The Hot-Mess Express

As I write, today, rain is slipping down my window pain as I make bets on which raindrop will make it to the bottom of the window first, I am still in my pjs, I did not make it to church this morning because I purposely didn’t set an alarm last night, makeup from yesterday is still caked on my face, and my hair is in a teased pony tail resting gently on the top of my head.

I am a hot mess.

I also did not actually wake up to do anything until 1 o’clock this afternoon. God is doing something in the peace of this Sunday. It’s like I can hear his heart beating.

*thump*
*thumpthump*
*t h u m p*

His heart is close and gentle, yet strong and fierce. It’s sometimes so bold that I feel like I need to cover my eyes and peak through the cracks of my fingers. I’m learning that once you get a glimpse of Jesus’ heart, you just can’t look away: it’s too beautiful.

*thumpthump*
*thump…..thump….t h u m p*

I can hear him whisper the same truths about my heart back to me. “I just can’t look away from your heart. It’s a full heart, carrying beauty that I put there.”

*thump*
*thump*
*thump*

I’ve been thinking a lot of the human heart, lately. Most of my friends are engaged, getting married, or getting incredibly close to that stage in their lives. So my teased pony tail and caked on make up? Yeah, they’re from a dear friend’s wedding yesterday. 🙂 My internal “hot mess-ness?” it comes from months back, a broken relationship, ignorant heart health practices, and bitterness and resentment at the desert with Jesus.

*thumpthump*

Heartbreak is a raw thing. It feels like a completely different animal–I would never wish it on my worst enemy. But Jesus. Isaiah 53:3 says that [Jesus] was a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief. It feels, most days, that no one really gets it. The random tears, the “espresso with a scoop of ice cream in it” cravings that come out of the blue, and the inability to break out of habit are a few things that have accompanied my season of heartbreak.

*thump*
*t h u m p*

Jesus whispers kindly, “I get it, beloved one. I am not unable to empathize with your weakness (Hebrews 4:15). I am with you in the mess. My plan is not to abandon ship and let the waves overtake your heart. I am with you. With you. Beside you.”

*thumpthumpthump*

In my opinion, heartbreak from relationships, disappointments, and missed goals aren’t talked about enough in our culture. I think the Church tries to shove it under the rug and cover it with the “Sure it hurts, but God is good and time heals all” line. But actually, God is good and he wants to heal us fully and I think that “band-aid line” causes more harm than good.

God doesn’t stoop down to entrust time to heal our wounds. Isaiah 53:5 says that BY HIS WOUNDS, we are healed. Jesus suffered to heal our wounds. To heal my heart.

*thumpthump*
*thump*
*thump….thump*

The Gospel has never been more real in my life. Over the last 6 ½ months, I’ve never felt weaker or more unsure of the character of God. But it’s in the thunder that’s rolling across the sky, today, that I can feel the beats of God’s heart, afresh.

I spend hours a month in counseling: celebrating the wins, grieving the losses, and learning how to process everything in between. Something that has rang so true in my sessions is that Jesus LOVES sitting with me and hearing my heart, just as I am learning how to sit with him and hear his.

Today, we sat in bed, me and Jesus and after some fist shaking, heartbreak processing, tears, and pinning wedding dresses on my hidden pinterest board (because I still want to get married one day, heeeelllllllo!), Jesus encouraged my heart:

His heart beats for me.
His heart enjoys me.
His heart LOVES me.

He hears my every thought about my future husband, about my dreams, and about my heartbreak. I just felt like today, in the midst of the *thumps* of his heart for us, to acknowledge that my heartbreak sucks, that wholeness is a process, and that we’ve got a gooooooood daddy who hears us and loves us in a way that we don’t even understand.

So for all of you out there reading: acknowledge your brokenness with Jesus, it doesn’t scare him away, celebrate all of the BIG things and every little thing in between. He loves walking with us. He died for that right.

Cling tight. Hold fast. The best is yet to come. 

