Cheated by Grace

She shrugs the torn sleeve of her dress over her shoulder, trying in vain for a bit of modesty. While her flesh is hopelessly exposed, it is her heart that feels most raw.

They had surprised her, ripped her from a blissful slumber. She had lain there in his arms in the morning light, comforted after a night together. For too long she’d been alone, tired of being a shadow, of being dismissed and overlooked. Now, she had finally succumbed to one who attended her, broken her vow and turned for acceptance in someone else’s arms. It had been only once, and that seemed enough. For now, they had caught her.

Awoken from her bliss, she was dragged half-naked from his bed, tossed against the wall in a melee of insults and curses. Scrambling for any semblance of clothing, she had managed to slip her dress over her head as the temple leaders yelled and cursed at them both. Her lover, his eyes full of anger, shouted in return at them.

“Release her this instant!” He leaped out of bed to her defense forgetting himself.

“Shall we take you too, or just her?” the snarl masked by a long grey beard hurled the accusation at him. “It wouldn’t look very good for your position.” The last word hung in the air, an ominous threat to every fiber of her lover’s being.

He stopped. His flashing anger abetted a moment, cowering behind the fear in his eyes. She had seen it. She had seen how he was torn between duty and desire, love and honor. His eyes begged for an apology that she had had no energy to give.

Without another word, they had grabbed her, forcing her from his room, shoving her through his house, and dragging her through the town. She remained mute, finding that place within herself that she had visited far too often in her own marriage.

Now, she can hear the words of the crowd on her raking her over the lawful coals, feel their accusations seeping into her mind. The bruises on her arms pulse under her skin. The blood on her feet clots knitting with it chunks of stone from the road where she’d been dragged along. None too gently, they had tossed her in front of the man everyone called Rabbi. Now she sits, head low, dust her only true cover. Looking down at the earth on which she sits, she thinks to herself, I too shall be dust once this is all over.  

The questions and accusations whirl around her. “Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
Now Moses in the law commanded us that such should be stoned but what sayest thou?” Their animosity mocks her.

She thinks of her husband, yet again away far from this place. Will he even notice that I’m gone? He hardly noticed me even in life. The angry voices of the magistrates ricochet off of her ears and away from her. The dust before her is her only friend.

From the corner of her eye, she sees another squatting in the dust. His poise is not as shaken as hers. He rests there, also focused on the earth.

The questions continue around them, ““If a man is found lying with the wife of another man, both of them shall die, the man who lay with the woman, and the woman. So you shall purge the evil from Israel. So, Rabbi, what say you?” Their cadence of their anger affects him not, and he continues his position.

Lifting her head, she considers this man. She’s heard of him, to be sure. Some say he is wise, the son of Yahweh even. Others insist he is a blasphemer, fit only for death. Yet, the calm she observes in him stirs the soul within her.

A curse fills the air, and someone else shouts,  “If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.”

In this moment his gaze meets hers. His eyes are kind, without alarm. With a barely perceptible smile from his lips, she feels his kindness deep within her. He stands, slowly, as though the world turns at his command.

His eyes scan the crowd, and they shush to a murmur.

Hands lifted in casual conversation, he addresses them. “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” For just a moment longer, he locks eyes with each of her accusers before stooping to the dirt again to continue his perusal of the earth.

This time, she notes that he uses his finger to write in the dirt, though what it is, she cannot tell.

Squeezing her eyes shut, she wills her mind away from the pain that will surely begin. Her back tenses, waiting for the first stone. She’s only ever seen a person stoned once before, and she was a small girl. Her mother had guided her away as soon as it was clear the person was dying. Hunching her shoulders, she prepares for it. The shuffling of feet around her becomes louder. The moment is now upon her, she is certain. Focusing on the blackness, she fights the desperation in the back of her throat.

Silence fills her mind. She waits.

