Monday, April 29, 2013

Messy Monday: The Blog Post That (Almost) Didn't Happen

Ok, I thought I was going to write tonight.

And now I'm thinking not so much...

You see, my 7 year old is desperate for some cool air on the warmest night of the year thus far- seriously it's about 74 degrees in the house. She's overtired.

There's a baby wailing in her crib- she's overtired.

And there's a 3 year old who refuses to get off the toilet to get to the toilet paper. She "needs" me to do it and she's going to cry until I rush in and accomplish the task that she manages to do by herself 20 times every day. She's overtired... And she might be there a while. (No seriously, I just told her that she's going to have to go to sleep on the potty then. That was some motivation for her.)

I pray, Dear Jesus, please let the boy be asleep.

I was going to tell you all about smudges. About how it wouldn't take a CSI task force to figure out who has been where in this place. In just the right light you can see everything. I even took a nifty picture of our pantry door to illustrate the point for you.

(Just a note: that picture won't be with us today. It would take some sort of artistic effort and... I'm overtired.)

So let's use our imaginations and just pretend that we've seen some door in our homes covered with some rather unique fingerprints. Oil residues. Smudges.

Would it take a CSI task force to figure out who's been where in this heart of mine today? I hope not. And I'm not making this piece about the law either. Who's been smudging up your life, Satan or the Lord?

I can tell you with absolute certainty that if your day in any way resembled mine, you were short-tempered, irrational, annoyed, slow to listen and quick to speak, and then some. But take a moment and realize something: those weren't your smudges on an otherwise perfect day that God had planned for you. He didn't have everything in place, only to have your bad attitude ruin His handiwork.

It is that perfect, ideal world that we have built into our head, where we have the courage, strength, and stamina to juggle all the day's tasks with all the grace of circus performer (our lives are circuses sometimes, no?), and all on our own, with no need for forgiveness and humility. I don't know- is that what you think God has planned for any of us?

Not to imply that grace and charm and maybe just fifteen words out of my mouth that flowed from love and generosity wouldn't have been nice today, but when my goal is to perform up to my standards, and when my inevitable collapse is so... dramatic, maybe I should take a step back, adjust the light, and see if perhaps all this smudging of my plans bears a familiar fingerprint.

You probably knew this, but smudging is also an artistic technique that can add many things to a piece, one of which being a more realistic depth.

So I get to thinking, what if this stick figure portrait of myself, my life, needs a bit more depth, and the only way that can happen is if the Artist dips His finger into my frail dust and "messes" with the lines I had drawn so clearly?

What if it were possible to look at the door to my heart and see His fingerprints as clearly as I do my own children's on our pantry door?

What if all this planning to get out of the house, to get the errands done, to get the laundry washed, to write- what if God adds depth to it all by sticking His hand directly into my happenings and molding, smudging, downright smearing my Old Adam wisdom until it looks less and less like a stick figure and more and more like a real woman.

Less and less like a check mark, and more and more like a cross.

Less and less like a house, and more and more like an empty tomb.

Then those thwarted plans, temporary annoyances, smudges on my porcelain itinerary, they become opportunities for grace. Real grace. Not the kind that I fantasize I have earned through my winning personality and stellar supper menu.

The grace that is in the trenches. Always increasing. Always enveloping. Always abiding. Always active.

Grace on a mission, because my life is a mission field. 

Well in that case, smudge away, Lord.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. - Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

When We Try to Be God- and it all falls apart

I let the dishwasher steal my joy today. The. dishwasher.

To be honest, there was absolutely no reason for me to be angry. I didn't even have it in my sights. But then I walked into the kitchen and the dingy white contraption caught my eye. Innocent enough except for one glaring absence. The "clean" light. That little light that was supposed to reassure me that, even in my zombie state, I did, in fact, remember to start the dishwasher before bed last night.

My heart tightened and sometimes I honestly believe one reason God made our teeth so strong was so mothers wouldn't clench them into smithereens. I couldn't help it (in truth I could, but I just didn't want to because this is NOT fair), I just said the words, "Am I the only idiot in this house that knows how to turn on a dishwasher?" I realize I just put that out there- I'm a bad mom. I said idiot and I'm not making excuses. It wasn't nice and totally uncalled for. (I'm working on it, starting with Lysa TerKeurst's Unglued. Pray for me.)
But that's what happens when you wake up and the world is thrust on to your shoulders and you want to shout, "I didn't sign up for this!"

