses her siblings. (“Kids! Put on yowr shoes now!”) She bosses me. (“I not going to bed Mamma. I play witt my amials instead.”) Her little voice slays me, and her zest for life drives to me consume two cups of coffee a day, minimum.

Combine those two with their older siblings and a traveling husband and a winter that’s come early bearing gifts, and you probably sense why I’m unfinished. I just don’t have enough time. Enough energy. Enough me.

There was a time in my life when I would have been frustrated by this way of life. To wake up each morning brimming with stories and idea and never have a free minute to sit at the computer. To make dinner each night and have most of it get cold before I can eat it. To pick up all the toys after the kids go to bed only to have them scattered hither and yon again before 9:00 AM. To move the items on today’s To Do List to tomorrow and act like that’s the way it was supposed to be.

And yes, I can get annoyed. My inner control freak has been known to grumble at the chaos. I get itchy when the clutter gets thick. And there are days when I rush everyone into bed so I can sit on the couch and hear … nothing for just two seconds.

But most of the time, I don’t live frustrated. I live fulfilled. In the midst of the crazy, God’s glory shines. I see the gifts before me and my breath catches.

My heart’s palette has been retrained by the Holy Spirit to crave the soul-satisfaction of gratefulness. And like manna, that dish is best eaten today. Even in the chaos. Even in the mundane.

My life is unfinished. But God has given me today.
This is God's work.
We rub our eyes—we can hardly believe it!
This is the very day God acted—
let's celebrate and be festive!
Salvation now, God. Salvation now!
Oh yes, God—a free and full life!
What grace.


  1. As I sit here.. with empty boxes waiting by the door, toys scattered and a kitchen floor begging to be mopped from the aftermath of a sugary filled Christmas, I'm so encouraged by your post. I'm slowly working to that place... that place of resting and living in the now. I fight it so much and stress myself (and my family) out over it. But God has and continues to do a work in my life in this area of life with little ones!

  2. A big YEP from me. That's all I have time for, but I *mean* it in big long paragraphs. xo

  3. Beautiful. Love it. I can just imagine what your home was like Christmas morning!

  4. Sitting near my son while he watches mickey mouse, I feel grateful for this respite :) my body is aching in tiredness inside out and can0t wait for no 2 to come forth. I am happy however in my own way by the way things are happening. Thanks for this post

  5. Kelly, I understand your brand of crazy. And I love these posts, because they remind me, as a Mommy to be so thankful for all the little blessings that my children bring me. They also remind me as a Christian, to be so thankful for the grace and the many many blessings HE has given me.

  6. Yes, exactly. This.
    I have only half the number of children, but I think the mess and chaos and unfinished-ness are on par. ;-) At times, I'm certain the pre-mother, mid-career me wouldn't recognize the current me. And would never believe it when I told her I've never been happier...

  7. Hi Kelly, it is the very first time I am reading your blog, and this post encouraged me so much. Unfinished is how I feel everyday and I have only one child (feel free to laugh now). Some days I feel so frustrated saying things like "Stop eating stuff from the floor, stop scrounging the trash, no pulling books" and then I do it all again the next day, lather, rinse, repeat.

    It was so nice to come here. Thank you for the encouragement.