Want to hear the plot for a new chick flick coming out really soon?
Here’s the premise:
A girl is dating a boy whom she grew up with. Girl dates Boy for three years, having faced so many trials and mountains to climb in the relationship, and finds him to be her true love. Boy gets ready to pop the question when Girl’s future is whisked away from him by an opportunity of a lifetime and a decision to make. Girl and Boy struggle to figure out what should be done about their shared future. Girl becomes angry at God as she feels He is making her choose between one path or another. Girl becomes so depressed and angry at God that Boy breaks up with Girl so that Girl can come back to God again. (Here’s the plot twist/comical climax) Girl and Boy happen to be the Maid of Honor and Best Man for their best friends’ wedding, which happens to be three weeks after the breakup. Girl and Boy must face each other, their friends, and family at the wedding….
I’m still working on the ending. It should probably be finished by, say, this Sunday.
(Side Note: I feel absolutely zero honor in being one of the main characters of this story in real life. Instead, I’d rather be called Maid of Grace in hopes that I’ll be smothered with grace in the next few days like cheese and onions smothered on greasy hash-browns from Waffle House.)
In case anyone is wondering how I’m coping with my newly elected STATE FFA PRESIDENT of a brother, my goodbyes to my friends and professors at UF, my T-MINUS 30 days move to Texas, my role in another wedding that is not my own, and my recent breakup…. well, I’m not.
I love to credit God for the people He puts during certain seasons in my life because they are some of the surest, most undeniable blessings from God that I can thank Him for. The true friends in my life are the ones who love me unconditionally and accept my tendency toward depression and emotional breakdowns. And the truth is God woos my heart by putting these select people in my life to do this for me.
As I’ve alluded to in previous posts, moving home from Gainesville in between graduating from UF and moving on to Texas A&M has been hard. I left friendships and prayer warriors in that college town that can never be replaced. But alas, God has been faithful to provide a few people in Okeechobee to tend to my soul like gardener would tend to a garden grown up with weeds and un-plowable by most machinery.
Leslie is a new friend. I love to tell people that she is one of the most physically attractive people I’ve ever come to know in real life. At 36, she glows the beauty and radiance of someone closer to my age, and yet her intuitive wisdom is reminiscent of someone twice her own age. Leslie works at a salon right now where she serves people through facials and pedicures. Let me tell you something: Leslie works on your face and nails as if she is Jesus washing his disciples feet. Genuinely, I can say I feel the flow of God’s love through her fingertips as she carefully caresses the crevices on my face and the soles of my ugly feet. She’s listened to my fears about moving to Texas and shared her story with me as a reminder of how God redeems. She speaks exactly what she thinks and feels unabashedly, something that I struggle to do but I’m trying to learn. God allowed Leslie to speak out certain unspeakable strongholds from deep within my mind, and as I listened in shock that she was able to so clearly name these out loud I realized that this was one way God still speaks to his people. I cannot begin to explain how amazed I am that God gave me a friend like her during this desert-like transition of time between UF and TAMU.
Nikki is an old friend turned new. She is walking a similar road in that she also has an ex in the bridal party (We’ve been able to laugh and whine about this together.) Nikki is also beautiful inside and out, but like Leslie she also knows how to tell the truth that she knows without backing up from it. She knows her imperfections and areas of weakness; however, I don’t think she believes God is disappointed in her like I often do, that God is looking down on her shaking his head in disapproval. Instead, I believe she knows how her struggles make God sad and hurt for her, and so she takes and rubs on an extra serving of His Grace and moves forward so as to try again for next time. Nikki has made me feel normal and special at the same time; she makes me feel admired and respected in spite of my soul crying out with the question of how well do I really fit in when I know how different I truly am. Nikki isn’t sure about a few things in her life, but she is sure about her faith in me and in God’s ultimate promises, and even in her honesty about her uncertainties I can hear the heart of a young woman with more hope than she knows.
And then sometimes God brings me back to mentors of previous seasons of life. Sam walked with me (literally we WALKED for miles until we found the courage to start running, both physically and spiritually…there’s just so much symbolism from that time that it can’t all be explained here) during some of my darkest days, days where I wrestled with God, with the sins in my life, and with my own soul.
