I just don’t know that person

As I made my way down the hall my mind ran wild with the possibilities of what I could have done wrong. I was heading toward my boss’s office and our upcoming 1:00 meeting. ‘Did I say something I shouldn’t have’, ‘did I forget to put something away’, pounded against my heart as I pushed against the heavy dark brown door and slowly entered the square tan walled office.

“Hey Amy,” I offered warily

“Hey, come in and take a seat,”

The next few minutes were spent with chit chat while my hands wildly described the littlest of details unable to silence the insecurity.

“So I really called this meeting because I wanted to talk to you about something,”

“Oh, here it comes”-I thought to myself as if I was still a child facing my parents; afraid of some ominous punishment for a mistake.

“Okay,” I replied

“As you know there is a position open on my team as a team pastor, and I believe you would add a great deal to us. Would you consider joining us as a team pastor.”

“uuhhhhh…that isn’t what I was expecting to hear,” I sputtered.

“What?? Did you think you were in trouble,” Amy replied in astonishment.

“YES,” I laughed out

“Well now that we have that out of the way, what do you think? I know you will want to talk to Charles about it. Right now though what do you think?”

“Well….” I started and then just let the silence come. Amy is one of those impressive people you can sit in silence with. It doesn’t make her feel awkward or uncomfortable, it is simple a part of the conversation. So we sat in the silence.

And in a little more silence.

“Well, I don’t know. I mean yes I want to be a team pastor, and yes I want to talk to Charles. But more then anything Amy, are you sure?”

“What do you mean am I sure,?”

“Are you sure you want to pick me. I mean I am a mess. I can be edgy, I can be insecure, I don’t always say the right thing, I can sometimes follow the rules to a default…..” And I wish I could remember all the other shortcomings I listed, cause there were a bunch. I went on for a while and Amy let me.

Finally, I stopped.

“Katie, I am sure all that you are saying is true. I just haven’t met that person that you are talking about,”

“But Amy what if I do something wrong, and say something edgy or I don’t but someone takes it that way and they come back to you and complain and I have hurt somebody. I mean I am a mess and I will possibly make messes!”

“Katie, it doesn’t matter if they do or if that happens…because I KNOW WHO YOU ARE and there is no mess too big that I can’t help you clean up. I am not afraid of you being messy,”

Whatever tears were being held back at that point flooded through releasing that child waiting for ominous punishment. Opening up elbowroom in the belief system of I am too broken, too messy.

That conversation came back to my mind last Sunday as I was standing in church. The tears fell easily remembering how known I felt in that moment; even more known then I knew myself.  Amy loved and mentored me from the place of ‘please make a mistake’ and ‘trust me to love you through it, because I trust you’. I trust who you are and if you make a mess I trust you to clean it up, to make right a wrong, and apologize for whatever you may need to along the way. There was no punishment for mistakes or poor choices. It didn’t mean Amy never felt let down or sometimes frustrated, it just meant she could tell me and she trusted I would own my part, apologize and move on.

She trusted me when I wouldn’t trust myself. And you know what happened?

After 3 years I realized, God was saying the same thing to me.

God does not care how messy I am, or what I am working through. He sees all of me and he isn’t panicked. He isn’t aghast of my decision, my thoughts, my ideas, my dreams, my shortcomings, or my mistakes. He actually wants to live a life with me in which I trust him with my mistakes because it reveals his love. It carves out of everyday life this cavity of space that says, I am worth love not because of perfection but simply because of who I am. My mistakes and shortcomings are not the only things that make up my design; they are simply a part of me that continue to offer the opportunity to see how greatly loved I am.

How much are we missing this with our drives for perfection?

Or with our lifeless views on relationship with Him?

Or with this perception that He is trying to work the humanity out of us?

Or how many of us are holding those in leadership to these perfection standards; broken hearted when their humanity shows?

And how many of us chose to be the Amy’s of the world, and say ‘I see your humanity and choose I say there is no mistake too big that we can’t clean it up’?

I am less messy then I was 3 years ago, but I am still messy. I still make mistakes. I also KNOW WHO I AM, and that those mistakes are simply a piece of my humanity that I am more comfortable with. Amy’s belief in me, gave me the elbowroom to beat away at the shell of lies that kept me small. Her willingness to stand in the gap and say “I see what Jesus sees’ gave me the strength to keep beating away at the shell. Today as I walk around more whole I find myself compelled to make the same space for others, not just because it changed me but also because I believe it is simply apart of the gospel. John 13:15-17 The Voice Version says: 15 I am your example; keep doing what I do.

Let us be a people who do that.

This time last year

This time last year I was driving, you daughter, to my Aunt’s house, knowing it was possibly the last time your extended family was going to be able to see you.

It was hard trip.

