Messy.

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A few months ago, there was a day that I was feeling particularly close with God.
I’d just spent a few weeks at Christian camps with middle and high schoolers, and I was on top of the world.
I had the freedom of the summer and the joy of Jesus, and out of that came a bunch of words spilled all over this little piece of my heart on the world wide web.
(That’s how it normally happens, in case you’re wondering, absolutely nothing for a month, and then my fingers can’t help but type. I’m forever chasing inspiration. It’s like a cat, coming and going as it pleases. No care for schedules or emotions. Persistent at all the wrong moments. But enough about my writing process {and my feelings towards cats}.)
I pressed publish and tweeted a link, hoping probably more for a little praise or acknowledgement, a reference to the pride I so often struggle to keep at bay, than to really help someone like I say this place is supposed to do, to really bring glory to the God I say I write for, the one I claim to love so dearly.
I went on with my day, and a few hours later heard my phone ring, alerting me to a text message from an old friend, one who I don’t talk to often, but when his name pops into my inbox, I’m always certain there’ll be a good conversation to follow.
It was a sweet little text, one basically summed up by “I read the blog, and you seem to have it all together.” Kind of a “I want what you have” message. But not in the jealous sense of the words. In the Jesus sense of the words. We talked for a while about life and direction, what it meant to be a Christian, and what we would have to give up or change to get there.
It was a good conversation. One that I cherished not for what I gave but who I saw this person becoming.
It’s fun sometimes to see God work at a distance. It’s fun sometimes to be complimented for how God has worked in your life, acknowledging that it’s nothing you could control. It’s fun to try in all the ways you know how to make sure the glory goes to Him, but also it’s nice to know that someone else thinks you’re on the right track because there’s a moment almost everyday that I wonder.

Well, fast forward almost three months to today. And it’s been a couple hard weeks.
The kind that when you stop at the end of each week, you look to the next week and just know it will get better. Because another thing falling apart just seems ridiculous and mean.
And then you get to next week and a part of life that was going just fine a few days before crumbles in your hand. The part that you held onto, knowing you could fall back on it if the rest of the world fell apart, that part fades away too.
And you’re left with Jesus. And you realize He’s enough.

It’s been that kind of month. Which is good and beautiful because Jesus really is enough.
And there’s incredible peace in that.
But there’s also a lot of mess all around, needing to be picked up, dealt with, or thrown away.
And today I had lunch with a girl friend to deal with the pieces, decide what to salvage and decide what to dump.
And in planning for this lunch, praying about how to deal with the situation, I started planning my words carefully, picking pieces of the story to tell, only the ones relevant to this particular situation, leaving out the parts that might give her a little too much insight into life lately. For the sake of those involved, but also for my sake.
Because if I gave too much, she could think I was weak or less than or, my biggest fear, wrong. And I’ve been struggling against those thoughts. And as we talked, I gave a little more than I planned to.
Told a little bit outside of our immediate situation because I realized without it, the situation didn’t make sense and the context was necessary.
And I shared more of my heart than I planned. More of the hurt than I wanted to give. Was a little more vulnerable than my strong outer layer would let me be.
And out of that, she said these words, “Hallie, sometimes it’s okay to be defeated.” And words that I almost just brushed off, I let sink in. Because they were exactly what I was longing to hear.
That sometimes it’s okay to be defeated. Sometimes it’s okay not to have a clue what’s going on. Sometimes it’s okay to cry. Sometimes it’s okay to be frustrated. Sometimes it’s okay to feel pain. To really feel it. Not to make a good story out of it, yet. Or to point to how Jesus is redeeming it. But to just acknowledge that life is hard. That it is messy. And that sometimes, you wish it wasn’t. And not to complain or whine or be pitied. But to be real. To break out of the “good life” box and to embrace the bittersweet.

And as I sat at that table and poured out my little heart, my old friend walked by. The friend I don’t see often. The one with the text message.
We smiled, waved, and went on with our days, but, just for a moment, my mind wandered.
And I couldn’t help but want to share my life with this friend right now. Couldn’t help but want to show them that I don’t have it all together.
That life is complex and there are days when I really do have my cute face on and life somehow is working out in my favor. There are good days.
But just as often, I find myself at the bottom of a pit that I’ve run into, scurrying from one thing to another until messy is the only word that accurately describes my situations.
And on those days I am just a funny look away from falling at the face of my savior, crying out to the one who holds me no matter what. The one who takes my messy little life and redeems it. But the one who also just sits with me in the mess of it all, looks around and accepts me, laughing or crying.

