Monday, May 2, 2016

On Marking the Day, Whispering the Prayer

I've never really had myself together. I was always the girl turning the glossy pages of a magazine with dirt under my fingernails. I recall thinking, as a tween and then teen, that when I got older, I'd figure out how to not get dirt under my fingernails.

I'm still working on that part of this complicated equation called adulting.

My hair is never creamy and smooth. It's various stages of big and flirting with frizzy. Some of my best friends have long, glossy, shiny hair; I always assumed I'd get that figured out, too.

You'll likely see the hurricane that is my hair coming before you see my physical body, though.

I've never been good at math. Or science. Or social studies, for that matter. I have always felt most true to the beating, pumping organ in my chest, with a book in my hand or frantically scribbling notes for an idea that I'd like to write about. If I'm being honest, I always wished I was better at math. Maybe budgeting would be significantly easier and more successful if numbers didn't turn me into an absolute shivering, exposed nerve of terrified.

But numbers still terrify me and the budget and I are still dancing and attempting to not step on each other's toes. He should probably lead, but I've always been a little more strong-willed than is best for me.

More often than not, I feel like a fragile mess. I can encourage and hand out Truth and compliments - and mean them to my core - but please don't tell me I'm good at something; you'll swiftly be met with a poorly timed joke about how little I wash my hair or how I, literally, own one fork and 4,271 pens in various colors.

So you do the math on this chaotic sister -- because I don't like numbers and I'm busy dipping bananas in peanut butter and trying to figure out how to not get it all on my hands.


I remember the first thing I ever wrote. It was on a black computer in the "junk room" of my parent's house. I was young - not really understanding words and the weighty heat they possessed, but I pumped out a poem, change the color of the font, and added some clip art because Fancy is my middle name.

I recall showing it to my mom and she said, "you wrote this, Stephi?" I don't recall the actual words I wrote, but I do know it was about love and it was a little intense.

It seems I entered this world with the propensity to miss someone I haven't yet memorized with my fingers and to feel exactly every little thing half a degree hotter than everyone else.

I don't know where that poem ever went to, but something was born that day, behind a closed door, when a little girl realized it didn't hurt her brain to string words together.


The teenage girl grew into a twenty something girl who wasn't wholly convinced she was ready to be a grown up, mostly because she still didn't have all those things figured out.

I still don't.

So the twenty something girl, with the dirty fingernails and messy hair and even more disastrous heart ,found herself praying over these words:

Look among the nations and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told. - Habakkuk 1:5

I am doing a work in your days. . . Yes, okay. Let's see it. Blow the lid off this life of mine. Yes, do a work. Please, God, do a work -- make sense of this mess that's me.

Make sense of this mess I've made for myself.


The little girl, in the dark room with only the light of the computer screen illuminating the green in her eyes, sat tap, tap, tapping away on that keyboard, never knowing she was beginning a love affair that would carry her to a King and rescue her from herself time and again.

She was messy then. Her room a perpetual maze of clothes and cds and boxes of triangle-folded notes.

Here's what I'm learning.

God is in the mess.

He is in the beautiful and the pain. He's just as much in the raindrop that smells of worms as He is in my favorite shade of lilac that sweeps across the sky at my childhood home. He is in the books that I read and the words I wish I could say, but didn't get the chance to. He is the flicker of the flame burning cinnamon in my house and He's the hushed whisper of the smoke as I close down my home for the night.

He's in my wild hair. He knows each strand - He's counted them, you know. He's the dirt under my fingernails - because I'm hugging kids and scratching backs and cleaning countertops and He is most certainly in the grit that comes with loving people and places deeply.

He stands next to me as I panic over numbers in the grocery store and He knew I'd love bananas and peanut butter and I'm wholly certain He stood just right behind me as I typed out that too mature poem all those years ago.

He is in it, ya'll.

I've spent so much of my time trying to figure out how to be more together. So many minutes have passed and have found me trying to smooth down, cover up, scrub clean the fingerprints left behind of the life I've been living.

I prayed over those words up there - I begged Him to step up and step in and astound me.

And then the little girl became a woman at some point in all this chaos and said yes when she'd been so comfortable with the no. She said yes and He met her there - in the hurt and confusion and discomfort - and so she kept saying yes.


She grew up. She understood the messy was part of the story and, for goodness sake, just accept the hair for what it is - unruly and reckless - a little bit like her heart.

She started writing poems and then she got to see the prayers over feelings and watching of astonishment come to life.


I am reckless. My house is piles of clothes and stacks of books and one fork and more pens than I'll ever use. I feel too much and much too often and I believe, firmly, that sour patch watermelon sustain giggling.

He stepped into it. He was with me all along. He knew where I'd end up before I was wise enough to ask Him to take the lead.

Look among the nations and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told.

April 27, 2016. He came through. He left me astounded and giggling in wonder.

Hear me, ya'll -- when desires and dreams and hopes are born in the palm of His hand, under the protection of His wing, He will step in, show up, and come through.

And it does not matter, one inch, what your house looks like or how maintainable your hair is. He doesn't measure your worth by how clean your hands are or what the ratio of forks to pens currently is in your home.

He sees our potential far before we even realize we possess any. He's our Father. Our Lover. Our Protector. He is the Keeper of our dreams.

And He delights in bringing them to life. No matter how disheveled or disordered you believe it all to be.


Write down your dreams. Let Him have them. Let Him take the lead with the dancing.

And when the dreams become your life, write down the date. Whisper the prayer, you cried and moaned and screamed out to Him, to yourself and know, for certain, one thing.

He will come through.

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