A slight whisper of feet on dirt beside her alerts her. Opening her eyes, she sees only him, Rabbi. Looking down at her he says, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

Struggling to her feet, she looks around. Her mind takes a moment to register the changes around her. Where there was once a large crowd of angry people, there is only an empty courtyard outside the Temple.

Turning to him, she meets his eyes again, “No one, sir.” His smile is confident, full of love, yet tinged in sadness. Tears burn her eyes.

Looking directly at her, his voice rings deeply into her soul. “Neither do I condemn you; go, and sin no more.”

He smiles once more before turning to leave.

She stands watching as he walks away. Tears sneak their way down her cheeks and fall from her chin. She looks at the stains they create in the dust. This man took from her the crowd’s attention, the shame, the embarrassment. This man saved her.

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Eclipsing Home

Darkness spread its fingers across the land, weaving its way in and out of the leaves on the trees, and shadowing the faces of the onlookers. Their cheap, plastic glasses gleamed, reflecting the ongoing eclipse. I watched in awe at their wonder. Crowds grouped together, heads upraised to stare at the heavens. This once in a lifetime experience moved them deeply, drawing them to stop in their daily habits to look upward. The miracle of it was more than they had hoped. And while they waited anxiously for science to describe this phenomena, my heart beat in anticipation for something greater.

Perhaps this was the day. Maybe, just maybe, we would all be fortunate to look heavenward for something even more magnificent than an eclipse. Maybe, just maybe, my savior would finally appear. And maybe, just maybe I could go home.

A Tweet ran across my phone screen that morning…

“There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”(Luke 12:25-28)

While the eclipse was ‘cool’, I hardly cared much about it at all as I went on with my daily activities. I had signed the permission form for my son to see it at school, promising not to sue if he died (wha?!?!). I had left a pair of glasses for my mom to check it out while the kids took their nap. And I had stuffed an extra pair in my purse in case I got the chance to see it too. But I had far bigger fish to fry than the sun and moon colliding, so I went on without much thought toward it at all. Until I saw that verse…

That’s when my heart started pounding- thudding with excitement. It was a physical manifestation of the excitement from somewhere deep within my soul. My savior could return on this day. He just might! I imagined what it would be like, to stand there gazing at a universal shift and see Jesus coming back for me. To see his face, finally…. To see his arms open wide, welcoming me home. So that darkness, which to everyone else signified a great solar occurrence, became a chance at hope for me. It became a glimpse of possibility to go home.

I find within myself a deep longing, one which words can hardly express, to just go home.

Recently, while in Mexico, I stood on the shores of the beach as the waves pounded against the rocks and sand. The moon peered at me, full in its light. My toes squished in the sand and the rush of wind whipped through my hair. I felt myself melting into the moment. As I closed my eyes, the drawing of my soul toward Heaven was so overwhelmingly deep that I cried, mourning my absence from my Father’s presence. Tears burst forth from within me, and I found myself on my knees weeping and homesick for a place I have yet to see, with love and longing for a Father whom I can feel yet cannot see. All I could say, all I could pray was, “I want to go home.” My heart burst within me with the desire of it. Again, a physical manifestation of my soul.  

So as I watched the crowds of people gather to look upward, I wondered how they might react if it was Jesus who came “in a cloud with power and great glory” rather than a mere eclipse. As for myself, I’d can only imagine how I’d react. But in whatever way, my arms will be open wide, as my longing is finally fulfilled.

 

Tic Tic Tic

It wormed itself through his heart, starting off as a small tic really. Rubbing his chest, he could feel It burrow within him. Small, minute even. Hardly noticeable.

Continuing on, he thought nothing of It. But then It persisted. It wiggled more, slithering itself within the cavernous depths of his soul, growing in strength, making itself at home. As he allowed It sanctuary, It grew, weaving its web within his heart, integrating itself deeply, grasping him tighter.

He could feel It like a leaden weight within his chest now. His heart beat thudded heavier, burdened by the extra load.  His heart and It were now one. While Joy tried to enter, It could not, so was his heart crowded by It. Contentment pounded on the heart’s doors, but was turned away as there was no longer any room for it.