 

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Messy Burgers

I sat in the line at the good ol’ Whataburger in Waco, Texas (for those non-Texans that read my blog: Whataburger is the staple fast food place of Texas), waiting for a meal that I ordered that was a little too big and a little bit too much money for what I had to spend. But after the month I’ve had, I did not really care. I sat in my car, cool air brushing my face, worship music drifting slowly into the background of my mind, and my mind racing with every situation going on in my life right now. The anxiety in my mind and deep sadness in my heart was probably canceling out any “Glory to God” that was being played over my speakers, but it made me feel better about myself. Don’t lie, you’ve done the same thing before.

Anyways, the car in front of me was taking exceptionally long this particular day and I just wanted to get home. I pulled up, debit card in hand, ready to pay entirely too much for my honey bbq chicken strip sandwich, fries, and drink that I would not even finish. I gave a half hearted smile to the girl at the window. She flung the biggest “Hello!” my way and asked, “Ma’am, did you happen to know the lady in front of you? Because she paid for your meal.” My response was “Are you serious?” followed by a flood of tears. Not the reaction she was looking for, but she continued treating me with an abundance of kindness. I cried all the way home and heard Jesus whisper to my heart over and over again: “Cait, there is grace upon grace upon grace for you.”

You see, “messy” is a kind word to describe the ongoing 2 year season I’m currently battling. Jesus has taught me SO much, but it has not been pretty or graceful. However, God began this last week teaching me about grace very, very practically. I’ve been living in this lie that messy seasons have to be pretty, graceful, kind, gentle, and incredibly quick and painless. But that’s not the definition of messy, or the expectation we should have on processes with God. Sure, there are the quick, painless, fun, pretty lessons that we get in life (Praise God!) But if we are honest, if I’m honest, sometimes it feels like life just stays messy. However, God has taught me that messy lives are what grace is for.

Grace cleans up our messes, cleans our hands, and whispers to our hearts, “You can do it.”

I have encountered the grace of God more in the last 2 weeks than I feel like I have in years. I know that’s not necessarily true, because HELLO, I need grace more than anyone. But I think that I’m just more aware of it. My eyes towards people’s situations have been softened. My heart towards myself has been softened. I think, if anything, because God has been so blatantly obvious about his grace towards me, I am seeing ways to extend grace to people.

I just know that where I am at in life, I am literally unable to do just about anything well, wholeheartedly, or joyfully…even though I try so hard every day. I cannot earn God’s approval at all…I cannot even fool myself into thinking I can do anything to earn the love of God. For the first time in my life, I am grasping the idea that failure invites grace, that wounds crave grace, and that Jesus willing gives an abundance of grace for me to make it.

Grace sets me up to win.

I hit the jackpot with that free Whataburger the other night. Jesus celebrated with me, and I went to bed feeling really really loved. I guess what the wrap up to this post is is this: Buy people Whataburger..you never know what they’re walking through, embrace grace–hug it like a teddy bear in the middle of a thunderstorm, and walk with people through the mess. It really is worth it.

There’s grace to make it, today.
No matter where you’re at in life.
Jesus is for you, cheering you on every step of the way.

grace, grace little heart.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” -2 Corinthians 12:9

“For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.” -Romans 6:14

“But because of his great love for us, God who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:4-9

G R A C E.

We all want it. Some of people know how desperately they need it, others do not really see how desperate humanity is for it. This complex word with such simplistic meaning. Sometimes overused and overextended, used to justify sinful actions and really bad habits. This word that so often helps people, like me, fall asleep at night. This word. It is weighty. Powerful. True. This word holds a story that’s far greater than I could ever truly fathom with my human mind. Yet, its accessible. It’s freely given. I get to live surrounded in it.

U N M E R I T E D F A V O R .

Grace. No matter how you flip the coin, grace is unmerited favor. Undeserved. Unable to be earned. Fully accessed through Jesus’ body on the cross.

I’m learning how to receive grace. I’m also learning how to receive the love of God. I struggle, battle, fight, have WWIII occur in my heart on a regular basis because I believe the lie that I can do something to earn the grace and love of God. In reality, Jesus did everything I ever needed to have full access to both of those things. But I’m learning that I need grace A LOT more than I ever thought I did.

