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?

63 comments:

  1. what a blessing this post was! thank you :O)

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  2. Flip, this is a jaw-dropping post. Thank you. Xxx

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  3. So beautifully written and felt straight to my soul! Thank you!

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  4. This is beautiful.

    Thank you for taking the time for this gentle reminder of God's wonderful saving GRACE through every obstacle, every trial and heartache in our lives.

    FlowerLady

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  5. *tears* and i'm not a crier. He can. somewhere along the road i've trampled that promise...

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  6. hits home. i'm broken...but he can fix me.

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  7. this makes me think so much of the lessons from tattoos on the heart. that was the most wonderful book you talked about. and i love the thought of walking the walk and talking the talk. of taking the time to relate with people. to connect. i, for one, am glad to have you in my life. i know so many others are too. xoxo

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  8. I feel it. We are all in this together.

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  9. Shannan, what a blessing you are every day, but unusually so today. Beautifully said, heartfelt, words for all of us, and especially me! Thank you! Becky G. in GA

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  10. praising my king for his grace that covers me. i CAN feel it. my wretched soul has been taffy-pulled recently. when it hurts so badly, the uncertainty, the suffering-i know he is working hard. too often i try to help him *my way*. when will i ever learn!?
    thanks for another uncomfortable, timely and honest post. you bless my socks clean off. praise jesus.

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  11. Can I have this in a PDF file so that I can reopen day after day, mark it up with highlighter, and be given a good Godly kick in the pants on a regular basis?

    What a blessing. you. are.

    In letting go of what you held of such high priority, God has given you hands that are full of blessings and the gift of blessing people... in that same home. Sounds like a win-win :) Nothing like giving it up, just to have God let you hold onto it a little longer.

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  12. Right on. Not to mention, beautifully said. And yes, I CAN feel it. It is the most humbling and freeing feeling that leaves me deep-down-grateful and speechless all at the same time...and even on the days when I can't *feel* it, I still *KNOW* it, and sometimes that means even more!

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  13. This is beautiful.

    We all do really just want to connect, to matter, to be acknowledged and seen and heard.

    It's funny when you let go, how everything turns crazy and upside down, only to turn into something far more meaningful and beautiful than you could have imagined.

    You rock.

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  14. I love that you are taking us along on your journey. thank you.

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  15. Dear Friend,who lets others come over to her farm and pick flowers that are grown by the great I Am. When you are finished writing the story of your life, could you pick up pen and write mine. Serious...:) My children have seen things no child should ever see, and I was the one to show them. One day Grace knocked on my door, not reverse, and my family has been covered ever since. Love you, and the pair of glasses you wear and witness life with.
    ~G~

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  16. "Glorious Day" by Casting Crowns has become one of my favorite songs.
    "...living He loved me, dying He saved me..."
    This song and this post, well, it's incredible to have these kinds of reminders.

    Thank you for sharing YOUR gift.

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  17. safety is a lie...i feel my net being stretched too. loved this post. love how God brought those people into your bubble. i know i want that too.

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  18. I've never been able to describe that ache in my heart, I've had it many times and it never really goes away. you described it perfectly. I am starting to realize, when that ache appears and I get confused, (only cuz i try and figure it out), I need to sit back and trust God even more, and be open to what He brings. Like my hubby always says to me: You go girl, take it and run!

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  19. Really touched by your post. I pray that God delights you today. :)

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  20. Thank you for this. I so relate to the bubble, and I struggle to pop myself out of it. This is a great reminder to continue to push myself further when it comes to love. <3

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  21. *crying* I am full to the top after this post and Im forever changed just by having read it.

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  22. This is wonderful. You hit the nail right on the head every time. Thank you.

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  23. I am de-lurking to say. . .

    WOW. . .this is an awesome post, seriously, awesome how you articulated how God has used this year to change you.

    Thanks for sharing a little bit of your soul with us.

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  24. I just listened to a message today and he said something like, "Grace doesn't just give you what you don't deserve. That's part of it. But it also makes you capable of doing something that you couldn't do one second before you received grace." Basically, grace is the catalyst...it empowers us to do what Jesus said. "Your kingdom come, Your will be done, ON EARTH as it is in Heaven." Love you FPFG!!! :)

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  25. You read my mind. I've been thinking these very things lately. We do all want to feel connected. We all want the same things. I love this post. :)

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  26. Why is it that I ignore the beauty that God's love gives? Thank you for encouraging me to look at what God has done but I have simply ignored.

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  27. The power that can be life when we just give it over to Him. It's amazing that in the moments we stop trying to control and instead give where and how we can, how amazingly blessed our lives can truly be. Your statements and thought resonated even more---and I'm sensing a larger message from them---as I just finished reading this book called God in the Alley---very similar sentiment to what you just wrote about. I'd encourage you to check it out if time permits--it's a short read. You bless the lives of many through your words and through your example of life truly lived...blessings will continue to be bestowed upon you...of that I am sure. Sending lots of love and prayers in your general direction today and hope for the message you continue to share!

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  28. Good gravy kid! I want to drink coffee with you.
    This here:
    'it had become terrifyingly clear that we had both lived our lives under the "protective" bubble that so easily sneaks up and covers Christians.'
    SO TRUE! Every few years we have to pop that thing and re-engage with life.
    This here post is GOLD.

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  29. "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me." Matthew 25:35-36

    Jesus calls you blessed by our Father! Bless you for not settling for mediocrity. Your rewards will be out of this world. ~Rachel

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  30. It does cover and the mask should be ripped away forever.

    XO,
    Janie

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  31. That'll preach, Farmgirl.
    Beauty-full.

