I nearly incinerated my finger with a hot glue gun a while back. I was working on a project for my daughter’s wedding and almost welded my finger to the table.
While I soaked one hand in ice, with the other I dusted off the pages of her baby books and began thumbing through them.
One turn of a page and time slowed. Her sassy smile, blonde curls, little round face resting on her soft pillow almost looked through me at that moment.
The button-trimmed page lined with pink presented the illusion that I could keep her life—our lives—from being flawed and damaged. The sun set, my finger cooled, and the visual reminders of days gone by sunk deep into my soul.
Things Fall Apart
There were fewer photos as the years passed. My daughter’s smile changed; eyes that once danced with delight became dull and distant. Her animated enthusiasm turned inward.
Two younger siblings—one with an unbelievable amount of needs, many moves, and the pursuit of perfection obviously took its toll on our lives.
So I did what most do when they believe in illusions; I worked harder at doing the same things with intensified effort.
For no extra charge, here’s a little tip: using more force in the wrong direction will get you further from where you want to be, and, eventually, you will fall apart. I know because we fell apart.
Sometimes falling apart is the best thing that can happen in your life. At first, you’ll hate it, blame God for not holding up His end of the deal (whatever that “deal” was), and feel helpless and hopeless.
Then, you’ll see that you’ve made a “God-sized” mess that only God can scrub clean . . . and you will finally and gratefully let Him handle the clean-up.
Clean-Up in Aisle 5 (A.M.)
God is a great cleaner-upper. I know, because for a while He’s been cleaning up my daughter’s life and mine. It began years ago. The only time of the day I was able to have special time with my daughter was before my son with disabilities woke up—before 6:00 a.m.
She agreed to wake up with me at 5:00 a.m. (which was huge because we are not morning people). I planned NOTHING but to be with her and ask about her.
I didn’t plan a devotional, prayer, Scripture memory, or a Bible study. I planned to listen. Most of the time, we sat by the fireplace and fell back to sleep after about 15 minutes. I kid you not.
To this day, she says that is when God started His renovation work . . .
- A little talking
- A lot of listening
- No fixing
And God started polishing.
In November 2014 my daughter was married—almost 22 years to the day after she was born. As I watched her walk down the aisle, I could see that the sparkle in her eyes had returned.
Her wedding veil was lifted by the love of her life . . . almost as gently as God’s light lifts the veil of darkness when we finally give our messy lives to Him.
But we must step down that aisle of . . .
- Admission of failure
- Countless apologies
- Quiet confidence
That what He has started will be fully completed—perfectly crafted by His hands.
Let Me Hear from You
For some of you, this is a wake-up call. For others of you, it’s a reminder that walking with God is not a straight path, perfectly laid out like a picture book page.
Stop chasing illusions and turn over your messy reality to the God who created you, knows you, and is longing to cleanse and beautify your messy life.
What are you waiting for? And if you are in the renovation process, I promise you will be amazed at what God can do. This is my continuing renovation story. What’s yours?
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