Monday, I showed up here with some of the darker colors of my heart, not at all how I intended to move back into this space. As I sit at my desk this morning, I see the sun is trying hard to make a name for itself through all the gray and in that same way, I want to share from the brighter hopeful places inside of me. Because, it occurs to me that I know that they’re always there, shining between the cloud cover, but maybe you don’t.
So today, some brighter colors of hope, because I could always use a reminder and I’m thinking maybe you could too.
What I really want you to know is this….
God thinks you are some of his best work.
He knows that life has been brutal for you and sometimes you feel like pellets of sharp driveway gravel are being aimed at your heart at random intervals.
He can’t wait for the chance to show you how he really feels about you, but he’s waiting for you to give him the teeniest, tiniest chance.
When your mom’s sick and you’re sitting in the hospital until 5 am because the overworked nursing staff might forget her pain meds, he knows that your back is screaming for just 15 minutes in your own bed and your due at work in 3 hrs.
That feeling in the pit of your stomach when someone is tormenting your child, when they’ve picked and pulled and tugged and sneered for so long that your first-born, been-a-gentleman-since-he-was-4-weeks, is ready to thrown-down? That feeling? He wants you to know he gets that one, it’s familiar and he’s ready to send in the cavalry if you’ll ask him.
But did you know that God’s a gentleman too? That he’s waiting for you to invite him into your hard places?
People get all choked up over the free will part of insert-your-chosen-religious-term here. But it’s really not that complicated.
Do you want to feel and experience God who cares about every bit of your daily life? Or do you not?
I’ve got to be honest here, because I can’t imagine anyone answering no to that question.
Part of the human experience is handling life ourselves, but who doesn’t want help if we’re really honest?
It’s the asking though, we really don’t like to ask and so we struggle on, alone. When all we really need to say is me! me! me!, I need help, I do, because that’s all it takes to have an all access pass to some of the coolest things you’ll ever experience and it’s not a religious freak show, I promise.
I know, I know, we all know people but forget them for a minute.
Sometimes you see the same people at dinner around 11 pm at IHOP that you see 14 hours later at lunch time at Panera. You don’t really know why you saw them, but when you’ve included the possibility that there is a God who cares about everything in life, you know that there’s some reason you saw that woman with the fabulous haircut and her sweet little boy that’s so pretty you call him a girl. You feel bad and hope you didn’t insult her, but you’re glad you said something because you don’t believe in coincidence. You know there was a reason and it’s ok if you don’t ever know what it was.
Sometimes, you don’t like the soup that you order at lunch and when the manager takes your tray and finds out I wasn’t your favorite, he asks you what your favorite is and brings it back in a to-go bag. When he does, you know that the soup is a little shout-out from God. You just know because you talk to him, sometimes out loud if your kids aren’t around. You embarrass them enough, you know.
Those details are just slivers of nothingness in comparison to the ways that you’d see him every day if you’d get a little risky and ask him to show up, be a part of your life.
Really, it doesn’t have to be a whole life decision to ask him to show up just a little. But when he shows up, you just might want to see him more. Because when you see him, and you know it’s him? It’s like crack. Completely addicting.
He knows you, how he made you. With fear that leaks out of your eyes at night and a heart that pours and gives and squeezes out every last drop of hope right out there in the fresh clear air. He knows that you deeply want for someone to swallow down that hope with you, to hold it inside and sit in the sacredness of that shared moment. And he see’s when they spit it right back at you, without acknowledging your offering.
Did you know that the sadness and the loneliness, he feels that for you, with you? He sees all those things about you and he wants you to know that he feels so much sorrow when he sees the places in your heart that are breaking.
He’s as proud as he can be when you make choices that are good and positive for your life, things that open your heart to seeing more of what he’s really all about, but you should know that when you don’t get it right……..
When you lay out your kid because they ate all the snacks and they’re hungry and it’s 10 pm and you’ve been up since 6:15 and the list never ends and they.always.need.more……
When you choose to destroy yourself by doing that thing that you do because you just can’t feel this much pain for one more minute and need some relief….
When you catch yourself thinking that you don’t even know if you believe in a god of anything in the first place and then tun around and lay your own self out because what kind of person would you be if you didn’t……
When you make choices that stink because you’re lazy or you’re scared or you just don’t want to be alone, but you know better and so how could you possibly ask God to come be a part of that hot mess.
He wants you to know that he doesn’t love you not one bit less when you makes those crummy choices. In fact, maybe he loves you more. Because he knows about the shame you’re pouring on top of your own self behind the smile, the silence, the sincerity or the sneer.
He doesn’t care what a big huge mess your life is or how shiny you think it is for that matter. He just wants to be there to share it with you.
He understands how he made your fragile heart to work and he’s waiting for you to ask him to help you to understand yourself. He is I promise.
I want this to become a place where we can declare what’s real in life. A place to shout proudly all that is good, share freely all that is hard and learn to see him in the middle of it.
A place to whisper the darkness of fear while believing that momentary glimpses of light, momentary glimpses of God, make the darkness bearable.