This is a guest post by Kendra Graham, my sister-in-law. I am honored for her to write a post and excited to introduce her to you. Kendra is married to my oldest brother Wil. She is a wife, mom, sister, coach, nurse, and friend. Kendra leads a Bible study at The Cove and has started speaking at women’s conferences. Follow Kendra on Twitter.
Yep, I’m a Mess!
Life is hard. The more I try to fix things, the more I try to make wise choices, and the more I try to dig myself out from under the pile, the worse things get and the bigger mess I tend to make. Can anyone relate? It’s the story of my life. Even from a young age, one of the first things I remember hearing is, “Kendra, girl, you are a mess!” It’s true. But I have come to embrace that statement in the past few years instead of running from it.
A few years ago I found myself in the depths of depression. I would try and try every day to wish it away, pretend it wasn’t there, or to “deal” in silence. Things got worse…. and worse. When things couldn’t get any worse? They did. Struggle. Pain. Frustration. Failure. Embarrassment. Shame.
I found myself crying out to God in a way I had never imagined. Where are You God? God, do You care? Do You hear me? Do I matter? My husband was and is an amazing communicator of the Gospel, he matters for sure, so God, are You stuck with me because it’s like a two-for-one deal? All I do is mess things up. Daily. Hourly. Minutely.
I read Isaiah 9:6: “For unto us a Child (Jesus) is born, unto us a Son is given… His name shall be WONDERFUL, COUNSELOR, ALMIGHTY GOD, EVERLASTING FATHER, PRINCE OF PEACE.”
God, if that is Your name, be that to me. That was my prayer. My journey began.
For the next year and a half, day after day, I put God’s Word to the test. I put His character to the test. I was in need of a Wonderful Counselor who I could talk to and whose care I could feel. I was in need of a Mighty God to fight for me; I was so tired and weak. I was in need of an Everlasting Father who would love me in spite of my messes, who not only said He would be there through thick and thin, but who would actually show up, in my real, everyday life. I was in need of peace to still the chaos, to still the stress.
In my desperation, I held on to these Scriptures:
“Fear Not! I have redeemed you, called YOU by name, YOU are mine.” Isaiah 43:1
“Can a woman forget her nursing child and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely these may forget, but I WILL NOT forget YOU! See, I have inscribed YOU on the palms of my hands.” Isaiah 49:15-16
A spouse may forget you, a parent may forget you, a friend may forget you, a church family may forget you, a boss may forget you, but GOD decidedly will NOT forget you! YOUR name is constantly before Him! You and I are on His mind!
The palms of Jesus, God’s son, were inscribed with nails as He hung on a Roman cross so that my name and your name could be inscribed on the palms of God Almighty…. and yet I want to think for even a minute that I don’t matter? That, my friend, is so far from the truth.
In a world where everything constantly changes, where no one can be counted on or trusted, God’s Word NEVER changes. God’s character and promises have NEVER faltered. God has always and will always keep His Word.
As I claimed God for who He is, I began to see the Living God show up, right in the middle of my mess! God showed up through a friend’s phone call or visit. God showed up when a teacher held my fussy baby for thirty minutes each day. When my car broke down, I was in a safe place with people who could help. God was gracious… and the list could go on. As I sought, strained really, to see God, I couldn’t miss Him. He was there all the time, in all the mess. I knew that I knew I was in His sights and on His mind. I knew that “my Redeemer lives!”
Have you ever thought that perhaps God was playing some sick joke on you, hiding from you for all these months and years? God sent Jesus to us—God in the form of man—to be FOUND. Jesus conquered life at the manger and death at the cross, three days later Jesus rose from the dead and Jesus is LIVING, at the right hand of God the Father this very moment! Sin (wrong words, thoughts and actions) is what separates us from God. Jesus came to live a perfect life; he did not sin in any way. Then he died a vicious and brutal death on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin (Romans 3:23, 6:23). Why such a cruel, wicked death? Why could Jesus not be killed an easier way? Why all the beatings and why the nails in His hands and feet? Why death on a cross? Because the cross reveals the ugliness of our sin. God hates sin that much. Jesus was forsaken by His very Father in heaven so you and I wouldn’t have to be! That’s the price that was on my head and your head, and Jesus paid it, so you and I could have peace with God. The Bible says that Jesus, “for the joy set before Him, endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2). Jesus died and endured immeasurable agony joyfully, for you and for me, so that we can personally know the Living God who created us. Jesus cared more about you and me knowing Him than the pain He would have to endure! We matter that much!
What is your story? Is your life too messed up and beyond the point of repair that surely God forgot about you ages ago, if ever you were on His mind in the first place? Do you believe He can heal everyone else, and love everyone else—but you, now that’s a different story? God wants to take your story and give you His story. He has put His cards out on the table, so what will you do? The Easter story can be a testimony of a new beginning for you—all you have to do is ask!
God is a living God who loves you and gave everything for you. God’s part is done, He has made a way, and now the choice is yours. What will it be? What will you choose?
Seek Him, and you will see what He can do with a mess! I am thankful for the “messy-ness” of my life because God used the mess to bring me closer to Him!
How has God redeemed your mess this year?