I'm a firm adherent to giving my kids a happy morning before they head to school, but pretty soon I was just done. I cleared off the counters, and loaded the trash, and emptied the bathroom trash, and started the dishwasher, and started breakfast, and let the dog out, and... wiped off the bathroom counter- all except for the sinful empty toilet paper roll lounging by the sink, the roll that someone had bothered to tear in half, but not to throw away. So I called the oldest two in and asked, "Does anyone in here know where a trash can might be? We have several." They are older and so now able to tell when Mama is in a mood, so the oldest said, "Yes Ma'am." She took the roll and headed to the kitchen garbage.

I kept telling myself that these problems were really my own, that they were so insignificant compared to the problems around the world. My dog has cleaner water than half the world's population for Pete's sake. I'm not struggling.

But the struggle is far more fierce and universal than a dishwasher mishap- it's this propensity to make ourselves God. We ask, "why do I do this to myself?" Why? When it turns the one-of-a-kind melody of a child's trusting "Mommy" into the grating of nails on a chalkboard? When it wrings our hearts so hard that there is not a drop of love left for anyone? When it exhausts us beyond reason and way beyond any desire to be rational and actually read the Word of God?

 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
When God is God, all things hold together.
When I play god, it all falls apart.
If you are like me, you probably need to read this:
You are not God.
Relieved at all? Read this one:
Be still and know that I am God.
Psalm 46:10
My mom sent me an email in the midst of the warzone that was my personality. I waded through my mucky attitude and it was worth it to reach her message. She was sending me our weekly memory verses, but it was so much more. It was the Father's words through my mother's fingers. And because I know that there are so many parents who could use an encouraging message from their mother, and especially from our Father, I will leave you with her message. It is for you too. Read it. It is for you.

Dear beautiful daughters,
I feel so blessed to have you as daughters. You are amazing women full of faith and it gives me so much joy to have you in my life. Here’s the bible verses for this week:
Yet I am always with you;
You hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
And afterward you will take me into glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Psalm 73:23-26
Love you dearly,
(Your Father)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Messy Monday: When Everything is Messed Up

I sit with my children upstairs on their bedroom floor. All of us in our PJ's. I've been praying all day. Every single human interaction has breathed fear, anxiety, anticipation as the country waited with bated breath for some news.

That was probably the worst part of the day's drama. The not knowing.

And the faces. The photos of a boy. Not even the 8 year old. The 19 year old. A kid. And he is just as dead as his victims, deader still because his heart cannot feel.

So I read Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, and Trucktown and Disney books with the four when my husband sticks his head through the door. "They caught him." I just want to cry. He is alive, and he is caught, and I feel as though the burning relief in my heart just can't be contained so it just floods and I stare at the words, speak the words, while my mind is in a far off land.

8 hours later Scott's pastor phone blares an electronic tune that is hardly a melody and that churns my heart into panic. An hour later he sits beside two church members, a police officer who just a little while earlier received a call to the scene of an accident; as well as the only survivor of the accident- the officer's wife.

And in nearly 24 hours their daughter will tesify to her faith in Jesus Christ in front of a packed church. Only at that time she doesn't know where her mother and father are. Or what has happened to her mother's uncle.

As Scott listens, consoles, prays, I rummage for breakfast with a prayerful heart and distracted mind. I open the refrigerator that is gradually being clothed in Bible verses my mother and sister and I are memorizing. I glance at the latest Biblical apparel:

Rejoice always, Paul urges.
Pray without ceasing,
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1Thess 5:16-18)

I selected those verses for us 2 weeks ago. If you get a chance, check out their context- crazy applicable.

Rejoice always. Come again, Lord?
The Lord would not tell us to do what He Himself was not capable of accomplishing in us. At the same moment pain and fear and circumstances are crippling a nation, there are those entering the sheepyard of faith, joining the fold. And heaven is rejoicing- not at the expense or in the face of tears, but because when a sinner repents it is just too good not to rejoice. The daughter of the hospitalized woman declared her faith before men and women and children alongside 3 of her classmates just a few hours ago- such cause to rejoice. Your faith-heaven rejoices over that as well, and you should too!

