As a stay-at-home mom I often feel like my entire existence consists of making it look like life never happened.
Make the basement look like all the toys didn't get dumped.
Make the shirt look like it wasn't used as a napkin.
Make the window screen look like someone didn't cut it with scissors.
It can feel like I'm just undoing rather than creating, which is exhausting and unfulfilling.
But that's not exactly what I'm doing. While there are infinite messes to clean in motherhood, each time I say, "Let's clean this up together" or "How can we make this right?" I invite my children into the transformative process of purification. I work beside them as they learn to fix their mistakes, and when they have put forth their pathetic effort at sweeping or refolding clothes or using wood filler, I come behind and finish the job.
It feels like we are just ending the day where we started (if we're lucky), but something magical is happening in the process. The kids are learning how to clean, how to mend mistakes and relationships, how to apologize and to forgive. Their souls are stretching and growing. And as we continue day after day and year after year in what often seems like a mundane, repetitive process, they will eventually be ready to step into the role I now have.
It is the role of counselor, fixer, comforter, and teacher. It is a role that mirrors that of the Savior.
On the surface it may seem that the purpose of Christ's Atonement is just to "clean up" our mistakes--the ones that we make over and over and over again, and to make it seem like the tragedies and sins of life never happened. It is true that we can be fully and completely cleansed through the power of His grace. When we have put forth our pathetic effort to right our wrongs, He is our finisher.
But, His role is not merely to undo mistakes and get us back where we started mortality. It is to transform us into new creatures until we become like Him. He invites us into the purification process when he says, "Come now and let us reason together." In a sense He is saying of our sins, "Let's clean this up together" and He walks and works alongside us as our souls stretch and grow.
Truly, as parents we are His partners in this process, for messes and mistakes are the building blocks of both childhood and salvation.