It churned within him, caressing his heart, begging for entrance into his mind. The ponderous weight of It now became a cogency. No longer a menacing tic, It is a force to be reckoned with. Each beat of his heart allowed It to ooze within him, pouring its oppression into his mind, reaching downward to his soul with its fingertips.

It nestled its way throughout his mind, convulsing as his conscience willed it away. So much more difficult than his heart. His mind knows right from wrong, but It is resilient. It can wait. Seizing an opportunity, It bores into his mind, encircling it, submitting his conscience to it. It’s all but encompassing him now.

Its fingertips have caressed his soul, so much more darkened now than before. That minute worming has irrevocably dominated him, now pouring forth with the strength of his heart and mind behind It. It gushes within, cascading into his very being, intertwining itself within his soul so that he no longer exists, but It thrives.

It has conquered him, taken his essence. It pours forth now unbidden in his words, conjured in a darkened mind. It propels action where once it might not have possessed power.

Tic. It was just a Tic. But now, It has become him.

Just Bloom

This is my favorite place. Ever since I can remember, I have escaped to this veranda. It’s nestled off the second floor of our old antebellum house, once regal but now chipped with paint and in need of attention. My haven overlooks a copse of generations old live oak trees smothered in Spanish moss. It also gives the best protection from the berating noises of my father hollering across the house at Mama. Lord knows what the bourbon has lied to him about this time. The magnolias have bloomed fast under my bedroom window just to the left of me, and their scent serves as a reminder. They are beautifully fragile and last only a moment, yet they are strong enough to return each year. Just like me… and Mama.

Dilcey says Daddy had a rough upbringing, and since she’s the oldest person I know, I reckon it to be true. She’s never lied a single day in her life any how. She says Jesus rewards those who are true. I sure hope so. She’s got to be at least sixty so she’s had plenty of time to figure things out. I can’t even remember a time when Dilcey wasn’t here with us in this big old house. Her grandmama was a slave right up the river a long time ago, and Dilcey’s grown roots here. Says she ain’t never leaving. I figure that’s true too.

Dilcey is the only one who knows that this is where I hide. It’s got two old navy damask wingback chairs, faded with time. They face one another like two old people sitting in silence. I usually just plomp down and cross my legs just to feel the coolness of the worn wood planks on my skin. Mama and Daddy haven’t been out here in ages. They stay downstairs where it’s cooler in the summer when the windows are thrown open, and heated up by the fireplaces in the winter. Only I use this place to look out over my little paradise. Or to escape it.

One time, before Dilcey’s knee began to ache too much, she climbed up the stairs after one of Daddy’s bad ones just to bring me an ice cold lemonade.

“Chile,” she said as she persuaded my fine, limp mousey hair into braids, “Sum folks jes got so much hurt inside of dem dat dey don’t kno’ how ta do nuthin’ else but hurt.” She didn’t say anything else to me. Just let me sit there in the shade, sipping my lemonade, trying to fix my helpless hair. I patted her arm to let her know I understood. That’s the way it’s always been with me and Dilcey- not a lot of words, but a whole lot of talking.

Now I sit- much older than I was then, but too young to do much about anything. My hair is now pinned to the top of my head, letting the slight breeze tickle my neck promising of cooler days to come. I close my eyes, trying to drown out the sound of his voice and strain for the song of whippoorwills in the distance. Mama doesn’t make a sound. Just listens. But unlike me, she listens up close. Taking the brunt of his anger, fending off the sharp edges of his words.

Eventually, he will put down his weapons and return to himself, just as he always has. Our little paradise will return, and life will go on. Kind of like those magnolias. When they are here, they are beautiful- pure. But as they die, they wither into a sickening brown, littering the yard below with their ugliness.

