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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