I’d tell her her stuff makes me laugh as hard as the first time I saw Anchorman (really hard, BTW). I’d tell her how I just finished her latest book, Church of the Small Things, and cried the last two chapters like all three of my babies because it was like she was speaking to my soul. I’d try not to get too deep on our first encounter, but casually insert that I too struggle with feeling like I’m not doing enough and not making a big enough impact. I’d tell her I also have “all these feelings of being inadequate and questioning why things happen the way they do and wondering why I wasn’t good enough for this or that.” I’d tell her her words mattered to me.
I’m just overwhelmed, I finally squeak out. Clark and I got into a fight last night. About floors. I don’t think we can afford new floors in the new house, but he thinks we can. And watching our savings account disappear makes me feel all kinds of out of control. I like having a cushion. I think it’s an irresponsible decision, and all I want right now is to feel stable. In case you haven’t noticed, I am feeling unstable.
I laugh, but it comes out more like a bark. I make a mental note to google “How to Cry Adorably” when I get home.
We talk for a while. They ask questions and hold my hand. They pray over me. And then they give me the best marriage advice I’ve ever received.
That kid who keeps making fart noises and laughing hysterically? Love him.
That kid who went to the principal’s office for cutting another kid’s hair? Love her.
That kid who doesn’t know how to count to ten? Love her too.
That kid who peed all over the bathroom wall? Yep, even him.
That kid who cussed out the teacher? Absolutely. She needs your love so desperately.
Because here’s the thing. You might be just what they need.
I know, because I’ve been loved by you. And you were what I needed. I know what it is to be changed by you, to have my insides reconfigure because of your kindness. You’ve got it in you, this ability to infuse those around you with goodness. You can do that.
You haven’t felt God much in your life yet. You’ve heard countless sermons and been to boat-loads of Christian camps. You’ve gone on a couple of mission trips that involved you and your giggling friends passing buckets of mud to boys you had crushes on in the mornings and playing soccer with the locals in the evenings. You’ve even cautiously raised your hands up in the air while worshiping once or twice.
But if I asked you to pinpoint one time in your life in which you genuinely felt God’s presence, a moment that proved his real-ness to you, well, trust me… You’ve got nothin’.
I was overwhelmed. I had three tiny people who required all of me and left trails of you-name-it wherever they went. We were renting a 2,100 square foot house that was filled to the brim with stuff, most of which I didn’t even like.
My house was decorated with hand-me-downs from other relatives, dead or alive, and things I’d registered for pre-Pinterest and therefore pre-I-know-what-I-like-and-how-I-want-it-to-look. And I was DROWNING in housework even though my mom and MIL, God bless them forever and ever amen, paid for my house to be cleaned once a month (if you’re in need of a baby shower gift idea, that’d be the one).
So after reading a few books*, watching a few documentaries**, and sitting at the feet of friends a lot more like Jesus than me, I began feeling pulled toward SIMPLE.
So if reading my words is keeping you from reading God’s words, please, stop reading my blog. If reading all the Christian celebrities’ words is replacing reading The Word of the Lord God, stop reading them. These words, no matter how good, are meant to supplement God’s words, not replace them.
We fight depression and “man” colds, job losses and panic attacks, miscarriage and grief, sinus infections and the stomach flu. Together. We battle insurance claims, broken pipes, family caregiving, moving and childrearing. Together.
Even when both of us are feeling selfish. Even when both of us are feeling exhausted. Even when both of us want to throw in the towel, lift up our hands and cry out to God in agony, “We surrender.”