 

~~~

 

This is just one of many pieces I have written over the course of the past three weeks during the Oklahoma Writing Project’s Summer Institute.

http://www.owp.ou.edu

Homeward

Homeward

I reach up pulling my hair out of my lipgloss- again. My sleek ponytail is now a mess of cobwebs, but I don’t care. Pieces of it lash against my face, my ears, and my neck. But I just keep going. The wind whispers to me over the blare of music. My fingers tense and relax again. Invading motorists sometimes catch my eye, but I just keep going. Words swirl through my brain, “Mercy, Mercy… Heaven’s story, Breathing life into my bones, Spirit lift me, From this wasteland lead me home” finding release in my voice, firstly softly yet growing. “Arrest my heart, from its reckless path, release the chains in me.” I am off pitch and out of tune, but my Listener does not care. He appreciates my effort. “Gracious fury, written in my Savior’s scars.” My voice battles for my soul pouring over the beat of the wind. Tears spring to my eyes. “Mercy Mercy now engrained upon my heart.” The incredible gift of grace is more than this heart can bear. In this moment I find deliverance in the overwhelming gratitude for it. So often Life is too chaotic for me to find a minute to bask in the glory of His presence. The present engulfs me, suffocating me with this mortal life. So I just keep going. The peaceful noise of this moment reminds me of where I am going, my true destination that can’t be found on this road. My destination is not a house… it is my Home.

Gazing out the window, she asks, “Man! Was the storm really that bad?” Leaves and debris are strewn about the grass. The road is turned into a mud puddle, and the neighbors’ front yard looks like a war zone. Newly blooming flowers are shattered to colorful smithereens.

“You didn’t hear it?” Mike responds from the kitchen. “The hail sounded like cannons being blasted through the roof. It was insane!”

“Nope. I’m a deep sleeper,” she smiles lazily and pours herself a bowl of cereal.

This week’s storm was insane. What started as a lazy lightning show soon became a roaring thunderstorm. But that was nothing compared to the 3 a.m. hail storm that shattered even the noise of thunder. Combined with the cries of my 3-year-old, I felt like World War III had begun. But my 15-year-old slept right on through… never even blinking an eye.

While I’m incredibly jealous that she can just snooze through it all, I am also in awe of it. As I listened to their morning conversation, a profound thought hit me. Shouldn’t we all be able to rest through the storms?

Not the literal hail-smashing, thunder-crashing, torrential downpour type that the atmosphere throws at us- but those in life that weigh down upon us. Some of them are like the other night’s storm. The day was beautiful, but as night moved in, the temperature dropped. Then a beautiful lightning show illuminated the darkening skies. A few fat raindrops watered the earth. Yet just a few hours later, that beauty was an ugly ominous threat.

Others are sudden. No warning. The rain pours in on us with no end in sight. Storm clouds roll in quickly, drenching us, catching us ill-prepared, flooding all around us.

Life is like that. Storms are certain. We find ourselves standing in the rain of life- sometimes it’s just enough to soak us through and other times it is earth shattering. Yet, shouldn’t we rest through them?

My daughter was secure here in her home. There was nothing the storm could do to get to her. She was safe. She is a deep sleeper to be sure. But that’s because life is noisy, and she’s learned to rest through the craziness of it. Even in the noise, she is safe.

Jesus asks us to be just like that- to know that even in the noise of the storm, we are safe.

In the middle of a storm, a literal storm, Jesus slept comfortably on a pillow while his disciples freaked out. So physically close to the savior, they still looked not at Him but at the rain and wind. “Why are you so afraid?” He asked them. And so He asks us too- “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:40)

In Life’s storms, rest. Rest in his love- his security- His faithfulness.

 

All Hail Breaks Loose

Home Sweet Home

There’s no place like home… or so they say. But what is a home? Home is a place where you can belong- a place where you can be who you really are- unguarded. What is that place for you?

For me, when I walk in the door of my house, it is chaos. “Mama’s home!” It’s like two words to ensure a whirlwind of movement and a torrent of words. Quiet moments do not happen until far after bedtime, and that time is typically monopolized by the weightiness of Responsibility.  Ugh- adulting. Yet, this crazy place is my house. Is it a home? You betcha. If you walk in my door, I want you to kick your shoes off (literally because I hate dirty floors), pour yourself a glass of tea, and stay a while. Welcome to my home.

