If you've been reading my blog long enough, you know that previous season of my life was overwhelmingly difficult. I've written a lot about it from my teensy little corner of the internet, and I've poured out thousands of words on the subject… and I'm still not sure I did the heaviness justice. It was like all the color and all the oxygen got sucked out of my life. I was in an emotional state akin to lying on a cold, colorless bathroom floor--suffocating. My circumstances were smothering--and I wasn't sure I would make it out in one piece. Every time I tried to get up--and BOY DID I TRY--the heaviness shoved me down again.
I'm breathing again. I'm on the upswing, but I was thinking back on this hard season I just crawled through. You know what's funny? Eleven and a half years ago I was actually lying on a cold tile bathroom floor--struggling to catch my breath. Though this is the place I have found myself metaphorically in recent years, I actually have physically and LITERALLY been there before. In the spring of 2005, I found myself on a dirty bathroom floor holding a positive pregnancy test. I was 18. And not married. And terrified. And yet--somehow after I allowed the panic to subside, I felt the presence of God there with me. It's not something I can put into words, but Jesus pulled me off that bathroom floor. He gave me peace beyond explanation.
And then I showed up--ready, willing and able to serve Him. I was excited. I was on fire. And then the more I learned about God, the less worthy I felt of His offerings. The hits of the world just kept coming, and I credited these blows to my worth. You know the speech if you struggle like I do "life sucks, but so do I… I guess I deserve it. And since I deserve it, I guess God wants me to be treated this way."
Slowly, steadily, and surely… my flame fizzled out. And rather than showing up EXCITED to see God as I had before… I hid. Much like Eve did. She pulled out those fig leaves to cover her shame. I pulled out my bedroom comforter. And it was there I stayed for the better part of 3 years.
It was the gospel of Jesus that saved me, but somewhere along the way I lost the fullness of it. Or I decided I wasn't worth of all of it.
I knew that I needed a Savior. But I forgot that He actually WANTED to save me.
I knew that I needed forgiveness. But I forgot that forgiveness was a free gift available to me at all times.
I knew that God's love was deeper than all measure. But I felt deeper… completely out of reach.
I knew that I accepted Christ. But I also knew he could NEVER accept me.
I knew that I was a mess. But I forgot that being a work in progress is not wrong. It's human. It's NORMAL. And I forgot that my savior specializes in cleaning up messes.
If this is you, dearest one, and you feel too messy for God--simply put, you're not. If you go searching for perfect people in the Bible, you'll be disappointed. God specializes in works in progress. Sweet one, you don't have to be all cleaned up to come to Him. He NEVER SAID to go get yourself right BEFORE you come to Him. He never said you'll be perfect. In fact, the word tells us that His power is made perfect in weakness. Without weakness and brokenness, we would have no need for Him.
The Bible is CHOCKFULL of people in progress. These were people Jesus loved exactly as they were. He loved them and pursued them in spite of the messes they were in. If you look to scripture, I'm sure you can find yourself in pieces of all of them.
We are the woman at the well. We are ashamed of our choices and completely taken aback that Jesus would even associate with our kind.
…and yet…he quenches our spiritual thirst
We are Zacchaeus. We are hiding at a distance hoping to catch a glimpse of Jesus. We stay at a distance because we are small and we are seen by others as bad--so we hope to sit on a branch to catch that glimpse without causing trouble.
…and yet… Jesus comes by our hiding spot and calls us by name
We are Martha. We dash around like mad trying to find validation in making everyone else happy and comfortable.
…and yet… when we miss the point, yet again, Jesus softly whispers to us to sit at His feet
We are the Lazarus. Completely incapable of curing what ailed us. Jesus came too late, it seems.
…and yet… Jesus brings us back to life
We are the sinful woman. We've collapsed at His feet in exhaustion and shame. We use our best perfumes and our tears to wash His feet in an attempt to ditch our guilt.
…and yet… He forgives. He always forgives. No matter what we have done
We are a mess. We are a work in progress, just like ALL who have come before us. We will find pieces our ourselves in ever character in the Bible. This is why He gave His Word to us. The Word reminds us over and over that Jesus came for the mess. In fact, the religiously perfect were incapable of seeing Him for who He was. God does His best work in the biggest messes. He always has, He always will.
"He reached down from Heaven and RESCUED ME; He drew me out of deep waters… He led me to a place of safety; HE RESCUED ME BECAUSE HE DELIGHTS IN ME."
Psalm 18:16, 19
In order for Him to rescue you, sweet one, He first had to have His eye on you. He had to assess the situation you found yourself in to strategically intervene on your behalf. This means He saw ALL OF IT. The good, the bad, and the ugly. He reached down in the deepest darkest pits to set you free. He rescued you from your enemies, your fears, your sin, from distress, from weakness, from yourself, and from death. He rescued you because He delights in you. Never, ever forget that.