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. ūüôā 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 ¬Ĺ 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. 

 

Advertisements

An Open Letter to My Heart

Dear Little Heart,

I know it does not feel like this now, but the best is yet to come. In the middle of the loneliness and frustration, the best is coming. Within the loudest laughs and biggest celebrations, it can only get better from here. I know you ask “Will things ever get better?,” a lot, and they will. You just have to continually commit to following Jesus every step of the way.

You’ve been really tired, lately, little heart. Tired from the wear and tear of life. I’m sorry. I’m sorry for not taking care of you. For not making your health my upmost priority. I’m sorry for trying to fit you into expectations of others and silly structures that you have no place in trying to mold to. I’m sorry for not properly dealing with grief and disappointment. You are valuable, little heart.

You are strong. The last year and half you have beaten strong and steady through tears, depression, breakthrough, hope, and laughter. You have provided what I need to survive. Thank you for not giving up when the pressure, anxiety, and excitement set in.

Oh, little heart. If only you could grasp the depth of the love which you are gently held. Jesus, gave it all to love you. There is grace for you. Grace to feel the depth of pain and gladness, joy and sorrow. I know that sometimes emotions hit you hard, but there is beauty in the process of sorting through them all. Thank you, oh heart, for feeling deeply..for not being afraid of emotions, but for standing strong and allowing Jesus to work through them.

I’m thankful for you. Thankful for your consistency. Thankful for the butterflies that I feel because of you when I’m on a date with Dustin or the flutter of excitement before going home to see my family. You are fun, heart.

Today is a new day. A day to draw a line in the sand. I vow, little heart, to begin taking care of you. I will do whatever it takes to get you healthy. To sort through your pain and your joy. I want to know you. I want to know what makes you ¬†come alive and what stretches you. I want to know what you like and what makes you laugh, or what makes you mad and what makes you scream. I’ve forgotten who you are. I vow to know you, again. To know you well.

So here’s to the beginning, take two, a new season, whatever you’d like to call it, little heart. I’m your owner, Caitlin, it’s really nice to meet you. ūüôā

 

Ruff Times

If there’s anything I’ve learned from having a puppy (yes, you read that right. I have a puppy.) it’s that I am TOTALLY not ready to be a mommy. My parents laugh at me because there are days that I love my puppy to death and others in which I want to cause his death! Cooper, my new puppy, has taught me a lot about life…and of course, about God.

Coop loves to play. He plays better than anyone (or dog) that I know. At night time it usually takes about an hour and a half of really hard fetch or “pull on the rope” to make him tired and ready to go to bed. He’s a big ball of energy stuck inside a tiny seven pound body. Sometimes I wonder what goes on inside of his head. He gets in trouble so much but also gets all of the belly rubs he wants. “Does she really love me?” “How much longer to I have to wait here before I get that treat?” “Ooooh yes, riiiiiiiiiiight there! Keep scratching, mom!” My favorite thought that I have thought Coop to have is when someone acts like they are going to throw the ball and they don’t…Coop takes off running, using all of his energy only to realize the ball he remembered chasing is nowhere to be found.

“Now, am I crazy? I know there is a ball around here somewhere. Just where is it? Ball. Ball. Ball. Ball. Ball.”

His cute face when he is lost doesn’t keep the ball lost long…usually the ball is only lost a couple of seconds before it flies over his head for him to fetch. The JOY he has. He’s made for fetch, made to wrestle and use all of his energy. Made for belly scratches and barking. I know, at the end of the day, he knows I love him…because every time I walk in the door, I am his favorite human.

11232280_10207088162984999_2785049573799441825_nCooper has taught me a lot about my relationship with God. I’m made for it. Made for the adventure and the love, to explore and learn. I thrive being every ounce of who God made me to be. But something that I’ve learned recently from being that mean person that tricks Coop into fetching after a ball that wasn’t thrown is that God does not play games with me.¬†He does not call me to “play fetch” or leave a place simply as a BIIIIIG joke…to get a laugh. That’s something I’ve caught myself believing a lot recently. That God plays games with my heart and with my head. God is not lacking on entertainment..I provide that all by myself. What God is desiring from me is a fully surrendered heart that trusts that he’s not in relationship with me to tease me just to get a good belly laugh. He’s ultimately in relationship with me for his glory.

I’ve become really thankful for the sincerity in which Jesus pursues my heart. He knows what I need before I say a word and he is faithful, faithful, faithful to me. He’s a say what he means and means what he says God. Is he fun? Yes. But is he careless? No. With Coop, he always ends up with the ball, running back for another chance to fetch. With me, I’m learning that I get the best because there really isn’t such thing as too good to be true with Jesus.¬†

For that, I’m thankful, full of hope, and expectant.

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‚Ķbecause 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‚Ķnot 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.

 

Second Place Trophies.

The last few weeks I have been overwhelmed with the sense that I am always bound to second place. The idea of second place doesn’t sit well with me, it never has. Fun fact: I am one of the most competitive people known to man. Second place…almost first place, but not quite. Falling short by a few inches, a few seconds, a few points. Now, I haven’t played any games this week or lost any kind of competitions..but I realized that this sense of second place came from a deep place of desperately desiring the approval and affirmation of my Savior and trying to seek it out in the people around me.

I started feeling bound to second place a few weeks ago when I went to class and realized I did worse than most of the class on a project we all did. I took the prize of 5th place (that’s a guess). “Who cares? My identity is found in Jesus.” <—That was my response. My mind and my mouth said it, but my heart didn’t believe that fully. So starts the downhill spiral..So I go home last weekend, only to be stood up on many different occasions. I had planned on things happening, on spending time with people, on getting encouraged and refreshed: nope–instead, I was only humiliated when I would recieve a text saying they had made other plans or simply weren’t coming; I recieved the second place trophy. It wasn’t until this past weekend that this whole losing thing took me over. I would realize it when I would be talking to someone and after they told me how they were and asked how I was, their eyes would catch another person or object and they would walk away before even listening to “I’m alright.” OR: People I consider close friends would want to spend time with me and talk to me when they saw me one time..but a few days later would treat me completely differently when they saw me simply because the circumstances and people within those circumstances had changed. Second place. As I drove back to school today, the only thing I could do was cry in the arms of my King. How nice.

As I was driving, I got such a sweet response from God. “When I sent Jesus to die on the cross for you I didn’t send him to die for “not good enough” or “missing a few pieces” I sent him to win back my prized possessions. YOU, my dear, are a treasure to me. YOU are first place. YOU are a treasure that nothing on this earth could afford so I had to give up Jesus to win you back! You are won. You don’t win prizes, because you are My prize and I am the only prize you need and there is nothing that you have done to win me. When Jesus defeated death, when My victory was won: I won relationship back with You.” Woah. I would be lying if I told you that I held composure and moved on. In fact, I lost it: I wept. The fact that I am a treasure to Jesus hit a deep place within my soul. A place that has¬†long gone¬†untouched, a place that needed the Living Water. That place was touched today with the truth of God. I’m not saying that I am so free from the idea of being second place. But I am saying that I am no longer recieving the lie that I am bound to second place–I am a prize who was to die for.

“For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.” -Deuteronomy 7:6