Yes, you read that right. My life is a steaming pile of Holy Crap. And, what’s more…I may have actually used the “s” word if I didn’t think half of you would be so distracted by the word “shit” that you couldn’t read this post in the spirit for which it is intended. Wait…oh rats…I just said it, didn’t I? Dangit. Well, here’s hoping you keep reading anyways…
So, I turned 35 this week. I’ll be honest with you…35 seems way older than 34. About an hour ago, I found myself staring into the mirror contemplating wrinkles for the first time in my life. Until today, my daily skin care regimen included slapping off-brand moisturizer on my face once a day. Now I’m having internal conversations about anti-aging serum and exfoliation. I’ve been 35 for two whole days…and now I’m worried that the skin on my elbows has lost its elasticity. Hey, do any of you Disney aficionados know if any fair maidens have won their Prince Charming with their shapely, taut elbows? Because if so, I’m totally hosed.
I think one of the reasons that this age feels like a kick in the pants is because nothing in my life has gone according to plan. Seriously, I’m not supposed to be here. I’m not supposed to be in Joplin, Missouri. I’m not supposed to be single. I’m not supposed to have a chronic illness. You may not know this about me, but I’m actually supposed to be raising beautiful babies…living in custom built home…on a beach…writing books…while my hot husband serves me pancakes in bed. I know, right? That’s the opposite of my life. I have stretch marks from burgers…not babies. I’m still renting…from my parents. I live in the Midwest…where people swim in creeks, not oceans. Instead of watching the sunset in my pjs while I write the next best seller…I hit my snooze button 15 times before dragging my flabby elbows to work every morning. And the last time I had a hot guy serve me pancakes in bed was…well, never. I’m as close to 40 as I am to 30…and, well, I’m not supposed to be here.
Do you wanna hear something crazy? More of you responded to a blog about singleness than you did about an EF5 Tornado that killed over a hundred people. Either this means you’re all cold-hearted robots…or…as humans, you can relate more to loneliness than devastating natural disasters. So, that got me to thinking. Maybe my love of writing wasn’t resuscitated because I’m supposed to report pretty-little-lessons-learned-after-the-fact. Maybe Abba wants more from me. Maybe He wants me to expose the dusty corners of my humanity…in real time. Not gonna lie…this thought makes me want to immediately swallow a Xanex. I prefer my dusty corners to remain…dusty. But if letting a gaggle of friends and strangers smell-what-I’ve- been- stepping-in brings even one of you into the Light…well, then…Holy Crap.
I guess the first step in this new, terrifying expedition is to admit that I’ve recently begun to truly grieve the loss of my supposed-to-be life. I may joke about my unfulfilled dreams…but, in reality, I’m just trying to distract you from my broken heart. These days…I find myself in what I’ve affectionately dubbed “a place.” It’s a place of contemplation and reflection. It’s a place where I have more questions than answers. It’s a place where joy and laughter live alongside a deep sadness. It’s a place of regret…and separation. A place of broken relationships. A place where I’m forced to look at how my own depravity has contributed to the ruins of those relationships. A place of wistfulness…and weariness. A place of joy, expectation…and glorious tension.
This place is hard. I hate it. I’m tired of hearing about the pain of people I love. I’m tired of evil. I’m tired of unfulfilled longings. I’m tired of watching friends settling for mere crumbs. And I’m really tired of people trying to blow spiritual sunshine into gaping wounds.
I looked up the word “holiness” a few minutes ago. One spiritual essay said it means “set apart for a sacred purpose.” Yes, my life is messy. But my grief is covered in hope. The ruins give birth to purpose. My depravity is overcome by dignity. The pain revives me and the weariness refines me. And as I cling to the cross with my flabby elbows and broken dreams…His glory is revealed. As a daughter of the King…my messy, often disgusting life has been set aside for a sacred purpose. At 34 I would have waxed poetic about beauty from ashes…at 35, I’m willing to admit my life is steaming pile of Holy Crap.
Some of you reading this blog post may find yourself in a place you're not supposed to be. Yeah, I get that. And for what it's worth, I'm truly sorry. I too am not supposed to be in this place. But I am. And when I force myself to stop and smell the fragrant blessings that are growing out of my well fertilized life…I'm actually grateful. Through hard work and tears, I've learned to trust and fear a good and omniscient God who is rewriting my supposed-to-be-life. I hope you can cling to that too. And get out your rubber boots...for Holy Crap is near.