Pray without ceasing.
That one wasn't too hard to swallow this week.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
When my kids are breathing, and running, and singing, and yelling, and nagging, and tattling, and fighting, and laughing... how can I not be thankful?
When my husband loves me like Christ loved the church... how can I not be thankful?
When my family and friends enjoy health and faith... how can I not be thankful?

Yet, while I am beyond thankful for those gifts I absolutely do not deserve, the graces lavished by a generous God for reasons beyond me- the true source of that unexplainable, all-the-time thankfulness is this: There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death... Romans 8:1-2

Rejoice, Pray, Give thanks- and the serving and loving and living will come easier.

RGP people- until this whole messy world is just a memory.

I'm curious...
What Bible verses cause joy and thankfulness to well up in you, even when it seems there is so little for which to be thankful?

Friday, April 19, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Jump

For Five Minutes this Friday I went somewhere I don't normally go. Why the prompt "Jump" would bring me there I have no idea, but that is part of the fun of this exercise. No editing, no backtracking, no fancy-fying are three blind mice that open eyes in writers as much as readers. So I took the five minutes and gave the five minutes back. If you want to join me and the other AMAZING writers around the world doing this very prompt, check out the Five Minute Friday link at the bottom of the right hand column. Or just go and read the other blogs. But first, read this.


They’re coming for us.

It is uttered from the dark.

Who’s they?

I don’t know yet. But they are.

And they won’t rest until they get every last one of us.

And it’s a phrase spoken not in fear, but as fact. I give my husband 15-20 years before he’s jailed for his Gospel proclamations.

Because, for the first time, I see the battle raging on the homefront and the enemy’s tactics increasingly clear, and I see him gaining ground.

I mentally prepare the young troups. Strategies cry out and I feel the desperation of a leader in battle. We must be ready.

I wake this morning and turn on my 2-dimensional trainer.

It’s plyometrics today- “jump training,” Tony calls it.

“You’ll jump higher,” he promises.

“You’ll run faster.”

I believe he even says I’ll “beat the panties” off anyone else.

And my heart and lungs will be stronger than ever.

So I jump.

My knees protest. My thighs, my feet, my mind, my heart- a deafening chorus of protest.

But I jump.

And I pump.

I extend.

I swivel, pivot, raise, and the fancy plates on the wall join the protestations.

Yet, I jump.

And the burning in my legs and heart and lungs tell me that I am doing the hard things to prepare for the battle.

And I open the Word. And I do the hard things. I train. I jump.

Not so I can be the best jumper. My husband coaches better jumpers than I.

Not so I can be the best Biblical scholar. I’m light-years behind so many.

Because I will face physical battles, and the jumping will ease the blow.

Because the spiritual powers wage their battles as well, and I have a God who is mightier than anyone can imagine. And He is my trainer. And the battle will be waged. And the war will be won.

And that makes all this jumping more than worth it.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Messy Monday: Morning Breath

I know the cost effectiveness of maintaining good oral health.

Be honest. Have you ever heard a better opening line to a devotion?

But it's true. I've never crunched the numbers, but I'm fairly certain that the price of toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash, floss, and faithful dental checkups (with adequate dental coverage) is way less than all the mouth work you'll have done after neglecting the above list. Add in the vanity of it all, and it's a slam dunk. I'm gonna brush my teeth in the hopes that I'll still have them when I'm old.

However... that's not why I wake up and rush to brush each morning.

You can thank morning breath for that.

Ideally, we would wake up each morning fresh and clean and new with none of yesterday's junk or tomorrow's worries hanging about. Ideally we'd let each day take care of itself and view the present as indeed the gift it is. But morning breath is our little reminder that some things carry through, and that every day we absolutely must remember that we are not home yet. Morning breath gives us another reason to look forward to heaven. Really, it does.

It also gives us a God-given clue as to what our attitudes would undoubtedly be like if we weren't brushed all over, inside and out, with His Word in our lives.

We can study the causes of morning breath, and our sinful circumstances. But the honest-to-God truth is this: without the Word reaching the in-between-places of our soul, washing, cleaning daily, we WILL eventually carry around in our thoughts, words, and deeds, the stink of ungratefulness, hopelessness, decay.

Satan has no greater joy than to rob the children of his enemy of the victory that is theirs in Christ Jesus. If he can eat away at the enamel of our joy, infect us with discontent and hopelessness, what glory can we live out for the Father?

