I had it all planned out when I was younger. I would be just like my mom and marry the only man I had ever dated. We would live in a two story farmhouse, and we would have two or three children. We would have holiday dinners at our house for the whole family. We would have dogs, cats, and other animals. We would go to church every Sunday, and live our lives for God. In a word, everything would be perfect.
Well, I did marry the only man I ever dated. We do live in a two story brick that looks like an old farmhouse. I have two healthy beautiful children, a boy and a girl. Every year since we built the house, we have had a huge Thanksgiving dinner at our house for family. We have three dogs, a cat, three cows, and fourteen goats. We go to church pretty much every time the doors are open, and we live for God. But in a word, it is far from perfect....try imperfect.
Over the course of the past year and six months or so, my life has been a roller coaster ride of imperfection. All the things I identified myself with were taken away. Everything about who I thought I was changed. My world as I knew it was forever shaken and altered. That girl from my early twenties looked at my life and saw nothing but a mess.
In the middle of the mess, I have found my message. You see, God can't do much when you live life in your comfort zone of what you see as perfect. Sure, you can teach a Sunday School class or host a Bible study, but to really get Jesus under your fingernails, it has to be messy.
The lessons have been many, and some have been so hard that I almost forgot how to breathe. Some lessons seemed simple, but were life changing. Take my Bible for instance. In 41 years, I had never made a mark in my Bible. It was worn and falling apart, but it was all black and white...just like how I tended to see things. I was a rule follower. I didn't understand how people get to the point of separating their family, committing suicide, losing interest in life itself, or feeling depressed. My Bible was like everything else....black and white. But in March of 2013, God introduced me to free fall. In the months to follow, I would see what depression could look like. I could see how easy a family could separate. I could understand how heavy life itself can become, and how tempting it is to ask God to just let you come Home. And so the second week of November, I ordered myself a present. A new study Bible and a package of yellow dry highlighters.
I still haven't written a word in my Bible, but it has yellow running through it. I have started this blog and it portrays my life as anything but perfect. It shows the real me.....a mess. In the first verse of "Glorious Unfolding" by Steven Curtis Chapman, it tells the story of what God whispers in my ear daily.
"Lay your head down tonight, take a rest from the fight.
Don't try to figure it out. Just listen to what I'm whispering to your heart.
'Cause I know this is not anything like you thought the story of your life was gonna be.
And it feels like the end has started closing in on you, but it's just not true.
There's so much of the story that's still yet to unfold.
And this is going to be a glorious unfolding,
Just you wait and see and you will be amazed.
You've just got to believe the story is so far from over.
So hold on to every promise God has made to us and watch this glorious unfolding."
And so I look at the past almost two years and I see a mess. But out of that mess...out of that mess has come a message. Out of that mess has come a stronger daughter of God. Out of that mess has come dreams that this girl would never have dreamed for herself. Out of the mess has come a boldness and a hunger I never would have known had I not experienced the mess. And no, it isn't what I had planned, but it was His plan. And so I am stepping out on this journey with Him, awaiting my own glorious unfolding.