Updated: May 20, 2020
It's Saturday night and I'm curled up in my bed with my Macbook and these words. It was a long day at work, I didn't cook dinner, and I don't even feel bad about it tonight. The kids are in the living room watching The Office and now that they are several seasons into the series, the laughter is coming in more frequent waves. I'm more of a Friends person, but I can appreciate the dry humor some, too.
Today had no reason to be hard, really. It was a regular day. But I've found myself in a season of waiting that isn't the place I thought I'd be. The irony is that our world is going through a pandemic of pretty big proportions and so many of us aren't in the places we thought we'd be. My compassionate, enneagram number two heart wants to focus on the struggle of others and get lost in helping them, but instead I find myself in a place where Jesus is asking me to take care of myself first. I've put up a pretty big fight over this, trying to reason with Him that others need me more than I need me, but that wouldn't be the truth. I'd be hiding from the hard work He wants to do in my heart.
I need me, too. On the days like today where two empty chairs at a special table reminded me of a loss I'm still feeling deeply and the tears couldn't be stopped... On the days when joy overwhelms me and I can be sure that it's going to be okay... On the days I try to have it all together, but just don't... and on the days when I get real with Jesus and ask Him what the heck He is up to because I'm just not sure my heart can run the race anymore... I need me. I need to show up for myself. I need to sit at His dusty, well-traveled feet and know that He's got this. All I have to do is trust Him, and love myself enough to know that in this season of waiting I am enough. I need me, but not just me. I need Jesus in me.
So, here I am starting at the very beginning of something new, but something that isn't new in my heart. I've been stirring these words around in my spirit for nearly two decades, and a couple of weeks ago I spent 10 days putting them into a book about hope in the middle of the mess. I worry that as Christians we only want to talk about the good parts of what God is doing and we leave out the messiest things because they are hard to share, hard to hear, and hard to understand how a loving, good God can both allow their presence in our lives and still be faithful to see us through. And so my book, Hope Fully, was born out of the messes in my own life and all the ways a faithful God was my absolute hope... and all the ways, here in the waiting, that He still is.
Now that the book is written, I'm taking a break from the tears, am dreaming up branding ideas, and have busted out the sixty-four pack of crayons to choose colors I love. I'm coloring in the empty spaces of my heart and leaning into the lessons He is bringing. This process has healed places in me I didn't know I needed and opened wounds I didn't know I had closed too soon. It's given me a picture of just how good God has been to me from the very beginning of my life and a real sense of security knowing He isn't done with me yet. I can't wait to share it with you and hope that along the way it will help you to see your own messes for the beautifully broken work of art that they are.
I did't make dinner. I was at work all day and barely saw the kids. I hardly slept last night (or the night before) because of all the things stirring in my heart and all the prayers pouring from it, and I'm exhausted. But the episode of The Office playing in the living room has come to a close and my youngest son is figuring out the theme song on the piano. My daughter just came in to tell me about how one of her newest chickens figured out how to fly, and my oldest son got a heck of a lot of school work done today that he needed to catch up on and then he asked me how my day was. I'm proud of them. I'm lucky to have them. I'm not all that alone even when it feels like it. Even on the hard days I love our life. I hope as I open up our messy, downright beautiful life to you that you will see some of yourself in us, see hope in the hard things, and fall in love with your maybe messy life, too.
So why don't you pour yourself a cup of coffee, preferably from a french press, and let's get into the mess together.