It has certainly been awhile. I have been the most inconsistent of bloggers and am surprised I still have visitors! Yet, here I am. I have been talking to God for quite awhile and I have felt a strong calling to write. But I haven't, for whatever reasons. Time. Kids. Fear. Lack of inspiration. But those are just excuses. I am a writer. And I have longed to pour my heart out on this blog but have refrained for fear of being found out. You see, I want to be real and transparent, and often times I am. However, sometimes I hide behind the fear that someone is going to find out I am royally messed up and I will lose any credit I had. The truth is, I AM messed up. Life is messy. That was the whole reason for the name of the blog - This Beautiful Mess. I want this to be a place where I can be transparent and messy. A place where I can hopefully be an example of how much God loves messes. How His love redeems the broken. How He can enable us to give thanks in all situations. So without further adieu, I give you some transparency: The beginning of June represented a very tough time in our lives. A little over two years ago our marriage was as weathered and worn as an old tent and was in dire need of some repair. As a result of some unforeseen and painful events, we stepped away from youth ministry which was as much for the students as it was for us. As I look back on that season of painful and heart wrenching trials, I am astounded. We humans are so wretched and sin-steeped and yet God has reached down into our pitiful lives and has allowed us to be used by Him. It's astounding because He does. Not. Need us. He chooses to use us. And, He chooses to allow us to walk through some painfully intense things because He desires to mold us into something lovely.
I can honestly say that I am thankful for the pain we have walked through because I know that had we not had a wake-up call, things would have gotten worse. But God allowed the tough to happen. He allowed the pain and the hurt and the questions to draw us closer to Him. To wake us up to the fact that little of what we were doing in His name was actually being passionately carried out for HIM. We were going through the motions but we were empty, hurting, tired and calloused on the inside. By the grace of God there WAS fruit in our ministry but It was only because of the power of Christ. Thankfully He protected most of the students from seeing exactly what a train wreck their youth pastor and wife were because at that point I'm not sure we would have been a display of how to be train wrecks for Jesus. We would have just dragged them down in a fiery disaster. I can honestly say that even in the midst of the hurt and ache of that time I did give thanks in my suffering, because I knew that trial was giving us a second chance. A do-over if you will. And I want to do our do-over well. The Navy was not in my personal plans, as I had boldly told God I could never be a military wife (or work a boring 9-5 job, be a stay at home mom, be a pastor's wife, homeschool my children...check, check, check, check, check, and check) but I can now reflect on the past two years and know with complete confidence that we are exactly where we should be. I think our hearts were being called away from youth ministry for awhile at that point but I never imagined the road we would go down. Had it not been for said trials, we would be missing out on some amazing blessings. I know our experiences will help and are helping my husband to be a better chaplain because he knows what a broken marriage looks like and how God can redeem the most despicable of messes. So as I reflect, I give thanks because I know God has it all in His hands. He is painting a beautiful masterpiece that I can't interpret yet but the colors are bold and brave and I want to walk through what He has for me boldly and bravely and ALIVE! Awake in His glory and goodness. I am thankful. God is good. ALL the time. He is truly binding up the heart of this broken girl and I rejoice! For me, that point two years ago no longer represents heartache, pain, and uncertainty, but rather, perseverance, victory, and triumph. What Satan meant for harm, God graciously turned it around for good. Praise Him!
I once wrote a lyric that never transformed into a song. But the lyric was "make me a stained glass window to shine your glory through." And isn't that what we are? We are broken in sin and He picks us up, colors us beautiful and puts us back together, and we are still a mess, sinners that we are, but we are lovely. And though broken, we are put back together in a way that shows His glory and grace and love. Stained glass windows. Broken but purposefully pieced back together in a way that shines for Him. That's what I want to be! I am so thankful I have had a couple dear friends who have walked and are walking through this with me as I swing like a pendulum, grasping for Jesus on this journey. I feel the pendulum slowing and steadying and I know it's going to be okay. Not necessarily always easier but definitely doable because of Christ in me. I know there are still choppy waters to navigate and I won't always travel them in a stellar way, but I know God works all things for good and I can see it unfolding. We have a long way to go but we have already come so far. I have my best friend back and am more in love than ever. I feel the healing burning me up and working. Piece by piece God is putting me and my best friend back together in a new and more beautiful way.
I am grateful for each of you who read my blog and I pray that you will each diligently set about guarding your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Satan really does prowl like a roaring lion seeking to devour. Cling to the Lord, follow hard after HIM, and be shrewd as you keep watch for the enemy. You are loved, my fellow messes! As an amazing blogger, Ann Voskamp says, "All is grace." Thank you, Jesus! Amen.