But this is certainly not the only home I have. Home for me is going back to Mississippi. Home is where my heart is, and my heart is there. Though my family and friends have all moved on in their lives from where they were when my naive teenage self still lived there, I still go home to Corinth. (Typically in search of a Borrum’s milkshake and turkey melt- yum.) It’s where I became me. That town, those people molded me into the woman I am today. And I am proud of my roots. Though the town and people have changed, it’s still where I go home.

And even this is still not my only home. The House is my home. It’s my new church- The House. That’s right- it’s mine. I say it like I possess it because I do… along with my many family members. We have The House to go home to. It’s not like any church I’ve ever attended (which is A LOT, believe you me!).

You know the stereotypical Sunday mornings- Mom’s running around trying to apply mascara while one kid pees on the floor, the other asks for another pancake, and Dad spins in circles trying to decide who needs him where. They all scream and yell and cry (Mom- not the kids), then they get to church, adjust their smiles, tuck their Bibles in their armpits, and pretend the world is okay.

That was a lot of Sunday mornings for me as a kid. (Ha! Sorry, Mom, but you know it’s true!) That’s still a lot of my Sunday mornings that are like that now. But now, I don’t smile and pretend everything is ok. I bluster through the door dragging one kid through, pushing the other to the donuts, hoping to God someone hugs one of them and ushers them off to class… then hugs me because I just need it. And that IS what happens. My kids walk through that door knowing there are people inside who love them, who will help them when Mommy’s is a little crazy. I walk through that door knowing that even though I am a little crazy, my friends, my family love me. I don’t have to be perfect. I don’t have to smile. But once I get there, I feel like smiling.

I smile because I am home. I am in my Father’s house with my family. And we can let loose, be ourselves and love one another as we are. We can lay aside the troubles and adulting of this world, focus on heavenly matters and just take a deep breath in. It’s just like Jesus wanted church to be…. because the church is not the building I enter any more than a house is a home. The church is my family because they are the ones who make The House MY home.

“I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.”

Psalm 122:1

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Beauty and the Short Man

Anticipation trickles over the crowd. The little man sits in the tree anxiously awaiting a glimpse at the rumored Messiah. His shins throb from where the bark scraped them clean as he clambered up the sycamore. His excitement shadows the pain.

“There he is!” someone shouts out.

Straining his neck, he finally sees him. The Messiah greets those around him, smiling at their childish joy. Ever so slowly, Jesus makes his way through the crowd. The little man sees him plainly now, just almost below him. Suddenly, Jesus’ gaze locks with his.

“Zacchaeus,” He calls peering up through the branches.

“Uh…. yes, lord?” Sweat begins to bead on Zacchaeus’ forehead. Could this man really be talking to him?

“Come down so that we may speak,” Jesus commands.

Zacchaeus leaps from the lowest branch to stand in front of this man. His heart hammers in his chest.

One of Jesus’ disciples whispers into Jesus’ ear disdain dripping from his words. “This man is a tax collector.”

Jesus’ eyes widen, eyebrows shooting upward. His lips turn downward. 

“Oh, really? Well, I was going to visit you in your house today. However, as you are a, ah hum, tax collector, I think it would tarnish my reputation too much to do so. Perhaps if you cleaned up your act a bit, and really abided by the law, I would associate with you. But as it is, I shall have to move along. Goodness knows that I can’t be seen to too friendly with sinners! Others might think I condone your behaviour! Tata!”

He flips his hand up in finality leaving the stunned short man wiping the dust from his face.

Gotcha, didn’t I? You thought Jesus was going to be so Christlike, and overlook the poor little man’s beastly behavior. Oh, wait. That IS how it happened!

