God, I give you my mess.

This is the cry of my heart tonight, reader. I’ve got nothing else to offer, nothing else to bring. No words of wisdom. No lesson or learning.

No, tonight what I have is a broken and contrite spirit. A faint heart, an emotionally exhausted mind, and a discouraged soul.

And beneath it all, the smallest flicker of hope.

The last few days, God’s convicted me big time of some sin I didn’t want to acknowledge. And I don’t know if this is how it works for you, but when God convicts me of sin, he doesn’t seem to hold back much. It seems like he brings out the big guns. (Even as I write this, I can almost hear God chuckle to himself, as if to say, “Oh Megan, you think those are my big guns? You’ve got no idea.”)

And I know God’s character is gentle. I know he can be delicate and soft in his handling of his children.

But sometimes, he is the thunder and the roaring lion and always he is a jealous God and a loving Father, and so when God sees us wrapped up in a sin, especially one we are either oblivious to or in denial of, he sends in the big dogs.

Or at least, that’s what it feels like on the receiving end.

And hear me, I’m not saying God isn’t kind in his conviction. I’m not saying his discipline isn’t rooted in love. I’m not saying he inflicts pain, pours out his wrath, or sends us into a place of shame and condemnation.

But I think what he does do, is come into our lives with all of his power and authority, and he hits hard on the hardest parts of our hearts.

And when he does, I always react the same way: first, I cry. Second, I question.

God, why do you have to hit so hard? Why is your approach so intense?

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God, why am I so afraid?

“Don’t be afraid.” Easier said than done, am I right?

You know, there are a lot of commands in the Bible that I can easily get on board with – a lot of straightforward, easy to understand commands. No, they aren’t all easy to follow of course, but a lot of them seem pretty black and white, right and wrong, do this and don’t do that. And I can see value in them all, even though I fall short of each one, often.

But when the Bible commands Christians not to be afraid, it throws me off because it isn’t just a suggestion or a good idea. It’s not just a friendly phrase to throw around in the midst of trials or to encourage loved ones with. It’s a command.

Fear not.

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When forgiveness is hard.

“Do you forgive me?”

In my head? Yes.

In my heart? No.

This is often how things play out between my husband and I after an argument. It doesn’t really matter the circumstance, whether it’s a huge, deep hurt against the other or a small comment taken too seriously, when my husband and I disagree, he is always quick to apologize and quick to forgive.

I wish I could say I’m the same way. I wish I could say I fight for unity with ease and am quick to reconcile, but the truth is, I don’t and I’m not.

And I hate that.

I hate that I am often the grudge holder in our marriage. I hate that I am a keeper of wrongs. I hate that apologies don’t come easy and that I cling to unforgiveness. I hate that my mind is ready to forgive, but my heart and my emotions are not.

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To the worn-out perfectionist

I see you.

You, the exhausted, worn out and weary soul, tired of chasing grace, yet refusing to accept it.

I see you.

You, who are fully aware you aren’t living in the freedom Jesus promised, yet paralyzed by desperate, failed attempts to taste His sweetly promised peace.

I see you.

You who’s been beaten down by shame and who’s given the reins to the enemy to attack you with his accusations. You – trapped in an exhausting cycle, a victim of the less-than-perfect, never able to meet the demands of perfection, yet refusing to ever accept the reality that we are surrounded by an imperfect everything.

Yeah, I see you. And in every way, I’ve been you.

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You don’t have to be afraid of change.

“Mom, be prepared.”

This is what I used to say to my Mom as a child every night before bed. Not your typical, “Goodnight-I-love-you,” am I right? I don’t know many women who long for their goodnight cuddles and their “I love you” to be returned with, “Mom, be prepared.”

But, for most of my preteen and early teenage years, I ended each day with a rigid routine – one where I placed my phone on the exact same spot on our coffee table, got ready for bed, washed my hands three times, restarted the bedtime music I slept to about 15 times, carefully took 11 sips of water – three regular, three big, three small, one gargling, one tiny – and then, always the same each night, “Mom, be prepared,” followed by the assurance, “Honey, I’m prepared.”

See, during those years I struggled with chronic anxiety and severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I couldn’t handle anything out of the ordinary and I worried constantly. I worried about my mom traveling on business trips. I worried about being the last one up at night. I worried about being away from home. I worried about school. I worried about losing my family or friends. I worried about germs. I worried about getting sick. I worried about what I thought. I worried about what I said. I worried about what I did. And I worried about change.

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God, will you make beauty from my brokenness?

Do you know when I love that idea? That idea of God making beauty from my brokenness?

I love it when I’m in the beautiful moments of life. When I’m sitting with my Bible open in the early hours of the morning, sun shining through my apartment window, warm coffee in hand, praise music on, and prayers of gratitude pouring from my lips. When I’m sitting by still waters and God’s peace has captured my heart for an hour or two and all I feel is still. When I’m laughing with my husband, caught up in the realization of just how lovely it is to be vulnerable, known, and unconditionally loved by another human being, despite the sin that courses through both of us. I love that idea when work is going well and loving my co-workers is easy and when I see them, I see God and his heart for them. When I’m in a season where the Lord has put all the pieces together and I am so aware of how perfect his plans truly are. When I’m sitting at a coffee shop, words pouring from my heart, and the Holy Spirit is speaking life right into my soul.

In those moments, I love the idea of God making beauty from my brokenness. Because it is so nice to sit in that beautiful place of reflection, thinking of all the ways God acted on my behalf to bring me where I am – to a place of being more free and walking in more victory than I used to.

You know when I don’t love this idea?

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The enemy can’t touch you.

I’m not sure why I thought it was a good idea, spending a freezing Saturday night in October at a Haunted House when I’m the girl who’s always been afraid of pretty much everything. I’m totally a listen to Christmas music in September, beg for a Caramel Brulée Latte from Starbucks in October, and a let’s skip right past Thanksgiving and get on to Christmas type of girl.

Apart from candy, which I can get any time of the year (thank-you-very-much), I find no pleasure in Halloween traditions. For me, there is no joy in being scared, I despise horror films, I like avoiding danger, and I don’t need any inspiration when it comes to fear. Disney’s Halloweentown is as scary as I like things to get, and even that can be pushing it.

 So, it makes absolutely no sense why last Halloween, I raised the idea to my family and fiancé that we should go to a haunted trail. I’m not sure if I thought I would rise to the occasion or if I just figured that being a grownup meant I would find some type of joy in the experience. For the record, neither ended up being true.

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To the young wife who can’t cut an onion…

We were cooking dinner together, the hubs and I, and it was set up to be an absolutely adorable, Insta-worthy (by my standards at least) occasion. We’d picked the recipe, gathered all of the ingredients together at the grocery store over the weekend (because for the first .2 seconds of our marriage, we were going to do EVERTYHING together, including grocery shop…..which after exactly 2 times, and 2 fights, we agreed was the worst idea ever) and we were all set to make our first meal together. White bean chicken chili was on the menu for the night.

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