A few months ago I opened the door of my dryer expecting to find the heavenly scent of freshly laundered clothes, only to find the horrible smell of poop. Further investigation revealed a number of questions: How in the??? What in the??? Who did this??? There, right on top of the clothes was a little blob of poop – some would call a turd. I quickly summoned all the little people in my home who were most likely guilty of such a crime and, to my surprise, the guilty party confessed, rather easily, to this malfeasance. The reason for the crime, if you’re interested, was the ever-disturbing:
“I don’t know”.
“What do you mean you don’t know? You don’t know how your poop ended up in the dryer?”
“Nope, I don’t know”.
“So, you’re telling me that’s your poop?”
“But you don’t know how it got in the dryer?”
Isn’t that just how life is? One day you’re just minding your own business, going about your day, expecting something great or, at least, something usual and then.. .bam!
Out of nowhere – POOP – The loss of something or someone – financial stress – job/career failure – marriage struggles – divorce – children struggles – well, the list could go on and on.
My most life altering poopy situation was almost the entire year of 2011. It’s no secret, if you’ve read my previous blogs, that my marriage took a blow a few years ago. And, 2011 was the height of difficulty. We were falling apart and every time we would start to make progress – bam, more poop. Marriage struggles, work struggles, financial struggles and then my only child, at that time, had a little health scare. It would ultimately turn out to be only a minor illness, but to get to this diagnosis we had to rule out a battery of horrible childhood diseases. The night before he underwent a procedure, I lost it y’all. Completely lost it. I mean, curled up, fetal position beside my son’s bed – incapable of controlling my emotions. I was done. Have you been there?
I’ve thought long and hard about theological examples to convey my next thought but I keep coming back to my own story. I feel like sometimes we forget that the God who spoke to Moses through a burning bush, parted the sea, and sent manna from heaven is the same God who works in our lives. I think we sometimes forget the same power that turned water into wine, opened the eyes of the blind, and raised Jesus from the dead is available to us. 2011 was one of the hardest years of my life but it was also the most life changing. I finally came to end of myself – I gave up control and realized that there is a God and I’m not it.
The thought of control, or the lack thereof, can be terrifying to those freaks like me who need every detail – all the time. But, as my way of doing things was clearly not working, I slowly began to relinquish my rights to things I had no business managing. Little by little, I started believing what I had confessed my whole life. I began to see the faithfulness of a God who promised to never leave and began to trust in the God who stays.
Now this didn’t happen at first. No way! There were so many dark and lonely days. Tears flowed like monsoon rains. There were days and weeks that felt like a desert land – dry and empty. Then one day a complete stranger said to me, “honey, I don’t know what you’re going through. But, I just feel like I should tell you that God’s got this”. Y’all, I almost passed out. It took every ounce of self control to continue to stand upright. That right there was my burning bush moment and I’ve never been the same since.
You see, up until that moment I had bought into the lie that I was alone, abandoned and forsaken. Hope was lost. But when those words were spoken to me I began to realize that not only was God right there in that moment, he’d been there the entire time. He is a God who stays.
- He was there when he gave me a friend years before my life fell apart. She stood by me and protected me. She had walked in my shoes and could speak wisdom into my life like no other.
- He was there when I joined a small group for musicians wives months before my marriage took a nose dive. These women held me up, prayed over me and spoke so much truth in my life.
- He was there when my 18-month old son would make Mommy and Daddy hug each other every day when we left for work even though we sometimes didn’t speak.
- He was there in our pastor who lovingly and so non-judgmentally took the time to comfort and pray for us.
- He was there when our church paid for half the counseling cost that otherwise would have broken us financially.
- He was there in our counselor who was quiet and gentle with my fiery spirit.
- He was there when my dad, who had no idea what I was facing, would randomly text me for no reason at all. A simple, “I love you” and I would know He was there.
- He was there when the minister at my sisters wedding felt lead to pray for all the marriages in the congregation. He had no idea he was praying for me.
- He was there when I was so frustrated with my life that I may have yelled a little bit at a hydrangea plant that refused to bloom. I also may have said, “Well God, I guess you’re gonna have to bloom this plant because clearly I have no idea what I’m doing”. Y’all I kid you not – a few months later, long after hydrangea blooming season, I looked out my window and there was one bloom on that plant – Speechless.
- He was there in the sunshine and the rain. He was there in a smile, a thank you, a kind word spoken by a stranger – He was always there because he is a God who doesn’t leave – He is a God who stays.
What I want you to know is that the same God who spoke to me through a stranger (and may have bloomed my hydrangea) is with you. Right now, in the middle of your mess. He’s the smile in a strangers face. He’s in the twinkle of a child’s eye. He’s the for no reason at all text message. He’s in the warm sun on a cool day. He’s there in the friend, the counselor, or maybe the reason you’re reading this right now. He is with you every step of the way. And, “honey, I don’t know what you’re going through. But I just feel like I should tell you that “God’s got this” – because he is a God who stays.