Sadly, however, it is the way the story is very different in America today. Today, Christians are so full of ‘you can’t do that’ that we are entirely undesirable to a world who desires something greater. Our representation of Jesus is SO far off course that He must be slapping his cheeks in shock at our attempts to ‘Be Like Jesus’. He never once said “be like me”; He said “love” and showed us how to do it.

I get that we are supposed to be ‘in the world and not of it’ (not that that phrase is actually IN the Bible). But we can’t even be IN the world if we make Jesus look so undesirable that the world turns away from us. Jesus did not come to condemn the world, but to save it. His words- not mine. (John 3:17) It is pretty plainly stated, so how is it that we the Church keep missing it? It’s not our job to condemn people and bring them to judgment. It’s our job to love them and by doing so bring them to repentance.

Recently, Christians have made a big stink about Beauty and the Beast because of an entirely overly exaggerated homosexual agenda. Oh my gosh. Really? Of all of the crap coming out of Hollywood, we are going to hammer another nail into the coffin of Christianity because of one insignificant scene at the end of a children’s classic that you need a microscope to catch? That ONE movie out of thousands (all packed full of sin- drunkenness, immorality, lying, cheating, stealing, etc.) has made negative reverberations heard around the country.  Perhaps if that one scene is worth your fighting for a ‘Christian cause’, you ought to stay away from the theatre, movie stores, or Netflix all together else you might be a bit hypocritical. And if you do choose to fight that battle, please don’t stand on a mountain top- or social media- and bash your Bible against people’s foreheads. They rarely like that very much. 

Sorry Zacchaeus. Can’t come to your house today. Too much sin there.

If you must fight a battle, do it like Jesus. The only time we see Him angry enough to take action was not IN the world, but in the church. Let that sink in for you. Jesus became angry not with sinners, but with those who claimed to be followers of God- those who stood in His father’s house making a mockery of it, going directly against the word of God. He didn’t beat non-believers over the head in an attempt to bring them to him. He did, however, spit some serious scripture at the Church when they were in the wrong.

Sure, take a stand when you must. But don’t be obnoxious about it. Don’t reflect a Jesus who never actually walked the earth. If you want to make a difference in this world, take a stand in LOVE. You don’t have to condone someone’s sins just to love them any more than Jesus did.

Eph 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

And you know what the world needs? Paul tells us in Romans that they need God’s goodness to lead them to repentance. The world doesn’t need our condescension and regulations. They need to know that they are loved despite the fact that they do wrong.

“Ah, yes, Zacchaeus.” Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:1-10)  The REAL end.

 

Men in a World of Boys

Tiny fingers turn white as they press against the heavy glass of the door.
“I do it mysellph.” His voice is full of determination and grit.
Struggling, he pushes, elbows locked forcing the door out of his way.  A lady behind me giggles in amusement at his feeble, full-hearted attempt. Struggling, he finally gets it open pushing it to its max.
Turning, he pushes his back on the door, holding it in place. His big, blue eyes lock on mine.
“Here you go, Mommy.” Using his body as a doorstop, he waits until I walk through then steps away from it.
“Thank you, Asher. You are such a gentleman.” Pride beams across my face.
Nodding his head once, he takes my hand. “Yep. I am.”
We walk hand-in-hand to the car.
Already, not even three years old, my son is innately aware of his duty as a gentleman. He rushes ahead of me to open doors for his mama whenever possible. Part of it is borne out of his obstinate disposition, I’ll admit, but another is that of knowing his place in the world as a man. And as his mama, I endeavor to raise him not only to be a man, but to be a gentleman.
In a world where treating a lady is squashed by ‘women’s rights’ and ‘you have to earn respect’, my son will know that a gentleman opens the door because it’s the considerate, courteous thing to do. Women can fight all day long for equal rights, but at the end of the day, we all appreciate the kindness of a gentleman.
That little gentleman who opens doors for those ladies will also remove his hat when we eat at a restaurant, enter into church, or during the Pledge of Allegiance because it’s a sign of respect. He will not hide his face behind the shade of its bill because I want him to find confidence in who he is, presenting himself before the world as I have raised him to do.
