Finding God In Our Messy Places

Today I’m not asking God to clean up any-2

I can’t tell you how many times I hear, “My life is so crazy right now.”

But, I promise I say it more than I care to admit.

Sometimes the crazy lingers for longer than we would like it to. But, the older I get the more settled I become in sifting through the crazy without feeling like I mirror the temporary madness.

Life couldn’t be more chaotic for me personally; everything around me is a mess right now as I try to figure out this next stage of being an adult by taking care of my father’s estate. I feel so inadequate to handle these huge decisions and have decided that adulthood is way overrated. I feel like I’m wading through a sea of waste (crap, really) and it’s thick enough to slow my steps, but I’m still moving forward.

I should be sucking my thumb and in the fetal position right now, but I’m not. I feel strange peace in the midst of loss and I know it will be okay even if it’s not okay right now.

This was my first birthday where I didn’t hear from my dad. By the end of the day, all my happiness from celebrating with friends and family disappeared for a second as I acknowledged it was okay to be sad that I didn’t hear him swearing in a voice message because I didn’t pick up my phone. After a few unnecessary words he would have said, “Well, I love ya, babe. Happy Birthday…and you really need to pick up the bleeping phone.”

I never really thought I would miss that because it always drove me crazy before, but I did.

One day we will miss the mess that imperfect people bring into our little world.

Years ago we welcomed a little boy into our hearts and our home. We loved him like our own flesh and blood and fought for him hard for four months. I remember saying after our failed adoption that I missed his mess. I never thought I would feel that way, but I missed his mess so much that it hurt to find toys and articles of clothing that were left behind. I even missed the little boy smell that was sweetly rank and often gag-worthy.

I missed finding Cheerios in the most bizarre places, the little trail he left. I lovingly referred to him as my Wreck It Ralph because he found a way to break the unbreakable. I tried to protect my heart in the beginning, but at the end it split wide open to embrace a risky love that made me better in every way possible. My heart was broken in a million pieces just to love him for a brief, wild summer fling that would forever change the way I view scary obedience to Christ.

The hurt was worth it.

If avoiding risks is our goal in life we will always wonder what’s missing inside of us. Following hard after Christ should be anything but safe and tidy.

Everything can change in such a little time and I’m certain that playing it safe needs to be taken off of the table in our negotiations with God.

Rummaging through the things my Dad left behind is hard. Soon it will all be cleaned up and once again I will find myself missing the mess, notes scattered everywhere that meant something to him. I never thought of my dad as a lover of words, but he was. He kept notes and letters from a selfish, faith-filled teenage girl in a jewelry box because it was his treasure.

Words that said, “I’m a teenager so I know I’m selfish sometimes. But, I’ll pay you back…I’m tired of beating myself up over this…I have so much faith that God has a plan in all this.”

My messy, handwritten apology was the treasure he kept for over twenty years and now it’s mine and priceless to me.

Dad's treasure

In my dark place of sifting through my father’s belongings I found his treasures were not in what he possessed, but in words and memories.

Today I’m not asking God to clean up any messes; I’m asking to see him in the messy places and the things I haven’t figured out yet. I’m asking him to show me the miraculous instead of asking him to make my life easier to handle. 

I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name. (Isaiah 45: 3 NIV)

Much love to you,

Jennifer Renee