I woke up on Saturday. Yesterday’s jeans lay on the floor where I’d left them. There was a dried spot of regurgitated milk on the left thigh, and a streak of garden dirt across the shins. They were stretched out in all the places that you want jeans to stretch in. But it was Saturday. Of course, this doesn’t make much difference to a homeschooling, stay-at-home mom of sleep-defying toddlers, whose husband generally works weekends. So to celebrate in the only way possible, I spit on the laws of the cultural laundry gurus. And wore yesterday’s pants.
It is true that as a homeschooling, stay-at-home mom of sleep-defying toddlers, whose husband works weekends, I have the right to wear yoga pants pretty much 24-7. If I want. But I realized somewhere in the past decade that yoga pants are good for yoga. And lounging. And sleep. And any time you’re not on the clock. But they are not good for homeschooling, stay-at-home moms of sleep-defying toddlers, whose husbands work weekends. Because those moms are not doing yoga. Or lounging. They are definitely not sleeping. And they are, almost constantly, on the clock. They – I – wear a lot of hats. But more importantly, as chief cook and bottle washer in this joint – I have to wear the pants.
So I make it a point to get dressed every morning, even if I’m not stepping a foot beyond the front porch all day. The most rebellious I get is wearing yesterday’s pants. Don’t they say to dress for the job you want, not necessarily the job you have? I want the job of a homeschooling, stay-at-home mom – who has it all together.
Which I don’t.
I came downstairs on Saturday morning and put some eggs in a pot to hard boil. My husband left, coffee in hand, for a long day at the store. He’d come home after the kids were in bed the night before, and wouldn’t be home during the children’s waking hours until the middle of the next day. So it was my job to hold down the fort.
The kids pattered down the stairs at exactly 7:02 a.m. (They have to stay in their beds quietly until 7 for the sanity of all humanity.) Chocolate milk spilled at exactly 7:05. Yet another of our old Berenstain Bears book covers was ripped off at 7:08. The first fight of the day was broken up at 7:11 (they were late for the day.) I nursed the baby for approximately 7 minutes until I remembered the eggs. All the water was gone and the bottom of the pot was red hot. So I threw away half a dozen slightly charred eggs around 7:19. (We eventually got around to eating bananas and cold cereal an hour later.) We dug through the laundry piles to find clothes for everyone. I put the toddler’s pants on the 4 month old. I didn’t notice. The toddler himself never got around to having pants until nearly lunch time. He uses them as a napkin anyway, so it was probably for the best.
Wearing the pants doesn’t mean I do everything right. I am tired. I am frazzled. Maybe it’s spring where you are, but I have been in the same season for a decade. It’s the end of a hard school year in a really small house with a crazy toddler and a new baby and oh my the clutter. My house was built before Americans were hoarders and there isn’t a single closet on the 1st floor and only a couple curtained off storage corners upstairs. Stuff. Is. Everywhere. Stuff can own you, not because it’s worth much, but because it requires so much. Take the dishwasher, for instance. Please. It currently stinks because of old food buildup in its drain. On Saturday, I had to pull on my big girl pants and clean it. It is slimy down there. Dark. Mysterious. And my almost two year old desperately wanted to join me because clearly it must be fun. Why else would the lower half of Mommy’s five foot frame keep flailing to keep him from jumping on the dishwasher door and shaking the countertop loose? It seemed like something out of a bad sci-fi movie where the evil alien slime robot sneaks into the house through the dishwasher drain and sucks unsuspecting homemakers out with yesterday’s congealed oatmeal. (Which I’m not worried about here, because the drain is so full of yesterday’s oatmeal that he’d have to give up and try the neighbors instead. We’re safe.) It was not glamourous. It did not seem glorious.
But it was glorious. It truly was. I’m learning this. God is most glorified when I am elbow deep in ancient bacon grease, because I am there doing the work He has given me. The work of God is generally the dirtiest, most repugnant, least obvious. It is the most needful. If Jesus were walking the earth today, He would not be found in a sharp suit next to the proud CEO of a new non profit hospital on the front page. You would be better off looking for Him holding back the ponytail of the tired single mom cleaning toilets on the old geriatric wing.
And He was there Saturday morning. With me. Hallowing my dishwasher as I knelt before Him in yesterday’s pants. One thing I’ve learned – you don’t need to dress up to meet your Maker. In fact, many a conversation we’ve had as I stood too long in the shower, wishing I didn’t have to get out and face another snotty faced toddler or explain fractions or pay bills or wipe hot foreheads or stinky bottoms or watch my husband stagger as he brings home the hard-won bacon.
He is not God just at weddings and funerals and Sundays.
He is God at 2 a.m. when the whole world minus the baby wants to be sleeping.
He was God on Monday afternoon when the toddler dunked the iPhone in the muffin batter as my husband called to say he’d be working late.
He is God on the 12th round of chemo.
He is still God when good people die and bad men walk free on earth, when white is called black, when wrong is called right.
He is God who makes the sun rise again after a night when the world seems to have spun out of control.
He is God and I am not ashamed for Him to see me in yesterday’s pants because the uniform of the holy is made beautiful by stains of faithfulness.
He is God and He is good. Even at dawn on Saturday mornings when your phone sounds muffin-y and your house smells like burned eggs and nobody else is wearing pants. This is holy business, mamas. This is worship.