Some days stink. Almost as bad as my morning breath. That is when we get to trade our morning mourning breath for God's life-giving morning Breath. The same breath the Creator used to give life to the dust of man, He breathes in and through His Word and our hearts. We have a date with the Holy Spirit! Reading the Word does not change my circumstances, most of the time. But it certainly changes my heart toward those circumstances.

Reading the Word changes my attitude toward the people with whom I am frustrated.
It calms my heart when I'm fearful of the future.
It tells me of the God who is in control.
It reminds me that my Father is merciful.
It assures me that this responsibility is NOT all on me.
It protects my conscience when the devil accuses me.
It breaks me when I am prideful.
It lifts me up when I am humbled.
It strengthens me when I am weak.
It sings to me when I am discouraged.
It opens my ears when I am deaf.
It opens my eyes when I am blind.
It encourages me when I'm not sure if I'm doing anything right.
It finds me when I am lost.
It gathers me in when I am astray.
It infuses me with courageous life that cannot be stolen, no matter what the circumstances.
It points me to my Savior~ and then I reread this list of what the Word works in me and "It" becomes "He."

This God—his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him. ~Psalm 18:30

I'm just curious...

What does the Word do for/in/to you?
What difference does it make in your day and life when you wake up with the Word?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Here

It's Five Minute Friday time here in these parts again. The weekly moment where I write for five minutes without editing on a prompt from the lovely Lisa-Jo Baker. And while the writing is fun, the reading is even better. Women across the globe turn their screens into inkpads and scroll their words across them just to see how unique their fingerprints really are. And they are so unique. It's a blast. Come join us.

But for now. Today's prompt. Here.


"Here. Take it."

Here isn't a place. Here is an offer.

"Here. It's for you."

Here is His offer to me.

"Take it. Take the toys on the shower floor. Take the toothpaste dried on his t-shirt. Take the tangles in the hair. The morning breath. The screams, cries, and stubborn stomps. Take them. The incessant barking. The poop on the bathroom floor. The loads of laundry. The dishes in the sink. Here, take the friends on facebook. Take the quiet moments in prayer. Take them. They are for you."

"Here. Take my body. Take my blood. Take me."

Here isn't a place. It's a gift. And who am I to refuse the Giver?

I echo Job in my soul. Should I not accept the good and the bad?

And is the bad really bad, or is it just viewed that way through fallen, too often ungrateful, eyes?

Here. He is here.

This is where He deigns to dwell.


Thursday, April 11, 2013

What You Can Do When You Can't Do Anything

He must be the father of lies, because when that serpent enticed Eve to eat, he said her eyes would be opened.
So why can we see no farther than my three year old on a walk through the park?


Why is swimming in sin described as being covered by darkness?
We hear about a blind man leading another blind man.
And they both fall into the pit.
Is it just me or does it seem like this world is just one big heap of blind men leading each other into pits, and dragging every sorry soul down with them?

And we talk to them about finding Jesus. Look at my daughter. Who is she finding? If not for her mother, she would have bit it hard and her face would have found nothing but concrete lickety-split.
Find Jesus? Friend, most people can't find their way out of their own circumstances, let alone past them to search for a Messiah they aren't even sure exists. Uh-uh. I've seen people looking. Looking hard. But to be honest, it's only when they are down in a pit so utterly devoid of light that they find Him.
Because He found them first.
Maybe it isn't that hard for everyone. Maybe it's just me and a select few that have had to grope in the darkness. Maybe there are those people, those women, who one day said, "Ready or not, here I come," and found the Lord right where they were. Maybe.
But the scene I'm picturing is more like one in those prison movies. Like The Shawshank Redemption. Being thrown into the "hole." 
Steep in that a second. Solitary confinement. It's the particularly egregious sins that land you there. My most flagrant sins had me there. A solitary soul confined to an impenetrable cell of sin.
And then the door swings open and the light shines in.
And you're either facing the merciless warden from Shawshank who tells you that there is no grace for you. You are a prisoner for life. (Yes, that message does come out of the mouths of those who claim to represent the Light.)
Or, you simply face the Light. The blinding light that opens your eyes on a road that would otherwise lead to your utter destruction. The illuminating light that reveals that you never really were solitary in your confinement because, you see, Christ was there with you. 
You were never really alone.
You still aren't.
Some would say that's well and good, but what about those stumbling beggars outside our doors leading parades into pits and leaving others to grieve over their fallen loved ones?
And what if I, this sinner-saint, am not really shielding my eyes from the sun, but from the Son?
And they are dragging me down too.
And I'm tired of fighting.
Then take these words. Take this courage. Do not be afraid to open your eyes and stare directly at the Son as you read His lips:
The Lord sets the prisoners free;
the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the sojourners;
He upholds the widow and the fatherless,
but the way of the wicked He brings to ruin.
Psalm 146:7b-9
The Lord. Anyone else think we should leave the worrying to Him? Anyone else think it's time to lay down our weapons, and lay down our palms on the road to honor the King of the universe?
Anyone else think it's time to lay it all down?
I once was lost, but now am found. Was blind, but now I see.
In our passivity- Christ's activity. Who needs the strength of God unless they are weak in themselves?
Hope is good only for those who know that all other signs point to hopeless.
It's the sick that need a doctor.

