Here is a story.
On February 27 of this year I walked out of the front door of my home and I never went back.
I walked out of the door, across the deck and down four wooden steps.
I walked out of an abusive marriage.
I took four children and left behind everything I knew and everything I believed.
I had allowed myself and my little ones to live in fear every day for twelve years.
But I was the good child. The obedient daughter.
Doesn’t that guarantee something?
I am harshly aware of how much I look like a failure in my obedience.
Because I was supposed to be faithfully married my entire life.
Because now the church sees me as a wayward woman wanting to start over on her terms, OR
…..the idiot that didn’t know when to call it quits.
But no one knows the whole story except me and God.
In my heart of hearts I heard Him call me here.
Even in the leaving.
Even in the mess.
Here is another story.
In the fall of the year two thousand years ago,
Supernatural God came to earth and entered the womb of a virgin girl.
She gave birth to our Savior amidst the stench of a stable and, shortly after,
placed the Son of God in a feeding trough—doubling as a crib.
Was she the good child? The obedient daughter?
Didn’t that guarantee her something?
Was she harshly aware of how much she looked like a failure in her obedience to God?
The church saw her as a knocked up teenager with a fiancee having to drag her with him to Bethlehem.
No plan, no perfection.
Because no one knew the whole story but them and God.
They heard Him call them there.
Even in the leaving.
Even in the mess.
I have been walking a season of loss and gain.
Of the tide slowly pulling out and taking with it everything familiar—-
and then once the sand is dry and the sea ceases to exist;
rushing back in with new graces.
I want to tell a story of walking into a rebuilt life
and feeling like these fresh walls are where God was always pulling me.
Out with the old. In with the new.
I have discovered I am pharisee-antiquated.
I am the one who makes the boxes to put Spirit in.
I am a tree growing around one ideal of how it all works.
The one way.
The imaginary righteousness.
The china cup filled with mud.
Does it ring true?
Is it always the way with higher things that first we must walk a diminishing path
before we can get to where we were always meant to abide?
I don’t think so.
I think truth lies in the broken hallelujah.
In our perception of a God who is more than we make Him.
My truth has been this:
He always knew where I would fall, where I would hide,
and where I would finally break into a thousand small pieces.
Where I would lay in shards and cry for my inability to be saved.
That then there would be, like there always was, Jesus.
When all was lost and gone and ugly and alone and ruined.
When I opened my eyes to only love.
I live daily in naked acknowledgement of earthly reality:
I am a divorced woman.
I am the single mother of four children.
I am unemployed.
I am scared.
I am a burden.
I am wide-eyed at the world.
but in this I am also:
Still in covenant with a Savior.
The caretaker of the greatest four blessings I will ever receive.
An heir to the throne.
I am covered with grace.
My every need is met.
I will live with those open eyes turning into open arms.
I will learn to love like Him.
If God himself can come to earth; a baby.
Can lie in an animal feeding trough
the better to live Holy Love among us…
Then so am I, here today, in the mess and broken-ness of life
putting my shoulder to the same plow.
Our work is love.
Our work is the absurdity of the broken hallelujah.
And in this honesty I come before each and every one of you —
not with the message that a holy God can sanction anything.
But that He can REDEEM anything.
More fully and beautifully than you could dare to hope for.
However HE chooses.
The road will always end up at redemption,
just put out your hand.