Before I became a mother, my life was clean, mess-free and "perfect". I had perfect routines and schedules for myself, I always had a top-notch clean home to come back to, and I had Excel spreadsheets detailing my exact plans for life – organised and colour-coded and filed away neatly in large binding files.
I enjoyed a mess-free life, and I enjoyed the peace and quiet that came with it. However, my life became too plain – too boring and sterile. I also felt a deeper longing for something else. I took my husband, my life and my relationship with God for granted. I didn't need my husband or God, as my life was "perfect" enough.
Then I became a mum. Recently, a good friend of mine became a new mum. She had done amazing things in her life, both herself and her husband serving in the military. A high achieving couple that had been through the toughest of times, they had been high-school sweethearts and were simply down-to-earth people.
During one of our late-night conversations about motherhood, she commented, "I've done amazing things with my life, but there is nothing like a newborn to humble you and bring you down to your knees".
The ultimate adventure
I pondered that for a while, and I realised that while my life was clean and organised, I felt it was void of meaning. I thought, as long as I relied on myself, and kept the mess and chaos out, my life would be manageable. But then, in July 2015, my life got turned upside down and inside out.
Although I now see myself as a "graduate" of the tumultuous and highly stressed newborn period, I still cannot forget how tough it was during the first few months of having a newborn in our lives.
We were sleep-deprived beyond belief, and my top-notch home fell into days of piled dishes in the sink, stacks of laundry, countless dirty nappies, unpredictable routines and just a general loss of self. It was easy for me to fall into depression, especially when I was used to the "perfect" life I had before my daughter came along.
The ultimate test
But it was during this messy and chaotic time in my life that I found a whole new perspective and reliance on God again, like never before. Instead of being tempted to give up and fall into self-doubt and pity, I prayed fervently, listened to Christian music, read Scripture when I could, and just spoke to God for real. And He not only delivered, He brought me through it all.
"The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure" – 1 Corinthians, chapter 10, verse 13.
Every now and then, when my life starts to get messy and chaotic again, and I feel tempted to complain and ask God "Why?", I remember what it was like to be knee-deep in mess and chaos, and how at the end of all that, something spectacular and remarkable came out of it all.
I have a sweet nearly one-and-a-half-year-old, whose smile can erase every single bad day I have, whose hugs melt my heart, whose laughter intoxicates me, whose little body I check on every night and watch sleeping, and who gives me a new perspective in life because I know she is a perfect gift from God. Every day I see God's glory in her and through her.
A surprising discovery
I used to hate mess and chaos, but now I have learned that it's only through the darkest, messiest and most chaotic moments in life that we truly find God. The One who remains faithful when we are faithless, the One who gives us hope when we feel hopeless, the One who gently holds our hands, the One who blesses us with love and support from family and friends. He is the one constant in all the chaos.
I have learned now just to let go of my worries, anxiety, perfectionism, and need to be in control, and just to simply allow Jesus to be the bearer of my burdens. Jesus wants nothing more than a relationship with us. Jesus came down to earth to save the sick, and the needy; not the rich and the well.
He understands we all come from a broken place, even if we do not want to admit it to ourselves. All we have to do is believe and have faith that if He has brought us to it, He will bring us through it.
And when we accept Jesus in our lives, and begin a relationship with Him, it is nothing short of incredible the things God will do in your life, family, marriage, relationships, work and so much more.
I know I've had to learn and relearn what it means to have a relationship with God. My relationship with God is constantly evolving, but I know that "God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them" – Romans chapter 8, verse 28.
Clarissa Yates is from Singapore but moved to live in Perth, Western Australia in 2008. Clarissa is a mum to 1, runs a home-based cake business, Lollicakes and currently works at the University of Western Australia in mesothelioma research. www.lollicakes.com.au
Clarissa Yates' previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/clarissa-yates.html