Friday, May 15, 2015

On being a misfit for Him

I'm beginning to think that a big plan for my life is to live for God as a 'misfit'.

Church is really, really different down South than it was up North - for one, it's everywhere. For two, it's a lifestyle, a culture, a career that isn't as prevalent where I'm from. When I first moved down here, I was completely turned off by the whole thing. I dreaded the question that everyone asked me first, "So...where do you go to church?"

But over the last 11 years here in the South, my life has changed - I've grown up a little bit and I've realized that the foundation I had as a child that taught me about God and my Savior - is really at the core of who I am.

It's made for some tough situations though, in an area where being a "Christian" is almost a given and where churches can sometimes seem to compete in popularity contests.

What happens to those of us who aren't part of the 'in' crowd?

I look at blogs and organizations centered around Jesus and I see no one like me. I see happy, smiling families with beautiful children. I see doting husbands and happy wives.

It feels like I just don't fit there. With these complete, happy, fulfilled families who can't possibly understand pain like I do. Deep down, I know this isn't true - I have been around long enough to know that behind every smile is a story of pain and brokenness.

But I know there are other stories. I know there have to be families like mine. Stories like mine. Other people who are misfits like me.

I think of what my family picture would look like - so much dysfunction, so broken. Pasts that include divorce, scandal, single parenthood, an unwed mother, step children, half siblings, separation, a heart so broken it feels it will never be whole again, addiction, anger, resentment... and yet a love for Christ so big and so great my heart desires for you to know that you don't have to be perfect to love Him and to be loved BY Him.

I am living proof y'all. My life is a hot, broken mess. It has never and will never be a straight line pointing to Him. It's more like a toddler scribble than a straight arrow.

I read this post recently and man, it resonated with me. While I do think that God desires us to be happy in some ways, I believe that the happiness He wishes for us is so much different than what we imagine happiness to be. This paragraph hits the nail on the head for me "If I have learned anything over the last few years, it’s that God is out for one thing and one thing alone – His glory. I think it’s hard for us to swallow and digest that fully, because we associate glory with things like pride and selfishness. I think it’s also hard because we’ve never seen a perfect love lived out in an earthly person. But it doesn’t make the characteristics of the Father any less true." 

I have started to see that through the sharing and telling of my story, my brokenness, my pain and struggle that I can bring God glory. I can sit across the table from someone who doesn't believe and say honestly - I am so far from perfect, you wouldn't even believe it. My life is so far from perfect and typical and easy. Most days I feel like I'm slogging my way until bedtime. Marriage is hard, life is hard, parenthood is hard. Pain is present, heartache is present and you will never see a happy, smiling picture of my family summed up by a husband, wife and 2.5 well behaved children.

For much of my life, I have just wanted to fit in. I haven't wanted to feel different, be different, look different. I have wanted to be a 'normal' wife and mother and raise a family. And for some reason, those things remain out of my grasp. It is hard to wrap my mind around why I can't live the life *I* want to live and why I'm stuck in this life that seems like it should belong to someone else.

And also - I'm really frickin tired of being so sad. I bet some of you can relate to the feeling that grief seems to follow you around all.the.time.

I'm a 36 year old mother to 3, almost 4. I have been an unwed mother, a single mother, a married mother, and a separated mother. I have been a child, a teenager, a college student, a college drop out, an employee, a wife, a stay at home mother, a work at home mother.

I have lost my way many times. But I'm not going to lie to you - in some of my most faithful moments, life has taken a good swing at me. Some of the times in my life I have felt the closest to God, I have not been spared pain and heartache. In fact, if I'm being honest - it's in those times that I have experienced some of my darkest and loneliest moments.

But it's also those dark and lonely moments that have brought me to my knees in search of Him. Those are the moments that have sweetened my relationship with my Father in Heaven.

I don't want to contribute to the notion that Christianity = perfection. I want to live my broken, messy, imperfectly painful life out loud for His glory. Jesus loved those on the outside. If you're on the outside, there's a good chance you're closer to the inside than you think.

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