Photo: Frio River, Laity Lodge.
For more than a month, these words have marinated in me. I still can’t find the right ones to tap out on these keys.
Words are stuck — like peanut-butter on the roof of my soul. I’ve been half-afraid to share, because I just know it’s all going to come leaking out again. And it’s going to look messy.
And how does a girl — who spent most of her adult life trying to plug up tearducts — suddenly let it all come pouring out?
What will you think of me now?
Even as I tap these first words, sure enough, I’m leaking.
I’m letting you in on a secret: I’m completely broken.
Or, maybe the secret was already out. Maybe you knew that already, despite the shined-up, have-all-the-answers, got-to-get-it-right kind of girl I sometimes pretend to be.
But I’m not (shined up).
I don’t (have all the answers).
And I rarely (get it just right).
I’m a mess, all right.
I’m the girl whose spiritual journey looks more like a stumble than a faith walk. As I limp down this path, I’m the one with toilet paper stuck to her shoe.
And all I know how to do — the only thing I really ever knew how to do — is to Get Down With Jesus. Because He is closest to me when it’s hard for me to stand.
The only way I know how to find my life, is to lay it all down.
Something broke loose inside me about a month ago, when this Iowa farm wife winged south to Texas to meet friends, to talk about words and The Word.
I came home changed, and my favorite farmer knew right away something was different. He knows what a harvest looks like.
“This weekend was big for you, wasn’t it?” he said, and I cried.
And he cried with me.
Before we flew south, one of the other writers had emailed: “Does anyone have a travel iron?” And none of us did, so I suggested we just show up all wrinkled together!
But when I sat by Ann at supper that Friday night, I wanted an iron … one to straighten all the wrinkles on the inside of me. Would any of these people like me, this Iowa farm wife, so broken and wrinkled?
I wanted to say the right things, but started shattering right there next to Ann, another farmer’s wife. I split right open, and told her what a mess I was, and I think maybe she understood me right then, when I said I’m scared sometimes. This Ann who signs her emails “All’s grace,” she was all grace to me with her wise, soft eyes, her warm smile.
And the other Ann, too, was all grace. We stood outside in the courtyard, talked about the curse of perfectionism, and how it can paralyze a person. She let me shatter just a bit more, right there in her embrace.
And I kept … on …. breaking … all weekend long.
By the time Sunday morning came, I wore all the wrinkles on the outside. The preacher stood by poured-out wine. He stretched out cupped hands, as if they held shattered pieces of a broken life.
The preacher said the only thing we could really ever do with the shards is to hold them up and ask God: “Can You help me with this?”
And I was uncorked — broken in the front row by the broken bread. Things shifted on the inside — like a spiritual moving of tectonic plates. And yes, it felt like a personal earthquake.
I’m still shaking.
Because I’m broken. Just. Plain. Broken. … God and I are getting to know each other more in His putting-back-together-again.
And does this process ever really end … until the new beginning?
I’m Getting Down with Jesus here, and I am changed, day by day. I walk with a limp.
I’m wounded, for good. And it’s good.
It’s so good.
Each Wednesday, I join Ann Voskamp in her Walk With Him Wednesday series. This week, she asks how do we GIVE thanks?
And this is all I know how to give. It may not seem much, but it’s all I have. I hold the broken pieces of a life here, and I look up to the Father, and I say: “This is yours. I give you this.”
This is my offering. This is my life.
Photo: I see Ys everywhere (Y for Yahweh). I found this one in a sidewalk crack at Laity Lodge, where I came undone. In Yahweh, all things hold together.