Wallpaper Christianity…

I’ve been so focused on the new job that I’ve felt like my brain has left me zero room to process emotions–does that make sense? I’ve been struggling with feeling like God is near (is He? I mean, of course He is, but He’s hard to hear when the world is so loud & obnoxious), in the middle of trying to get thru the day-to-day…
But He finds ways & places to capture our hearts, sometimes when we least expect it, & emotions, like water, WILL make their way thru.
Sitting at Hannah’s grave hurt today… it hurt in a way that it hasn’t in a long time. 💔 

Maybe it’s the season–after all, her birthday was October 30th, & November 28th is the date of her death. Maybe it’s the fact that this time of the year, I feel pulled in more directions than are humanly possible to reach. Maybe it’s that time is flying by, & I get this “hitch” in the center of my chest every time my son outgrows another piece of clothing…

I sat at her grave, putting up her Christmas tree, & as I was making things “just so,” I felt God say, “Wait. Take a breath–you need to process this.” David & Jericho were in the car–they could wait. I sat there & looked at the beautiful hills…15 years. 15 years of memories, of decorations come and gone…15 years of tears, of occasional stoicism or anger, many years of finding, losing, and re-finding peace in the unknowing….even peace in the non-understanding…and still, 15 years of unanswered questions…

I still find myself asking if it will ever make sense…and I still find myself leaning back on Him, knowing that He is still there to catch me. He is in the unknowing, even when He is all we know.

You know, people have gotten really crazy with what I call “wallpaper Christianity.” I can’t do the whole, “live, laugh, love” thing on my wall…I have a Cricut, & I’m pretty sure David’s biggest concern when he bought it was that I’d plaster the house with all of that, “this is us” crap, LOL, but he needn’t worry…usually….But the other day, I saw a sign on Facebook that I’m going to have to duplicate. It said, “I still remember the days I prayed for what I have, now.”

Oooooh, that got me.

I still remember the letter 14-year old me wrote to her future husband, & all of the prayers poured into this man that steals my heart & my bath towel, or forgets to change the toilet paper roll. I still remember the prayers poured into finding joy again, or into recovery. I remember the prayers poured into learning to trust God all over again, into finding who I was again….and I remember on a daily basis, the prayers poured into the crazy-pants, static, loud, lovable, kind, adorable, occasionally obnoxious, and always-amazing now 8-year old miracle that I get to call, “Son.”

Even on the days where I have utterly failed at wife-ing or parenting, I remember those prayers, & I am endlessly grateful.

I’m thankful for this journey. Above all, I am thankful for a God Who loves & sustains us thru the the business & chaos, & Who lovingly calls us to selah, or “pause” & to listen to His voice….Who created us as emotional beings & Who never tells us to “stifle it” or to “suck it up.” He understands our processes because He created us in His image, & He IS an emotional Being–He loves, He grieves, & He celebrates. He doesn’t expect or want us to pretend; He wants our reality & our actuality.

We may want to focus on “live, laugh, love, ” but He is also in those commas & spaces between,,,in the parts no one wants to paper their walls with. He is calling us to pause in the chaos, and to allow ourselves to feel…to feel all of it, and to share it with Him.

So, I got a little….well, I almost said, “wrecked,” but it was more like an emotional flat tire: easily fixed, but not to be ignored. And that’s okay. There is peace after the processing.

I hope that you get to take the time through the next few weeks to breathe, to feel, and to fall into His arms. He will always be there.

Happy Thanksgiving, and if you don’t hear from me, Merry Christmas, beloveds. May you find your selah in this season.

Twenty years…

Ever been hurt by someone?

Ever been cut so deeply, that you know you’re never going to be the same?

Scar tissue sometime seems to form even before the true depth of the wound is understood…

Or maybe–maybe you’ve been the one to hurt someone that badly. Like, you know what you did was painful, even if you felt that it was the right thing to do. You know it cost you either a portion or all of that relationship, and you did it, anyway…maybe you had their best interests at heart? Or, maybe you were just a terrible person at that time…Regardless of the reason: you inflicted a terrible wound to someone, and you’ve carried the guilt of that sin for a long, long time.

When I was a teenager, I went to a youth retreat where this man spoke about something that’s always resonated with me. He talked about sin and deliverance in a way that God brings back into my heart on an almost-weekly basis (y’all know I struggle with forgiveness!! I really do!!! I get MAD!!). He spoke about how sin could become something so great and burdensome, that even when we ask God for forgiveness, and we know in our hearts that He gives it, WE are the ones that can’t seem to let it go, and to forgive ourselves and be free. He said it was like our sin was a big dog in our lives that we’d grown attached to, that turned rabid and had to be put down. This deadly, poisonous thing that we’d become practically grafted to, should be ripped out, buried and gone….but we can’t let go, so we drag this gigantic, disgusting, rotting corpse around with us, and act like it’s still a viable thing. We put it into closets and go back to look at it, time and time again. We’ve become so attached to either our sin or our hurt or our unforgiveness, that we refuse to lay it at the feet of Jesus, so we’re dragging this nasty thing around with us.

We stink, and we are corrupted, by refusing to let go of the past hurt and actions.

We are destroyed by this contagious, soul-eating fungus of the dead weight of sin.

Jesus came to love us…He came to set us free. He came to cleanse us of hurt and of grudges and of burdens that weigh us down…He came to kick the dead bodies of resentment out of our closets, and to make us whole; He came to heal the decayed parts of our heart that have been corroded by the acid of bitterness.

If you’re carrying burdens…if you’re carrying grudges against people who hurt you 20 years ago…If you’re shouldering the luggage of resentment, of not being able to get over someone’s decisions or mistakes they’ve made…

Dude, make like Elsa, and LET IT GO.

That kind of decay and rot makes your soul look like an extra on The Walking Dead. It’s not pretty. It’s not holy.

It’s not who God made us to be.

Life is SHORT. It’s fleeting. We can spend it carting around the dead dogs of shame, regret, anger, resentment, and unforgiveness, or we can allow Jesus to lift those stinking burdens, and to give us new hearts for old, gross, diseased ones. It’s so beautiful and amazing, how He frees us when we let Him. I still struggle with accepting His gifts of grace…they’re so much lighter than the alternative. Sometimes we’re so burdened by the weight of what we bear, that we have to retrain ourselves to stand up properly, once He lifts those things off of us.

I choose grace over disappointment.

I choose forgiveness over resentment.

I choose freedom over bondage to the past.

I choose redemption over regret.

I choose Jesus over anxiety and depression.

I choose Love.