“…And this bedroom belongs to—” My friend stopped dead in her tracks. “Seriously?”
She quickly closed the door, but not before I got a shot of pretty-in-pink, teenage-girl chaos. Clothes festooned every surface; shoes were strewn about, with not a single one in near proximity to its mate; “delicates” littered the floor…indelicately…
“I’m so sorry you had to see that. I told them I’m not cleaning up after them.”
I just laughed. “If you think THAT’S bad, then you can NEVER come to my house!”
(I write this while sitting in my office that includes an elliptical machine, weights and a weight bench, a pair of crocs and socks to wear while ellipting, an unassembled bed leaning up against the wall, three dining room chairs, an unused scanner, a storage box full of shoes, various lengths of 4×4 pressure-treated lumber providing a make-shift corral for an exercise ball on top of the storage box full of shoes, and a zippered vinyl portfolio with Liberace’s logo on it holding a collection of Liberace piano books for the beginning pianist. She can NEVER come to my house.)
We continued our tour of her home—which was immaculate and beautiful—where I had stopped off for a visit on my way back home from spending Christmas with my family. Her husband and I go WAY back, but just reconnected a few months ago after all those years. In addition to having an adult relationship with this now-grown Christian brother, I also gained the added bonus of her, my long-lost sister from a different mister.
One of the great blessings of my life since becoming a Christian is the people God has inserted into my single-guy existence at just the right time:
- Iron-sharpening brothers and spirit-nurturing sisters
- Text-mates who pray for me when they say they will (and who don’t overuse emoji)
- Couples with vacation homes with mountain-view porches perfect for reading, praying, and rocking
- Former students-turned-pilots with buddy passes and a shared passion for the end times
All in all it’s a small but heavenly herd of homies and homettes.
But even greater than the late-night apologetics discussions at Denny’s and the post-band practice prayer huddles and the confession over coffee is the fact that they know I’m messy—and don’t care. As a matter of fact, they’re all messy, too; differing degrees, of course—most of it under control, some of it left in the past, all of it covered by the blood of Jesus. That’s part of why I’ve fallen in love (agape) with all of them.
But messiness doesn’t just apply to me and my crew. We’re all a messy lot—you, me, Mother Teresa—living in a messy world, brought on by a messy bite of fruit taken a long time ago in a garden far, far away. (I’ve often wondered if, after Eve took that bite of fruit, she was like—juice running down her naked chin—“That was totally worth it.” I’ve had Oreo cheesecake with real whipped cream that was so good I would have eaten it knowing it would cause the fall of mankind. It was that good. And that evil.)
Even the title of this blog and the picture up top and the reference verse in Isaiah 64:8 are all about possibly the messiest activity on the planet: creating beautiful works from squishy, slimy, messy stuff dug up from the depths.
“You are the potter; we are the messy.” (Sorry, Isaiah…)
He further nailed our messiness when he said:
All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags. Isaiah 64:6
“All of us.” Ike doesn’t let any of us off the hook. John won’t allow it either…
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 1 John 1:8
The truth is not in US—you, me, Mommy Teresa. And like the teenager who, not long after I witnessed the disaster bedroom, wafted down the stairs looking like she had just stepped off the cover of Glamour, most of us are adept at leaving all signs of our messiness upstairs behind closed doors in a pile where no one will ever see.
We can lock that door but…
Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:13
Hmmm… messy AND laid bare.
…He saves us; I know that, because He saved me. Furthermore, I know the muck and mire I was in when He did it, and it was more than messy—it was filthy.
…He saved me when I was absolutely certain I didn’t need saving…pursued me when I had no desire to pursue Him…drew me to Him when I was like the toddler tugging with all his might to get away from his mother’s tight grip…hunted me down like the Hound of Heaven while I was doing my best to cover my scent and not be found…shed His blood to pay my ransom, a price I couldn’t have ever paid with my own worthless blood.
…Drowning in the filth of sin…talking like a kid who’s just learned a bunch of cuss words and can’t stop trying them out…medicating my mind and body with enough junk that, when it all went down the sink and in the trash—both real and virtual—I gained several square yards of cabinet space, filled enough trash bags for three garbage pick-up days to get rid of it all, and suddenly had mega-gigabytes of storage space on my computer…with not a hint of remorse on my part…
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
I’ve been a Christian and digging into God’s word and writing about the wonder of it all for 6+ years. I believe it, I trust it, it fuels my faith, and I can’t imagine life without it.
But 6+ years in, it still floors me, makes me go weak in the knees…amazes me.
One day I’ll fall flat on my face before Him, and maybe then I’ll understand exactly why He did what He did for me, but right now…
…it floors me, etc…(see above)
And, possibly the most flooring, knee-weakening, amazing part of it all? His grace CAN close and lock that door on my messiness—and yours (and Mother Teresa’s). We can waft down the stairs looking like we’ve just stepped off the cover of Glamour, while our messiness is upstairs behind locked doors in a pile, where the only One who matters has thrown away the key…
For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more. Hebrews 8:12 / Jeremiah 31:34
The targets of God’s grace are messy: I’m messy, people are messy, life is messy, teenage girls are messy.
Grace, however, is NOT messy. Complicated, unexplainable, undeserved, beautiful, amazing, humbling to the point of embarrassment? Yes.
…it is by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2:5
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