For those of us who have done the stumbling, felt the ache- to watch those who are where we have been is excruciating. We can't remove the hand they use to cover their eyes. Only the Spirit can lift that veil. If you think that is your job, you will rob yourself of that relationship, and many nights' sleep.
If you think that is your job, hear the words of Beth Moore: Fire yourself.
But here is what we can do: we can take their other hand. The one that isn't fighting the Son, if there is one. And we can whisper the Son's light onto and into their lives so that, despite their dark vision, they can't help but feel His warmth kiss their cheek.
Paul described this Christian life of testimony in tribulation to the Thessalonians:
Rejoice always,
pray without ceasing,
give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
~1Thessalonians 5:16-18
That courageous, transparent faith in the midst of the dark nights of our days-
that is a witness that cannot be ignored.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Messy Monday: The Crud that Clings

He had an issue. He had about 10 minutes to be at school and the boy's shoes had evaporated. He boasts the same selective eyesight as most other 5 year olds, and after some memory jogging he managed to sprint downstairs and reappear in the kitchen with his Spiderman sneaks.

Caked. in. mud.

Oh yeah, yesterday had been a fun day in the backyard.

The child was in distress over his pair of disasters, but the fixer-upper mother snatched the sneakers and got to work. Grabbing the only tool in reach, a butter knife, I set to work over the garbage can, gouging the mudpies and soccer steals and all other manners of fun things out of the crevices of his treads.

It wasn't my first time, of course. I've done this stuff a lot. Enough that perhaps by now I can feel kind of... put upon. Leave it up to mom. Old Faithful. Tride and True there to clean up the mess after everyone's had their good times.

I didn't have time to think of that at the moment.

All I thought was shake the dust from your feet. If people don't receive your testimony, if they reject the Word of God you proclaim, shake off the dust and hit the road. But that didn't echo the message in my heart.

How about if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out. There's a lot of gouging going on here and if I'm finding my soul's tread gunked up by indiscretions, I should get to gouging before I go transgressing on other people's lives. True enough, but still not quite what I had in mind.

Then I found it. Hebrews 12:1-3~

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
My son is fleet of foot and quick to run when given the chance. How many times have we watched kids run carefree and spoken the old "wish I had their energy" adage? I know someday he will slow down like the rest of the world, but I pray his spirit never does. The grimy sin clings so closely, burrowing its way into the treads of our lives, slowing our hearts. Slowing our witness. The steps becoming heavy and burdened. If only there was some way to be free of the junk.
I believe we're all equipped with butter knives, and not just for our own lives- but for those of others. What if we took our spreaders into the lives of others, not to dig for and eradicate their sin as though the planks in our own eye don't impair our vision, but to help others look to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith? He doesn't say my faith, but our faith. We're surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses for a purpose. What an amazing passage about the role of community in focusing followers on the founder.
It's a mom thing- scraping out the muddy duds, but also being acutely aware of how the sin that clings so closely to myself and my family is slowing us down. Not so we can be "better" and "faster" by human standards. Not so we can try really hard only to be discouraged when we trip and fall. But so that we can be free, and in that freedom find the fleet in our feet to race after the Savior, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
The joy that was set before Him. I guess when the wilderness wandering gets weary, that's when we get to look at the What and the Whom that is before us.
The Promised Land with the Promised One.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Five-Minute Friday: After

Liso-Jo Baker has another Five Minute Friday for us and I sure am loving the writing. She gives the word and a whole bunch of us write about it for five minutes, with no editing or any such nonsense. People all over the world do this craziness. Then we climb around the blogosphere and encourage other writers. So fun! Click on the button on the bottom right and join us!

