Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My praise and my mess

I stepped off the bus this morning and into the cold wind of downtown Minneapolis. As my feet hit the pavement, my mind and heart were directed upward.

Oh hello Lord. Good morning to you. I’m off to work and am just now remembering I haven’t yet greeted you today. Forgive me Lord that the first words on my tongue this morning were not praise or gratefulness to you…for another day to breathe…another day to love and live and work. I lay in the warmth of my bed too long this morning. I hurried to fix my hair, pack food, iron my pants and prepare for my day. I offered quick hugs and kisses to the little people in my home and I rushed on my way. I confess that I was harsh with my husband because of my tardiness this morning. I did not leave my home with kind words of encouragement for the day, but rather with a stressful goodbye at the door.

Why Lord? Why can’t I get it together? Why can’t I prepare the night before to allow adequate time for my family and home? Why can’t I get up earlier – to get both my heart and my body prepared for the day? Why can’t I recognize my desperate need for you…first and foremost every day? Why can’t I make the connection between my heart and my words and actions? For out of the overflow of the heart my mouth speaks. God I am so grateful that your love for me is not based on this sinner’s heart because the overflow is ugly these days. It hurts my loved ones. And it grieves you because how I treat your creation reflects how I view you – the Creator.

I remember the day I stood on a beach in northern Minnesota. I gave my faith story and then I was baptized by cool lake water. I declared myself a follower of you. I admitted before many that I was stubborn, independent and self-reliant.

And today I am still all of those things and more. You have such a work to do in me God. I am weak, you are strong. I am selfish, and you give of your mercies graciously, repeatedly. I am a fool that repeats its folly. Yet you hold your arms open and allow me to run into them daily.

It’s all there for me. You offer to carry my burdens for me. Then why do I hold so tightly to them? When will I loosen these fingers that are wrapped so firmly around…what? My responsibilities? My to do list? My commitments? The pieces of my day?
Renew my mind God. Every day. Transform me from the inside out because the brokenness inside is ugly. My pride, bitterness and self-righteousness is what made you turn away and forsake Christ on the cross. My sin, my brokenness was laid bare for all the world to see. Your holiness and perfection cannot co-exist alongside my sin and humanity. And that’s why your Son bridged the gap. It doesn’t just make a difference for eternity. God it makes a difference for today.

Wait who is this man that just stepped in front of me? Is he…homeless? He has an overstuffed cooler. Deodorant and a toothbrush stick out of the pockets of his backpack. His clothes hang from his body. His hair is oily and his clothes greasy. And his smell is…foul. He stops by the garbage. He looks in. He begins to dig.

Oh Lord, help him. Help me. I am consumed with self and it’s sickening. His stench is apparent and his appearance is unappealing. My stench is hidden, but it’s rotten. God the filth in my heart is overflowing onto those around me. Protect their hearts from my ugliness. Create in me a clean heart, but do it gently Lord.

This man. This homeless man. His filth is easily washable. My filth was erased at the cross. I claim that promise for today. Thank you that we are both cleansed by the blood of Jesus. Thank you that you can still shine, still be glorified, still transform and still renew amidst my mess. I can’t clean it up. I wouldn’t even know where to begin. In deep humility I offer you my praise and my mess simultaneously…and you eagerly receive both.


"All in His Perfect Timing" said...

What a beautiful prayer! All too often, I find myself in the same situation ... rushed, unprepared and impatient with my husband.

TrinaDi said...

Thank you for that prayer Stacy. It's just what I needed to hear at this very moment.