Kristina Abbott is a member at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church. (Courtesy Photo | Kristina Abbott)

Kristina Abbott is a member at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church. (Courtesy Photo | Kristina Abbott)

Living & Growing: A cookie chaos confessional

Life is meant to be chaotic.

My house is always chaotic.

The dishwasher runs all day, the laundry pile on the couch is waiting to be folded and my kitchen is starting to resemble the Amazon rainforest with one counter serving as my nasturtium nursery. The other counter is home to my son’s class goldfish who think that they are ferocious piranhas.

My kitchen table has turned into craft central and my husband’s computer desk serves as his standby station during middle of the night or early morning calls for work. Our yard resembles a 1970s shag carpet and is adorned with balls, bikes and thankfully looks less lunar due to constant seeding and watering. Our children are typically running about the yard and neighborhood like headless chickens.

Some days, admittedly, I struggle with not having the image of what is perceived as a cookie cutter life. Manicured lawn, spotless house, prim and proper children, high-paying jobs that bring in the bacon and swell our egos… a life of ease.

[Living & Growing: Spiritual work has to be lived out]

Thankfully, I do not think these thoughts often. Typically, these thoughts creep in after I have sleepily stepped out of bed and into a pile of dog poop after the dog had an accident. Or while I am barking orders at the kids to get their chores done for what seems like the millionth time. I wonder if the neighbors have the same struggle with their children I think “Do they have to threaten to pull the car over because their children are passionately fighting over who has more freckles?” Some days, I feel like my children would fit in Northern Ireland or Scotland far more than they do here in America due to how they express their convictions, stubbornness and mischievousness. Just the other day, my two sons ended up in a heated debate over an untimely death of a garden slug. My oldest was convinced that the act of pouring salt on a slug was a heinous crime, and my youngest son thought it was cool. He viewed himself as hero for eradicating the creature from future invasion into our garden. The debate was comical, but I wonder if families have as much sibling bickering as we do.

After making craft kits last night for the summer lunch program at our church, I peeked into the messy rooms and smiled at my snoring babes’ snug in their beds. I went to bed with a happy, contented heart. It profoundly hit me; life is meant to be chaotic. Life is not meant to be perfect. Ultimately, our Lord has a plan for each of us, and this thought reassures me when life seems out of control. Right now, our world is undoubtedly going through a lot. We are living in the middle of a global pandemic; our nation alone is going through unfathomable turmoil. Some days, it feels like the world is becoming darker and the light at the proverbial tunnel seems so far away.

One of my favorite Bible verses that provides comfort in times of chaos is found in the book of Isaiah.

“So do not fear, for I am with you;

“do not be dismayed, for I am your God.

“I will strengthen you and help you;

“I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

— Isaiah 41:10

Looking at all the chaos in the world, and seemingly the chaos found within my home and

looking at it in an optimistic light helped put chaos into a different perspective for me. Our Lord is that light at the end of the tunnel. He lights our path so we can navigate the dark, crumbling and extremely imperfect world.

Embrace the chaos and know that the Lord will uphold you with his right hand. When you are exhausted from cleaning the living room for the umpteenth time in your day, or when you are wondering why your life is lacking ease and cookie cutter perfection …. Remember, life is not supposed to be cookie cutter perfect. Life, much like a cookie can crumble but, in the end, it is still a sweet treat. There is beauty and joy to be found even in chaos and imperfection.

• Kristina is a member at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church. “Living Growing” is a weekly column written by different authors and submitted by local clergy and spiritual leaders.

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