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Enough For Today.

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I want to empty out my brain. Throw everything away and start fresh again.
Get rid of the preconceptions and useless facts.
Get rid of the emotions and ties that keep me bound to where I am. The stereotypes that won’t allow me beyond the walls around me.
I want Jesus.
All of Him. Everyday. Nothing more. Nothing less.
I want to create. To build, in the most feminine sense of the word. To make beauty.
I want beauty. Not to be beautiful. I don’t think that would satisfy that deep desire.
But to embody it, that would be right. To embody beauty in all I do.
In all my thoughts and words and actions.
I want to take pictures. Of everything around me. Even the trivial. To remember. But not stay stagnant.
I want to be thankful. For all that I have been given.
Because I’ve been given so much.
I want a new beginning. Of sorts. But maybe keep a little of the old. Or a lot.
The laughter and joy in friendships. The excitement of everyday miracles. Even a little of the pain.
Because, although I hate to admit it, it’s made me who I am.
I want to write. A book. Words with meaning.
And some without much, but that encompass the beauty that I hope to grasp.
Because sometimes it’s enough to just be. Sometimes all we need is a little bit of lovely.
Without all the junk. Just to dance. To celebrate each moment.
Because we’re alive. And living is enough for today.

–Hallie

It’s been a few discouraging weeks, so time again for a thankfulness post. (Or ten.)
Instead of doing one big one, I’m going to start an ongoing list of thanks, of sorts.
Think One Thousand Gifts. (And if you haven’t read the book, go get it today.)

1. Home. And its ever changing definition.


Home this week has been my Lawson Street house and a couple hours each day where my head hit the pillow for far too few Z’s. Home is sing-a-longs with Kristen when we’re both too tired to function and a quick dinner with Linda’s spaghetti sauce–frozen and sent 200 miles because she knows there will be days like these. Home is the three hours between Clinton and Ocean Springs in my trusty Saturn. It’s blaring T-Swift, who I should be over but it’s still just not a roadtrip without her. Home is the brown sectional at my parent’s Pine Drive house and not replacing Say Yes to the Dress with the boy shows because they love me. Home is that white clapboard church on Ocean Avenue that you can still see the beach from, reminders of a storm that changed everything. Home is a hug from an old friend’s mom. Home is blue and grey and everything from license plates to cross country bags monogrammed with that OS symbol. Home is the people who understand why Krispy Kreme is sacreligious–those  who have waited outside that little yellow building for a donut and cried when a little girl an entire town prayed for went home to be with Jesus. Home is reminders that everything is not perfect, but that Jesus is there. Home is hard work and being the best and the little brother’s cross country team coming home with four trophies from the weekend meet to prove it. Home is love. Home is where I found Jesus this week.

I hope you have found a home like mine.

–Hallie

Worship.

Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original:
whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.

C.S. Lewis.

Sometimes I feel like there is a whole string of words stuck together at the tips of my fingers.
Just waiting for the moment that I sit down and get it out on the grey fruit-encrested piece of metal that knows more of my thoughts than any human on this earth.
It’s days like today that creativity needs to be let out.
An afternoon when my fingers type. The canvas comes out, and the paint pours onto the lid of my paint box.
The music plays, and it’s not so much about creating something beautiful as it is about just creating.
(Although I do like when beauty arrives.)
But it’s the unexpected that beauty comes in.
The little string of words added at the last minute to the painting that brings it all together.
The moments when everything else in the world is put off for the worship of the King right now.
It comes in the everyday.
Because worship doesn’t just have to be standing in a chair or pew lined room on Wednesdays and Sundays, and I find myself more and more in touch with the Lord through conversations or listening to the radio in my car.
It’s the little things. Like sunshine and bright workout clothes on an afternoon run.
It’s new friendships and new situations. It’s old delights being brought back to light. Beauty created out of dust.
Because it’s about acccepting our Lord as One who loves us enough to show up in our everyday lives with little blessings and little reminders of His love. And trusting His leadings each day.
Our only purpose is to reflect Him. To watch for Him and point others to the light in our lives.
–Hallie.