Grace to fall on my face.
Grace to ask too many questions at my new job.
Grace to eat too many chocolate sprinkle donuts.
Grace to get frustrated with Cooper (my cutie little puppy).
Grace to cry for no reason.
Grace to learn how to be thankful.
Grace to be really hurt and really wounded.
Grace to heal.
Grace to not have it all together.
Grace to laugh until I cry.

That is the season of life I’m in. Life is too big for my little heart to handle. It’s not all bad, but it’s definitely not all easy. I’m learning that, for the rest of my life, my heart will be being molded to look more like Jesus. That has been my prayer.

“God, would you make me tender to your leading? Would you teach me how to trust your gracious heart? Would you solidify in my heart that I cannot earn your affection? Teach me, Lord, how to be abandoned in obedience and covered in grace. Show me how to walk with you and like you, Jesus.”

Grace to burn everything I cook.
Grace to get lost.
Grace to not set an alarm.
Grace to hug my boyfriend too tight.
Grace to not know how to accurately describe how I feel.
Grace to be insecure.
Grace to be overwhelmed.
Grace to figure out the hard stuff.
Grace to dream the biggest dreams.

That’s my prayer for you. That you, dear reader, would walk in the grace that has been bought at a high price for you.  That you would not be so hard on yourself; that you would draw near to Jesus, receiving his grace. Would you not be satisfied with playing it safe, but would you risk, take the leap of faith, jump too high, run too fast and experience the overwhelming grace of God in your own life.

I desperately need grace.
I need favor from God that I did nothing to earn.
Because ultimately, my life amounts to nothing if I do not have Jesus, and that’s what grace REALLY is, a person named Jesus.

Fine Lines

I’ve never been on a tightrope. I’ve always been intrigued by tightrope walkers, though. They steal your gaze as you sit in the crowded circus arenas and they make you gasp when they have even the slightest wobble in their walk. What if they fall? What if they make one slight misstep? Well, if that happens and they don’t have something safe underneath them to catch them, the consequences could be devastating. Serious injuries. Blood. Death.

I think that we, as humans, all understand and grasp the danger that is associated with tightrope walking. I do not think that anyone would voluntarily walk on a tightrope without harnesses attached and a soft landing underneath. But I do believe that sometimes we put ourselves on an invisible tight rope that we exhaust ourselves trying to cling on to and stay on top of. But this summer, I have learned that we don’t always have to cling to the tightrope..we are allowed to let go…because we have the safest place to fall…

{{a s e a o f g r a c e}}

You see, thanks to Jesus’ death on the cross there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ (Romans 8:1). We don’t have to put walking with God into the “tight rope walking paradigm.” Ever since I went to Northwest Africa, I have been stuck in this mindset that in order to have a thriving relationship with Jesus I have to walk this narrow line; I have to cling to Jesus so tightly that my knuckles turn white and when I get tired, I need to pull myself up by my bootstraps and in my weariness, “get over it.” The tightrope paradigm is all about what I am capable of doing…not who God is.

That isn’t how it works. Walking a tightrope isn’t God’s heart for me! In my time with God over the last month or so, God has been giving me a picture of my letting go of a rope and plunging into the ocean–that’s the sea of grace I was talking about a few paragraphs up. Oh sweet grace. So in the process of letting go of performance, striving, and exhaustion in my walk with Jesus, I have learned to drink deeply of the rest and refreshment that is His grace. Oh the vast ocean that God, in his kindness, provides for me. So in drinking deeply of the grace that I have received, I am learning to enjoy the little things: jumping on trampolines, coffee at starbucks, sunflowers, songs I can jump around to, mashed potatoes.

It’s the little things in life that are refreshing me. It’s in the little things I love that God spoils me with. In my sin and my pain, in my  day to day life I am covered in Jesus’ grace.

It is in that grace that I am:
loved.
whole.
cherished.
healed.
righteous.
delighted in.

 

so today, I rest; breathing deeply, drinking deeply of sweet sweet grace.