You didn’t feel good.  You had acquired additional medicines and equipment. Packing was a full time job and more then a chore. Yet it was important.  It was meaningful to sit with our family and be grateful.

This year, Katie Grace, we are home.  Your Rebekah is cooking up a storm  in our kitchen, and we are filling our home full of friends.  There is so much to miss without you this year, yet as I sit here snug on the couch watching the fall colors blow in the wind, I am nothing but grateful.

I am grateful for every Thanksgiving I had with you.  That in this world I had the opportunity to know you.  That I have stories to tell of you, like that one time we went to Aunt Nancy’s and we forgot the pole to your stroller that held your kangaroo bag with your food.  So we had to create something on Aunt Nancy’s porch with a nail.  Or that time that you were just irritated with everything and nothing I did helped, so your dad took you and were as happy as could be.  For that alone, that I could watch you love him. Even in your brokenness….everyone knew he was your favorite. I am grateful to have a history to look back on, one where I can talk about your love for your family, your tenacity for your destiny and your laughter. Last night as we walked through Target, grabbing a few items for today, we passed the freezer section, and your dad couldn’t help but say Katie Grace loved this part of Target.  Just like that you were there with us.  Walking that aisle.  Helping us prepare for this day.

We are going to sit down today to eat, and although I will not see your physical body at the kids table. I will know you are with us.  I will see you here and I will remember our history.  I will be grateful that we have a history.  That I have stories to tell and memories to hold.

“How precious are my children who remember to thank Me at all times.  They can walk through the darkest of days with Joy in their hearts because they know that the Light of My Presence is still shining on them. Rejoice in this day that I have made, for I am your steadfast Companion.”- Sarah Young, Author of Jesus Calling. 

 

Lemonade stand

Sometimes, I think I am little bit like Brennan Manning, when it comes to my blog posts. Not that I write as well as him, or am nearly in the same arena as he. More in the way of that I really only seem to write about one thing.  Brennan was like that. He wrote lots of book and is an incredible writer, he just really had one theme throughout it all…GRACE.  It was his life theme and it was his writing theme.  Ragamuffin Gospel, was life transforming for me.  I basically sat at Starbucks and cried my way through the book. If you haven’t read anything by him, I suggest you do. He paints a picture of the Lord and his love for us in such an outrageous way.

I find myself writing a lot about pain and hurt.  About overcoming it, about living while it is happening.  About loving, laughing, enjoying, embracing, everything, including the pain and hurts of this life.  When I sit down in the morning with the Lord he seems to be opening my eyes to this life of not fearing pain.  Of not being afraid of what is thrown at you.  I have this picture in my mind, and its this cute white and brown wood Lemonade stand.  I am standing there with Jesus, and we are talking and laughing and smiling. Some pain walks by, some hurtful comment, some bad choice, some thing that causes strife, something that is supposed to pull the Lord and I apart instead of push us deeper into each other. That something kind of chucks lemons at us.  Sometimes they are HUGE lemons, sometimes they are just little lemons, sometimes they are hardened and sting a little when they hit, sometimes they are rotten and just kind of mushy.  Either way the Something, is the lemon chucker and as these lemons are being chucked at me, Jesus is handing me the water and sugar and we are taking the lemons and making lemonade.  We laugh, I cry cause it hurts, I learn because he teaches, He looks at me with adoring eyes, he cries with me, we joke about how that lemon hurt, we clean me off when the mushy ones hit, he cracks some joke about I possibly smell like rotten lemons, I playful punch him in the arm and try to push him out of my lemonade stand.  He pushes me back and playfully reminds whose lemonade stand it truly is.  And we are connected and bonded and grow deeper in our relationship. And although life is throwing lemons at me,  all I can do is have fun and grow deeper with the Lord.

I think we all have our own lemonade stands.  I think we all have some kind of lemons that are thrown at us.  I think Jesus is standing there with us, in all of our lemonade stands, the Master Lemonade maker, aching to let us enjoy the process with him. Now I don’t believe the we need to call down lemons, I don’t think we need to wallow in the pains and hurts of this world, that is not what the lemonade stand is.  We live in a fallen, carnal, broken world….fallen, carnal, broken things are going to happen.  We in our humanness are going to make poor decisions, we are going to think one thing and have another thing happen.  These things are going to happen in life, the question is what do you do with it?  Do you stand in the lemonade stand, angry and hurt disconnected from the Master Lemonade Maker?  Or do you throw yourself into his arms and ask him to teach you about lemonade?  Do you let him wipe off the mushy lemons and tend the bruised areas where the hard lemons hit? Do you laugh when he tells you how stinky you are and playfully push him out of your stand? Do you let him push you back and remind whose stand it is?  That is all he wants from us.  The chance to be who He is.  Playful, loving, kind, passionate, unafraid, and  powerful.

He just wants us to let him be the Master Lemonade Maker.

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