And here I sat in her living room, years after this time when we battled demons and strongholds with scripture and miles under our running shoes. She and I talked about marriage and the ins and outs of it. We talked about God’s will and how too often He simply gives us opportunities to choose a path rather than just choose right or wrong. And just as 99.9% of all female conversations do, we proceeded to talk about related, familiar stories that supported our discussion points.
Sam’s 8 year old nephew was at the dinner table telling his mom what he wished he had said when it was his turn to say thanks to God during the dinner prayer. In typical boy fashion, he said:
“I was going to say that I am thankful that God lets us poop. Wanna know why? Because our butts would hurt really bad if we didn’t.”
Honestly, I think he was on to something deeper. And it has nothing to do with a colonoscopy (BA-DUM-CHHH).
I am a firm believer that God DOES sometimes allow more than we can handle into our lives; however, I also believe that even in these unbearably hard times that God’s intentions are to spare us still from even greater hurt and displacement from His will.
So here it is:
The God-given Truths when (Poo-poo) happens.
(Things are about to get really smelly. And Weird. Definitely Weird.)
- My professor from UF had this saying he’d like to say to his students about the realities of life. He would say,”You can’t sugarcoat $hit.” We would laugh, but it’s so true. You really can’t prettify poop. If you’re standing knee deep in hard times and the waters are continuing to rise, I think it’s okay to recognize that you’re close to drowning. Christians like to throw hollow statements at individuals in these situations like, “God won’t give you more than you can handle,” or “you’ll be so much closer to the Lord on the other side of this.” The cold, hard truth is that God can choose to allow the earth to flood and it feel like it’s raining death for forty days and nights before there’s any sign of relief. And then, when the rainbow is in view, you may not feel as overjoyed to see it as much as you simply feel relieved that the worst is over. Furthermore, it may take years before you can really look back to understand the beauty and purpose in the rainbow and those long days and nights. We see snapshots right now, mere closeups of a picture that is so big and expansive that it is inclusive of way more than just our life stories. It would be a lie to say that the zoomed-in snapshot in our hands of our present hardships is beautiful to behold since we really can’t presently identify what it is in light of the greater picture. Instead, we should look forward to the putting together of the greater picture because when that day comes it shall truly be wonderful to see.
- You can’t continue to smell past poop (even if it smelled so bad that if you try really hard you can still remember the smell of it today). There is a difference between allowing wounds to heal into scars to showoff as proof of healing and picking the scab of a wound so that it forever stays with you. Sometimes, we can allow our past hurts to make time stand still so that we never move forward. Instead of experiencing new joys and hurts, we keep feeling the same old hurt over and over. At some point in the process of moving forward, we have to promise to never smell our old poop again.
- You can’t clean up someone else’s poop for them. When my brother was about 3, he attempted to “cleanup” his 2.5 year old cousin’s messy diaper. By the time my parents and aunt and uncle found them both, my brother had stripped our cousin bare naked and made him squat in the running sink (which was by this point overflowing with water) while he handled the poop in one of Dad’s football caps. My potty-trained brother didn’t understand what he was doing wrong: he was cleaning his cousin up from the mess he had made. What my brother didn’t realize was that as much as he wanted to help his younger cousin get “right” again, he was not much further along in his own abilities to take care of himself. To put it this way, we don’t really ever get to a point when we don’t need God to clean ourselves up; therefore, there’s never ever going to be a time when we can truly clean someone else up from their mess without God’s help and guidance.
- Your poop stinks right now, but in the grand scheme it will mean nothing more than the fact that you’re alive and moving forward. I go back to point made about the snapshots and the grander picture. I don’t think there is always a perfect life lesson that forms out of every hardship and dark season we face like an episode of Full House or Saved by the Bell. God doesn’t waste hurts, and He awaits the day when we get to look back and recognize how our hurts became a beautifully intricate part of his masterpiece we call life. But if all you get out of walking out of a storm is that storms rain really hard, that storms have loud bursts of thunder and scary lightening, and that you’re thankful you’ve walked out of it alive thanks to God, then I think that’s okay. Granted, God may slap you in the face with a thousand symbolic lessons that will carry on into a new ministry once you take the time to reflect on your time in the storm. But that doesn’t have to happen right after the storm like we think it’s supposed to. You don’t have to know why the storm came or what God wanted to do through the storm as long as you can be satisfied in just knowing He allowed it and carried you through it.