This Ugly Beautiful Mess called Reality

I’ve been slow to write lately because too many of my thoughts have been dark and troubled. The last 2 months have been eventful to say the least, and I’ve struggled and failed in ways that I thought I’d put behind me. The name of this blog is stumbling to stand, however, and it wouldn’t be very apt if I was just sailing all clean and neat through life, now would it?

I’ve made a point, in my life and in my recovery, to aim for honesty. At first, I did this without a filter or even good sense. Over time, I learned that tempered and thought out honesty are much more effective at building bridges. But, my resolve to stay honest has been brutally tested since the beginning of September. 

My dad made a terrible choice at that time. A choice that I still find difficult to accept.

 (I said in my last post that I am being purposely ambiguous about this event, and I will continue to be. There are victims I am aiming to respect and protect from a distance.) 

The consequences of his choice are very real and very hard and he has lost far more than he bargained for in the midst of his darkness. 

Sin and selfishness do that to us. Make us feel like we don’t have a choice. Like it doesn’t matter who gets hurt as long as our pain stops. It cuts us off from what’s real. Because what’s real isn’t all rainbows and unicorns and coconut cake. It’s ugly and beautiful and messy. 

God has been using this time to give me several wake up calls. And He’s shown me the depths I am still willing to go to in an effort to control and minimize pain. He’s shown me how avoiding consequences leads to more brokenness and heightened fear and into that dark place that we hope the light never finds. 

He’s given me an up close and personal look at what we suffer when we don’t let Him define our reality. 

After such an awful event, I started struggling with nightmares and early labor. I screamed and cried and laughed. I felt sick and felt hopeful. I got mad and I felt bad. I empathized and I judged. Sometimes I did all of these things within minutes. It took weeks of talking and listening and even shutting down for me to settle into a new, constantly shifting reality. 

Then just six days after my son was born, my grandfather passed away. That weekend, I grieved in a whole new and complicated way. The funeral was draining and my first conversation with my dad behind bars was unexpected and blessedly short. 

Now another week has passed, and I feel like I’m emerging from a cave. I didn’t isolate in the middle of my pain, but I did spend far too much time indulging in the world’s shallow comfort instead of the depths of the Word. My prayers were short and frustrated. My heart and body ached. I reached out to my accountability and my friends, but I still haven’t been to a meeting in months. 

My reality has changed and like all trials, I feel the grinding and chipping and molding that reminds me of my true reality, both here and eternally. 

I didn’t do what I thought a good and grounded Christian would do. I didn’t turn to the Bible or church or recovery. But I didn’t feel abandoned or alone. I felt abruptly and freely imperfect. It made me want to shout out loud with gratitude. And I often did. 

Because even with all that pain, He gave and gave and gave. Kind words. Long talks. Smiling children. Laughter with my husband. 

Freedom blossomed in the space where fear had locked me down. Grace covered and covered again. Forgiveness became a marathon instead of a sprint. 

I am a gloriously hot mess, but God hasn’t thrown me away. If anything, He’s renewed my passion. For my family. For growing. For writing and connecting. For constantly turning my eyes back to Christ. 

I hope that I can keep being real with those of you who visit my words. I hope I keep trying to pursue this dream of mine. I hope in Christ that I will grow from an immature babe to a healthy and robust adult. I’m working on this day’s struggles. This moment’s battle with sin. This second’s acceptance of Christ as perfection, Lord, and Savior. This breath’s acknowledgment that I’m a broken vessel held together in His hands and somehow made useful. 

After all, that is my ugly, beautiful, messy reality. Praise God. 

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