The town we live in is named Mount Pleasant. I mean, that's about as close to the 50s parody movie Pleasantville as you can get without being downright obnoxious. When I hear "Mount Pleasant" I can hear the first few whistling notes of the Andy Griffith Show theme song and I envision bake sales and sock hops and church bazaars. And while Mount Pleasant certainly is a wonderful to live and raise a family, it may not always appear to be that way as you roll into a totally, chaotic construction zone as soon you as you enter the town limits from any direction. I've lived here the better part of 10 years and as soon as one project is completed another ones seems to begin. A road is made wider, but then that road needs a new shoulder, or a bike lane, or a whole new lane. We are constantly pushing and stretching our limits to make room for new people, new families. The price of progress. But totally worth it. So we show the construction workers grace and smile and wave as they demolish yet another intersection so it can turn into a flower-edged traffic circle or put up yet ANOTHER stop light. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel and we show grace. Hopefully.
This town has really been a mirror for my own life in many ways. 10 years ago to this very day I was a total mess of emotion, a broken-down pile of rubble and felt like something inside me had been demolished.
It was during a night of worship on a Tuesday geared towards the youth of our church- called The Annex. I had been struggling with a host of inner conflicts in the days, weeks, months and even years leading up to this night. But that night God brought out the wrecking ball of Hope and destroyed the hurts and fears in my life. He gave me a glimpse into what life could look like for me.
I had been trying for so long to 'take control' and 'do it my way', but that night I surrendered and gave up, and gave my life to Him. Did I wake up the next morning a restored woman ready to take on the world's sorrow? Um, no. In fact I didn't sleep at all that night. Looking back I can say that God was probably using those restless nights to hear Him through the stillness. But there were a lot of restless nights! Nights spent reading and writing and digging into who God wanted me to be and see where my place was in this world. And for the first time in my life I knew there was a plan. A purpose meant just for me. And that all the things leading up to this change was part of that plan.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11
And so the last ten years my life has resembled a pretty chaotic construction site. I have slowly repaved some of the larger potholes of my life only to then get to a spot where I realize I need to construct a bridge to avoid shark infested waters. Some days I look in the mirror and I see caution tape wrapped around my mouth warning me to shut up if I know what's good for me. Other seasons I feel like I need to walk around with those big orange barrels surrounding my very existence so people know what a mess is abut to invade their space. But the whole time has been a season of learning about God's amazing grace. Knowing that God doesn't love me any more than He did on that dark day 10 years ago when I handed Him the big pile of rubble that my life had become. To Him it was better than a field of the sweetest smelling wildflowers because it was His creation. And any amount of effort I put in after that was just a beautification project in reality.
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 1 Corinthians 15:10
Don't get me wrong, the past 10 years have been filled with A LOT of glory-filled moments. I got a job working with people I truly enjoyed being with and sharing life with. I married a man who shows me love and strength even on the days when I should have "Yield" or "Proceed with Extreme Caution" tattooed on my forehead. I gave birth to 2 of the cutest, smartest, and sweetest kids EVER. (I'm not even exaggerating here, ok?) And I have enjoyed strengthening bonds with my parents who prayed me through the darkest of days. The agony and pain I must have put them through I pray I never fully know. And I have founded deeper relationships with other people who also accept me as the crumbled, broken mess I am. People who I am privileged to call friends. People who I get the honor to 'do life' alongside.
|And now what are you waiting for? |
Get up, be and wash your sins away, calling on his name.
|My faithful, prayer-warrior parents|
I share these things with you not to say "Hey y'all look at me! I'm not as much of a mess as I used to be!" Because some days I truly am a hot mess. But I share these things with you to show you that life has infinite possibilities. If you had told me 10 years ago that I would be driving a minivan blaring kids movies and happily deciding to be a stay-at-home mom, I would have hopped in my Jeep with the top down and doors off and looked for the nearest detour as I blasted Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive". But there is only One who knows what your roapmap looks like a decade from now. So why not let Him take over and enjoy the view from the passenger seat? And buckle up. It can get bumpy. But this is just the ride. The destination is yet to come.