Friday, April 29, 2011

Just As I Am (After I Try To Fix The Really Bad Things Myself)

Just over a year ago, my life was turned on its ear. It was still my life. I had not suffered a great loss, like so many that I love. But I remember a long string of days where I cried in the shower. I had officially become that cliche. It was strange to me, because I did not understand the source of it all. I couldn't articulate why my heart felt bruised, when there was really nothing to show for it. I couldn't wrap my mind around how something could feel perfectly right and painful, at the very same time.

It all started with the teeth incident.

The teeth incident turned into the great job losses of 2010.

The job losses turned into a big red sign in our yard.

So here we are, another foxtrot around the sun under our belts.

The sign in the yard isn't red anymore, but it's still there. It keeps toppling over so we stand it back up.

Who knows whether we'll stay or whether we'll go. But we have placed into the hands of Jesus something that ranked, at one time, too high on our priority list. You take it. Do with it what you please.

I glance over my shoulder and I see a girl trying to steady herself against the ground moving beneath her. Everything I thought I had done so right wasn't right at all, and even crazier? It didn't really matter. It was never God's ideal for me to do everything "right". I don't think he cared so much whether or not my kid had cavities. I don't think he was bragging to Moses about his Girl who was so wise with her money and lived such a lovely, quiet life in a lovely home in a lovely, quiet community.

He wasn't disappointed in these things either, but he knew that my life lacked the zing! that comes with loosening my grip on all those things which I held onto so ferociously. He knew that safety was a lie. He knew that life was so much bigger. And he knew that I could handle it.

So he reached down and shoved those strong rocks that made me feel so steady.

He reached in and taffy-pulled my heart.

He reached out and de-fogged the glasses of my soul with the hem of his t-shirt.

He climbed towers with a megaphone and screamed out cheers for me.

He sent me flowers and salsa and *you*.

He huddled Cory and I up super-tight and tied us together with a new, shared purpose.

We began praying, all those months ago, that we might land a part in his big jaw-dropper of a show. As it turns out, we had always been on the playbill. We had just simply failed to show up.

Here's what I can tell you for sure: If you ask for God to bring new people into your life, He will do it. We weren't really sure that we had the time - our lives were already so busy. We weren't sure that we could relate to the world around us - it had become terrifyingly clear that we had both lived our lives under the "protective" bubble that so easily sneaks up and covers Christians.

Still, we prayed.

One by one, broken people showed up at our rickety door.

And the table always could stretch a little further and the jar of oil never ran out.

In sharing a meal with friends whose laundry could use a hearty washing, we saw the filth in our own hearts. In playing board games with kids who have seen more than I ever care to, we recognized that we all want the same things: We want to connect. We want to be loved. We want to strip away the masks that we foolishly believe save our face and we want to just lose it.

Robert wants to believe that our love for him is just as strong when he tattoos the tops of both hands and is kicked out of school again.

Charlie wants us to see him as every single good thing that he is, despite the fact that his steadiest mailing address has been the state prison.

Renee wants to dare herself to believe that it was never about what she did or didn't "deserve".

Nancy wants to feel like she can be a good mom to her unborn baby, even if she doesn't have one tangible thing to offer her when she arrives.

You know what I want? I want every last one of them to see themselves as they are seen by the Only One who matters. I want them to believe that what He says is true. I want them to watch in amazement as He shows up in ways that no one else possibly could. I want them to feel cherished and included.

I also want all of those things for myself. And for you.

God can fix their brokenness and He can fix mine. All of it. Without me. The question is, do I really believe that? And if I say that I do, what does that mean?

We are all, every one of us, in a big heap of trouble without Grace. It covers. Can you feel it?