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  32. oh big doings going on over here, and in my little life. Here's what I'm noticing; taking advantage of the comfortable times to live holy seems to refine and prepare you for something...major. And I don't know what the major thing is in my life, but let me tell you I have a HINT of it, and it never would have gotten this hint-y if we weren't taking the opportunity to clean out the closets and refine and surrender.

    I love this post. It makes me excited. I cannot WAIT for tomorrow. Or the next day. Hugs! xoxoxox

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  33. Thank you SO much for this post. It was just what I needed to hear. You're an inspiration and a blessing. Thank you!

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  34. Hey Shannan! Just loved this post tonight! I haven't had a chance to visit in awhile, it was so good to hear your heart again! I just spoke with teen girls tonight who have been through so much. One girl used to live in her car with her mom. Now that same mom tells her over and over that she is not wanted. This girl has been in two foster homes and now is at a group home where I spoke. I got the privilege of telling her and the others that they are HIS CHOSEN ONE! That what they have done doesn't define them. I love that you are inviting people into your home and sharing Jesus with them by the way you live. Inspiring! I love you my friend! Keep walking the walk!!

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  35. On the CBS evening news Pastor T.L.Lewis said of the destruction from the tornado that demolished his church in Alabama..."The Church is not property, the church is people"...then went on to say as he looked into the mass of destruction " I have to much evidence to not have confidence that this to shall pass"...
    Amen!

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  36. I feel the Grace each and every day. I can not comprehend some days how someone can love me and accept me the way that He does. And for me, I was taken to the depths of despair before I really looked up to Him for all the answers. He hears our cries, literally and yes, mine have been in the shower many atimes! And yes, just as I am, I come to thee.....He is always waiting with open arms. Love ya and thanks for sharing your inner soul.
    -H.P.

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  37. beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!!!

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  38. The way you write and express yourself is amazing! Thank you for allowing us to join you on your spiritual journey. I have felt bit stagnant lately and this really challenged me to ask God and be in preparation for his answer!

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  39. Well now you know I love this post.

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  40. well...wow. so glad i found your lovely little blog...you are full of so much i need to hear...and learn and know. thank you for that. XO

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  41. Good stuff going on here. No. God stuff going on here. And yes! God fixes! Grace covers!

    As a grace covered broken one, I've learned that His fixing is not just a one-time cure-all potion, but a daily necessity given in daily doses.
    Strength for today...
    Our daily bread...
    Morning by morning new mercies I see...
    He binds up our wounds, not once, but
    every.
    single.
    day.
    Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me

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  42. He CAN fix the broken! I say I believe this, and I think I really do. But sometimes I get tripped up and I'm not always acting like I believe it. I too am trying to figure out exactly what it looks like to whole-heartedly believe.

    Absolutely loved these words of yours!

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  43. Totally blown away (as usual) by your ability to so beautifully articulate all the loveliness you so often do! Thank you for sharing this post and, yes, I can feel it!
    I'm sending you a text message to tell you something important right now...
    ;-)

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  44. Shannan! Wow oh wow. "He reached out and de-fogged the glasses of my soul..." Your words are like honey!! I'm with you. I'm so with you!! My eyes see things more different than I could have ever imagined. The choices I would have made differently if only my old lenses weren't scratched! The challenge for me is to now live accordingly in my new scratch-free glasses!

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  45. Since some weeks Iam reading your blog and I love it. Im learnig very new things about the "amarican way of life", it must not be like the TV tell us in Europe.
    Sorry, I learnd english in school...long time ago.

    With many greetings and a lot of good wishes

    Ursula from Bavaria/Germany

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  46. This was very inspiring, maybe just what I needed. Thank you.

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  47. you're good
    very very good
    &
    this post is good
    very very good!
    ox

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  48. This just shows what a beautiful person you are!
    Hang in there my friend!
    XO

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  49. well, i think i may have to reread this one. over and over.

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  50. I drove 5 hours to read this post. I did.

    You weave words around my heart that speak "more" to me.

    I love you.

    xxoo

    Redundant, I know.

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  51. True, lovely, noble, and pure. What a delight to focus on these things! It really goes quite deep doesn't it my friend? I believe we are only beginning to scratch the surface of the road before us.

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  52. Your post was inspiring and thought provoking...I have a niece who is going through one of the most difficult times in a young moms life...her husband, father, friend and soul mate passed away July/10. Her blog is so inspiring also,,,,you can check it out if you like,,, www.go-team-burritt.blogspot.com God is good and we know it very well. :) Love love love your little ladder in the most recent post ! Wayyy cute and the pics are priceless too. Stop by That Country Place sometime and follow along .

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  53. We would never not pick up a child with a runny nose, dirty face, and sticky pants,as they hold their hands up to us. That is what our Papa God did for us. And then he held us so close to His clean ,white, tee shirt, and whispered in our ear,"You are mine ,I love you just the way you are".

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  54. I just started following your post last week, and couldn't put my finger on what was different until now...the love of our Great Savior. What an amazing avenue you have to share the good news! Thanks for the encouragement today, just what I needed.

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  55. Without Grace and the Blood of Jesus we are nothing
    I loved this post.

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  56. So very true, GOD's Grace, its there for the taking if only we believe in Jesus and let go of our sin and ask Jesus into our lives. Letting go of the past and looking to a new future with the lord directing us without reservations in our heart.

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  57. I've been feeling too "comfortable" lately. It's starting to make me antsy. I know God's stirring something in my heart. What's missing is being in real ministry with real people who need a real God. Even in ministering to people the little I have, I've been careful to avoid touchy subjects. Careful to stay shallow in my conversations. It's driving me crazy. Lord help me.

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  58. I think that we look at life differently depending a lot on the situations were put into. Someone that hasn't been through a lot will look at low in a more sad way. This is because he didn't have the same level of motivation that someone would have that has faced dark sad parts of life.

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