He will say “ma’am” and “sir” not because of the age of whomever he addresses, but because it is courteous. It reflects a respect of people who, regardless of their worthiness of it, will receive it simply because it is proffered. He will respect his elders because it is the right thing to do.
Antiquated as these idea may be, my boy will be set apart in a world full of men. He will be not just a man, but a gentleman demanding respect from others not by words- but by his own actions.

Unperfect

“Gargh!!!” Her teeth grind against each other clamped against the flow of curse words begging to unleash on the world. Inhaling deeply, she realizes that her fists are balled into tight weapons, knuckles whiter than snow. She exhales slowing, grasping for mental strength, physical strength, spiritual strength. Anything at all to keep her grounded. Flexing her aching fingers, she reaches for perspective. It won’t always be like this. It won’t always be like this. It won’t always be like this.

It’s not a superhero facing her nemesis… it’s just me. It’s what seems like my day-to-day life. Now that I am a domestic engineer, I sometimes face the question, “So what do you do all day?” from unknowing potential victims. They don’t mean it ugly; they’re genuinely curious. But let me tell you, hun. The real question is, “What DON’T I do all day?”

I wear a lot of hats- wife, mother, friend, counselor, human Klenex, teacher, student, Christian, volunteer, plumber, laundress, chef, electrician, mechanic, just to name a few. Today, I drove up to Norman (after slightly losing what bit of sanity is left in my brain) to retrieve the fourth item needed to fix a toilet… only to fix that and have another part break. Buy one part, another breaks. It’s like a bad boyfriend that just keeps coming back. The people at ACE literally know my name, and on what days I actually wear makeup.

I actually made the comment to my husband earlier- “I am done with 2017. Can it be 2018, yet?” Sheesh. It’s only February 6th.

Sorry for the bunny trails- stay with me. I’ll do better.

It took the entire way home from my impromptu escapade to Norman for me to find that bit of sanity I had lost, and return to what I consider my normal. I needed a serious reset button today.

My reset came in the form of an old CD. One of the cool black ones that I burned back in the day and titled “Praise and Worship 2010” using a WhiteOut pen. I was ready for anything. Windows rolled down, wind slapped my hair against my face, carseats rattled in the background, and 2010 blared over my speakers. I sang what words I remembered at the top of my lungs. I was ready for anything. And I got it. I got my reset. I got my wake-up.

Lyrics from my past blasted around me:

This world is always trying to take a piece of me
But You are always there to make me feel complete
If I can keep my eyes on what You have for me
I will face the truth and never look away
You’ll show me the real me

The real me. With all these hats I wear, I forget who that is. The real me. I thought I’d accepted that she’s just hidden for a time and that it won’t always be like this. But the real me escaped as I cried out these words to God today.

The real me- she’s unperfect. I know that there’s no such word, but it’s better suited than imperfect. Imperfect means with flaws. I know I have those. But I am unperfect. The prefix “un” simply means “not”. And I am not perfect. I am a lot of things, but perfect, I am not.

Tears roll down my cheeks and my words begin to mumble beneath the feel of the reset.

It’s You that I search for
It is You I can’t live without
Your hope is what I long for
When nothing’s left in me
It’s You

The real me. The real me is a daughter. I am His daughter. God created me. He is a good father; He loves me though I am unperfect.

He loves me even when that string of curse words unleashes despite my attempts to hold it back. Because He is what I search for; He is what I can’t live without. It’s my Father’s love that keeps my grasp on the reality of this world when nothing is left in me. When I have nothing left to give, he requires nothing of me. He loves me for me because I am his unperfect daughter. His unperfectly, lovable daughter.

Reset. Who am I? Today, I was a lot of things; I wore a lot of hats. But underneath all of them, my identity is true. I am a daughter of the one true king, the God who created this world and all who are in it, the creator of unperfect people like me doing their best to remember that, in spite of all this world has to offer or all it throws my way, I am His.