Friday, February 27, 2015

when your mess is exposed

I rode behind the truck for at least five miles before I realized it.  The conversation with my friend on the other end of the phone had me so captivated that I wasn't paying attention to what was happening.  When the wet streaks began hitting my windshield I turned on the wipers assuming it was the snow they had predicted.  It sure was messier than any snow I remembered, but...whatever.

When I finally noticed the giant sprayers on the back of the bright yellow truck directly in front of me, it dawned on me - this might not be snow.  And, in fact, it was not.  It was salt.  And by this point the entire front end of my minivan was covered.  Good grief.  I am an idiot.

The good news was - the messiness of the exterior of my car now matched the messiness of the interior of my car.  I'd be willing to bet there are not many people on the road today who can look around and find themselves surrounded by a scooter, random food containers, cans of paint, tools, candlesticks, coats, shoes, a lone dog slipper, a bathroom vanity light, dozens of coloring books, stray markers, and piles of trash.
I can.

It's an analogy for my life really.
There is usually a mess on the inside that needs cleaning up but I keep the outside presentable.
You know the drill...
You take a shower,
put on cute clothes
speak nice words
and everyone thinks - she really is great.
Then something pushes me over the edge and I can't keep up the outward appearance anymore.  I don't have time for a shower.  I forget to brush my teeth.  None of my clothes look cute so I opt for yoga pants and my words go from nice to nasty.  Everyone sees me for who I really am - far from pretty and perfect.

But sometimes it's a relief, isn't it?  To admit that you have your struggles just like everyone else.  To concede that you can't be strong and nice and even clean all the time.

It happened to me last night.

After a long day of hard work and unmet expectations and stir crazy kids, my mess was exposed.  I showed up to dinner with the rest of my family wearing dirty jeans and a sweatshirt and a greasy head of hair.  I couldn't find any proper shoes for Lucy so she walked through the icy puddles in the parking lot wearing flip flops.  I was short and abrupt with Joey and the kids.  And you can only imagine what happened when the waitress forgot one of our entrees and it was 30 minutes late coming out {okay...maybe it was three minutes late but it seemed like 30}!

I felt the ugly anger boiling up inside of me and as much as I tried to suppress, it came seeping out right onto our poor waitress.  After I made my frustration known to her she didn't apologize but tried to make some excuse and turned around and walked off.  The nerve!  It was about to be explosion time for me.  And you want to talk about 'not pretty'?  Oh boy.

I forced myself to close my eyes and silently offer a breath of a prayer that could have been translated:
Help!  I don't want to rub my ugly mess all over this poor woman or my family but I can't clean it up right now.  It's too big of a job and I'm running on too little fumes.  Take the mess of me away so that I can be filled with the grace of You.

In response I received a simple order.
Apologize.
Well that was the LAST thing I wanted to do.  What I really wanted to do was ask to speak to the manager or write a nasty review.  As our waitress returned to the table I could tell she was hardened towards me.  I did that to her.  She wouldn't make eye contact or smile.  She just sat the plate on the table and in that moment I made myself follow the order.

I just want to apologize to you.
Only the first few words had to be choked out.  The rest flowed out of my mouth like water.  Cleansing water.
I am so sorry if I came across as frustrated and angry earlier.  We've had a long day and I'm tired and I shouldn't have taken it out on you.
And she wouldn't let me finish before she interrupted with her own apology and her soft, kind eyes.  And in an instant the mess was cleaned up.  The one on the outside and the inside.  A few minutes later she returned with a coupon for a free meal.

In that place
where I stop striving and start surrendering
where I let go of pride and grab hold of humility
where I offer up my weakness in exchange for His strength
the mess I've been carrying is wiped clean.

Yours is too.

Now if only it were that simple with my car...

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

we are the people of the cross

My 5 year old loves to complain.  If we're going somewhere other than exactly where he wants to go he crumbles at the knees and tells me
it's SO far
he's SO tired
his legs hurt SO bad
and I just have to laugh and roll my eyes and sarcastically say - I know, it's such a long hard road isn't it buddy?

Friday, February 13, 2015

{when} five-minute-friday

{linking up today with a few friends for five-minute-friday}
When will this be over?
When will I heal?
When will I finally get an answer?
When will this dream come true?
When will it stop, start...

If I'm not careful all my 'whens' are
a bitter little voice asking impatient questions
demanding
future-focused
stealing the joy that could be found here and now
setting my heart and mind on what I want instead of what I already have.

I'm like a child asking over and over from the backseat of the car - When will we be there!?  
Or from the aisle of the store - When can I get more Star Wars Legos!?
Or from under the covers - When will it be morning!?

But God loves this childish, misguided heart of mine anyway.  A child who doesn't know what is best for her.  Lovingly he withholds answers we don't need and turns us back to the ones we already have.

We find freedom and peace when our 'whens' become something different.
Grace-filled statements instead of grumbling questions.

When I was still a complete mess of a person he didn't just say he loved me, he showed me.  

He proved it by taking the weight of this broken-down world on his shoulders until it crushed him.  He did that - for me and for you.  When there was nothing - in this world, in our hearts, in our hands - he made something.

That is the the one 'when' statement that answers all our 'when' questions.
And the answer is this - He already has...
And it's more than enough.  It's everything.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

a tuesday morning pep talk for you {and me}

You were created.
You didn't just 'happen'.
Regardless of the circumstances surrounding your birth, you were thoughtfully made before you ever took your first breath.

You possess a unique
design
passion
purpose.

That sneaking, lying, no-good voice will try to tell you
There are already plenty of people doing 'that thing'.
Lots of people do 'that thing' better than you ever could.
You don't have enough time or enough talent to do 'that thing'.
You've missed your chance.
You're too old, too young, too busy...

Thursday, February 5, 2015

when the breath has left the room {and my hormones step in}

Breathing room.
I've been thinking a lot about it,
writing a lot about it,
talking a lot about it.
I've basically been beating it like a dead horse {in the most graceful way}.

I think it's helping because I am finding my own breathing room more and more these days.  But then again, sometimes
   I. FAIL. MISERABLY.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

when it's time to come home

This weekend someone I love came home.
She's been gone for quite awhile.
The conditions she's been living in the past couple of months have been harsh.

Monday, January 19, 2015

the choices we make

It’s quiet and warm in here.  

The floors are covered in rich thick wood with darker shades of uneven grain.  The walls are soft and creamy.  

Someone took care in choosing the furniture and positioning the accessories.  The black and white picture of the boat resting on the edge of a lake is my favorite.  It hangs above a small black chest with a bowed front and curved legs that look like they might begin dancing at any moment.  The color of the five little candles lining the buffet table is lovely too.  It reminds me of the ocean.

Saturday, January 17, 2015