Today's prompt: After



A diagnosis and all of a sudden I am a living version of "The House that Jack Built." Only it's more like "This is the house that God built. This is the disease that ravaged the house that God built."

"This is the man that cared for the woman who had the illness that ravaged the house that God built."

For better or worse.

In sickness and in health.

And while I surely wonder what could possibly happen in our future, surely God would not ask us to carry this burden for a lifetime, I look at my husband and see what must be done.

We must live the lives God has given us.

After God has radically changed our hearts of stone. After He has brought us together in marriage. After He has walked us through pregnancy. After a painful chronic illness has been diagnosed.

Because we Christians live After lives. We live after the fall. After the crucifixion. AFTER the resurrection.

Who will roll the stone away? It's been done. We showed up AFTER the fact.

And all that is left is to remember that we are the After people. After-death and INTO Life.

Bless the Lord, O my soul.


Monday, April 1, 2013

Messy Monday: Mirror Mirror

Happy Easter Monday! He is Risen Indeed, Alleluia!

After taking Holy Week off (semi-intentionally) I think it is time to hop back into the blog. And just in case you are wondering- the mess for "Messy Monday" is yours truly.

I'm a big fan of messing with my babies. I stick mirrors in front of them. It's adorable, right?
We have two full length mirrors. The one above was about 5 bucks at some Super-Duper-Mart type store. It is now cracked and smudged and scratched.
It's my favorite.
My two oldest girls have one in their room. It is nice. It is clean. It is fastened securely to the wall.
That mirror doesn't like me.
My portable mirror may look rough, but it has a quality the other one doesn't- multiple perspectives. If I'm not looking as good as I think I should, I simply ease the bottom of the mirror out and lean it against the wall.  I don't exaggerate the lean. I don't need to be a giant. I just like the mirror to give me the impression that my legs are about 2 inches longer and that my weight can adjust accordingly. I stretch the porportions, and I stretch the truth. Just a little. No big deal, right?
But, my daughters' mirror doesn't let me do that. It is secure. Immobile. And when I get in front of it I swear I shrank because my mind is so used to my skewed self-image. It's the law, and it is cruel.
Let's just be clear. Your self-image, that's a heart thing. Not a looks thing. When I look in my daughter's mirror I think I am looking at a failure to exercise, a failure to coordinate, a failure to shower.
A failure.
My heart condemns me.
19 By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; 20 for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. - 1 John 3:19-20
When this piece came to me, I dressed it up as a good truth piece. We all skew the truth to make ourselves look better. And who doesn't look into the law and stand face to face with failure?
But that was before Easter, back when I was lamenting my sorry state- which is a good thing too, as long as I don't recognize the law as the complete story.
When I stare into the immovable truth of the law, I still don't see it all. Not like I think I do. I don't truly fathom the depth of my sin. But God does. He knows everything.
He knows that the only thing deeper than the pit of my sin is the depth of His love. That the mirrors I confront are two dimensional illusions. That I ignore what He sees- the total package- and sacrifice it for an incomplete and pitiful mess of a lie staring back at me in a piece of glass.

Mandisa's song, "The Truth About Me", played through my mind at about 4am the other morning as the Lord and I laid awake, talking.
You say lovely, I say broken.
I say guilty, You say forgiven.
I feel lonely, You say You're with me.
We both know it would change everything
If only I believed the truth about me.
The truth is I am saved. Those hopeless moments when I am mired in my sin and the muck of this world, and I'm just so certain that nothing will ever get better and what's the point, I'm just going to mess it up again, the Lord reminds me that there is more to the story. That He is quite aware of the depravity of this world, and that no sinful action on my part is going to have Him second-guessing His decision to save me. That no one is going to enter my life or my home without His knowledge. That my children aren't going to encounter any situation that He can't use for their good. That I don't have the one problem He can't solve. That I'm not so messed up that He cannot restore me.
And that one day soon I will get to see the whole picture. The neccessity of the cross. The truth of His love. The real triumph of His resurrection. Fully. Completely.
I won't have to be turning mirrors every which way to get a load of my "good side." It'll all be good. It will all be the truth.
And it's beauty will be amazing.