Today I walked out of church spitting mad. I was filled with gut-wrenching anger, enraged beyond belief, furious at so many people. My kind of people. God fearing, Jesus loving, imperfect people. People who I love dearly.
I am a fraud.
I haven’t written anything in a long time. Actually I have written a ton. See, I am a fraud AND a liar. But for some reason I haven’t felt like I should share my words. Or it seemed like every time I did share things this year shortly after would be followed by bad news, some crazy mess, another “now what” moment. But today is different and I decided to share, compelled by the Holy Spirit (or maybe I’m just procrastinating doing our taxes). Call it what you want.
A few hours ago I stomped to the car after singing songs of praise and worship and studying the scriptures and declared to Tom that I had seriously had enough. But after lunch once my toddler temper tantrum had passed I found myself opening a gift given to me today from the kindest woman I know and that my friends is when I knew the truth.
I am a fraud.
I know it. Tom knows it. God knows it and now you know it.
I started this year proclaiming to share a more unedited life but haven’t. I wanted to. I really did. I tried numerous times. But some of the stories have been so delicate and fragile. They are heart-wrenching and tragic. Some are still ongoing as I type this. And a few are simply just not my stories to share. What I can tell you is this year has been filled to the brim with a barrage of messy events and crazy situations for many of our friends and loved ones. Broken and distraught people. Imperfect people. The broken, at rock bottom, don’t want to go on with life people. People who are also like me. There’s been guilt, drama and shame mixed in with denial, alcoholism, DUI’s, rehabs, domestic violence and divorce and that’s just the tip of the iceberg affecting so many I know and care about. I have cried a thousand tears and said a million prayers for them and with them.
For us personally it’s been a year heavy with frustrating jobs, a still on-going drought, predator and sickness invasions with a rather large amount of dead livestock. We’ve witnessed dry creeks, dying cattle, bottom dollar grain prices and a fire. And of course it’s all been topped off with the normal every day adult responsibilities, bills, breakdowns, to-do lists and the never-ending ticking clock. I also joined the minister search community at church this summer which has been an eye-opening experience forcing me to question everything I thought I knew about religion and the church. (Hence the first few paragraphs of this post.) In addition the last kid also moved out this year and I learned quickly I don’t know who I am or what to do with myself without kids around 24/7. I felt my life was thriving and overwhelming filled with happiness and joy all those years as the typical “soccer mom”, even though I was enslaved to a jammed packed filled schedule with nothing but pure exhaustion, coffee and craziness spurring me on. But now a days, I’m floundering. And floundering hard. Constantly trying to figure out who I am now. I have cried more then I ever want to admit over it too.
Today as I read the heartfelt note tucked in with the gifts from my sweet friend I cried again. Her words were so gracious. So completely undeserving. She thanked me repeatedly for all that I do for others and for showing God’s love in everything I do. She told me she knew I am one of God’s angels for sure and included the cutest little resin angel figurine as well as other little angel treasures.
I am a fraud.
I’d like to admit I handled most of the situations I found myself in this year with grace, mercy, strength and dignity but that would be a lie. I am no angel. I told God a million times I don’t want to do the things He keeps asking of me. I spent a good deal of time crying, arguing, complaining, grumbling and being down right absolutely selfish. All the traits I’m sure no angel would possess. A couple months ago I was venting to one of my sisters about our house constantly being a hotbed for people with serious problems in their lives. That I was tired and thoroughly exhausted helping everyone left and right and just didn’t want to deal with people in general any more. That I truly ached something fierce to just be alone. Who says that? Doesn’t sound like a warm, kind, caring hearted person like my friend from church would believe does it? My sister’s response to my belly aching more then likely came from straight up above….“Sounds like a great ministry to me!”. You would have thought those words would have pierced straight to my heart and snapped me out of my grumbling state, however it didn’t. If I am honest I have done nothing more than waste a huge chunk of time this year fighting myself and God with a lot more strength then it would take to just shut my trap and help a friend out.
I never want those that are lost, broken down, heavy burdened, bruised, battling addictions, themselves, mankind and the devil to stop coming through our doors. Because daily, I am one of them too. But is that what my thoughts and actions show? Not my Sunday actions where I’m smiling constantly and pretending I’m an angel. My day to day, behind closed doors, when no one is looking actions. Are my arms wide open, my judgments cast aside? Am I asking the Lord to use me for His eternal kingdom in these moments or throwing myself on the floor, kicking and screaming and then I just do it my own way anyway? Am I laying down my own selfish being and gladly washing the worn, dirty and tired feet of those struggling in the mad world we are temporarily living in? Am I showing the almighty Father who put the very breath in my lungs and the salve on my past wounds I am a faithful servant? Am I showing others Jesus, who brings the promise of salvation and eternal life, or am I showing them I am just like everyone else in the world?
I am a fraud!
We currently have an interim minister at our church who is a Professor of Church History/Historical Theology. I have immensely enjoyed his sermons and each Sunday I have written down a phrase or sentence he has shared with us. It’s usually something that has forced me to do some major contemplating and just wound up stuck in my head. I assume the Lord is also sticking it up there in my crazy brain for a reason.
Back in October I wrote down “Lord help us to become what you created us to become.” And I stuck that piece of paper on the fridge where I would see it every day and remind myself to ask the Lord to help me. Because He and I both know I need it! I asked Him for guidance and to show me what He created me to become while I’m here on earth.
Today’s sermon was regarding the extreme amount of faith both Joseph and Mary embodied to carry out what the Lord created them to do. I love Mary’s story even though it sounds insane. An Angel appears to a teenager to inform her she will be carrying the Savior of the world? And what does Mary do? She responds in faith even though she can not yet see how the ending of the story will play out. A teenager, not a 40 year old woman, gave us one of the most beautiful examples of faith and serving in my opinion. How I long to be a easy-peasy, go-with-the-flow, whatever you say, I am here to do your work, no questions asked type of person.
Luke 1:38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
The journey that Mary traveled would end up having a traumatic situation down the road that no mother ever wants to bare witness to. She saw her son murdered. She did it all and she came out a survivor, because she knew in being faithful and believing that He would save her too. He didn’t save her because she was His mother but because she sought Him, and served Him and entrusted God’s plan for her life.
I am no where close to the caliber of servant hood that Mary is an example of. Not even a sliver. However, I’m going to keep putting one foot in front of the other, opening my home and heart to those who are weary and led to our door and repeatedly asking God to change me from being a fraud and to mold me into being His servant and who He created me to become.
And I’ll keep praying while singing and shouting the lyrics to my favorite Matthew West song as I look for guidance and assurance from the ultimate Creator as He fills my life with imperfect people. His people, my kind of people, those whose are searching for His salvation and the promise of eternal life.
And now that I’ve gotten all of that off my chest maybe I’ll be able to start and finish a year’s worth of bookwork. Unless of course the good Lord decides to call me home before Thursday at 2:45pm. I would be ok with that also!
Many blessings to you and your families this holiday season and may you keep Jesus Christ as the center of your Christmas celebrations!