Last night, a drizzly Saturday, I was walking from the sanctuary building towards the youth building, jumping from one crack in the pavement to the next, talking with a young friend. This young friend of mine has a knack for words and story telling. She was enthusiastically telling me tales of the things she’d seen happen in this church. As I walked slowly, she bounced around me, excitedly relaying the stories of how God has shown His glory in this church. As we walked down hallways, up stairways, and around corners, we began discussing how blessed we are as a congregation to have this new facility to rent, comparing it to our last building which had many issues. Suddenly she (slightly) slows down and stops bouncing, her face becoming serious, she says, “Sadie, how do you always have your life together?”
I was taken aback by this unexpected question. It really came out of the blue and I didn’t have an answer right away. When I didn’t reply quickly enough, she continued, “I’ve never seen you unhappy or angry at the world, like me, and you’re always dreaming and doing something big!” She looked at me expectantly. “Honey, I don’t have anything together,” I reflected on my week which, in all honesty, sucked. My family is in a lot of financial pressure and it seemed as if everything that could go wrong did. From both of my parents working, a van that needs a new engine, seven kids who need to be fed, raised and educated, outside responsibilities and strained relationships inside the family…we are all exhausted.
Personally, I’ve been feeling emotionally exhausted. As my dad works during the day and my mom works through the night, she comes home and needs to sleep, leaving me to make sure the kids don’t set the house on fire. I was never angry or upset about this. My mom needs and deserves more rest than she is getting. But I had been feeling frustrated with the situation. On top of that was piled school, planning my life, relationships, outside commitments, and not being able to talk to my best friend through all of it. I was beginning to feel spiritually drained as well. I didn’t see that the stress I was in was causing me to revert to old feelings of sadness and disappointment. I unwittingly accepted the lie that the happiness God had given me a couple months ago did not last like He said it would. This lead to even more despair and confusion. I ultimately felt lost.
But, of course, we have a good, good Father who does not let us wallow in sadness, but gets on His knees and lifts us up out of it. He showed me how utterly human I am. I am completely helpless, completely dependent, and completely in need of a savior. All these emotions I was attempting to handle by myself are simply human and not necessarily bad or wrong. But trying to go through life without Him never leads to anywhere. All week long I had been praying, saying “help me, God, I’m hurting…etc.” But never once did I let Him respond. I didn’t let Him guide me, love on me, or raise me up like He so desperately desired to. I gave into the bad habit of thinking ‘I can do it just fine.’ I had forgotten that my God -the One who is offering peace, relief, and joy- is the One who created my emotions. He knows my circumstances. And He is ready, willing, even eager to hold my hand and lift my face.
This entire revelation was dropped like a bomb on me in about the span of 3 seconds, while I stood there, looking at my young friend’s curious face. Suddenly. Suddenly. God loves to work suddenly. He loves surprises. Thats a fun subject to talk about, however, I’ll save it for a later post and won’t get off track here. So, this peace bomb of a revelation fell on me and I finally had an answer, “I don’t have anything together. He holds me together. And sometimes it looks messy, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t perfect”
“Oh…so what do you do when its messy? How do you fix it? ‘Cause my life is really messy”
“You don’t fix it. God doesn’t fix you or your life, He makes all things new. And when things are messy, you can learn to see it as beautiful because you are human and you need Him to make all things new.”
We got to our destination and she left to talk to a friend. I turned to see another one of my friends and decided to think about this revelation later and be with my people. Later that night, after our worship band meeting, after dinner, after nighttime routine, I started thinking about this revelation again. I believe it. I absolutely, totally believe it. Then a thought came to me, “am I even qualified to share that? I didn’t even know that for myself a few minutes ago. Does that make me a hypocrite?” I got in bed and prayed and journaled. He told me, “You’re not a hypocrite. You can’t be because its not you teaching, its me. Its all me. I am working in and of you, just let me love” That gave me a lot of clarification and confidence in my leadership, which is a beautiful subject. Leadership is all about surrender. But I’ll make a post about that another time and end this one here.
My life is beautiful and messy and sometimes its really hard BUT my God is greater, stronger and more full of love than I could ever imagine. So I have every right and every ability to smile and truly be happy through tough circumstances. And I need to -and will- make the choice to trust Him and let Him take my hand. My life is His and He has my heart.