I'm back! I put off posting for a while because I feel the pressure of having an awesome, polished story worthy of the 6-month wait. The truth is that I've been super busy, and in all of my busyness, I've neglected some of the things that seem unnecessary. The reality is that some of these things, like writing, are so very life-giving. They are necessary.
Anyway, I need to get back in to the practice of writing, so here goes.
As I type this, a tall, kind, black man named Marvin is shattering the glass in one of my front windows. He arrived a bit ago, ready to repair the window, which has a gaping hole in it from a rock that came through it yesterday. The rock-throwing incident occurred when I was sitting in the living room, fixed to my computer with a solid, 3-hour block of time to get something accomplished. The rock ruined my morning. After it happened, I felt scared and vulnerable. Who would do something like this? And why? Will it happen again?
This incident is just one in a line of others where I've felt that our home has been disrespected by others. Some would consider our neighborhood unsafe. So all of these negative feelings about our living situation again started swirling in my head. Some days, I just want out. I want an escape to a place that feels safe. I asked God why He doesn't keep us safe and why I don't feel safe in my own home. I began to think of some things to be thankful for in the situation: my children weren't home when this happened, no one was hurt, I have awesome and encouraging neighbors. Maybe something good could come from this annoyance.
When Marvin arrived and began to pry the storm window out, I started apologizing for things: my curtains are dirty, I don't know how to get my windows apart, my windows need to be cleaned too...
He replied with a high five and the words, "you don't need to apologize. Jesus loves you."
These words spoke to my heart, and I began to cry. I've been doing a lot of apologizing lately for not knowing enough or giving enough at my job, for not spending enough time with my family. Every day, I strive for perfection, but the reality is that this striving leaves me broken and depleted. I never feel enough. I'm always apologizing.
As he worked on the window, Marvin, who I learned is a chaplain at the local prison, continued to speak. Wisdom poured from his mouth. He preached about how God imparts value to us and about the ministry opportunities that we have in our own neighborhoods.
"God doesn't wait until you are ready to show up." Isn't that the truth. My life feels really messy right now, kind of like that broken window. I wasn't expecting to see God in the middle of my need. I wasn't expecting God to show up in my house this morning and show me his love and care. But he did through Marvin, who is Jesus in the flesh to me today -- speaking words of truth, asking me not to worry, reassuring me that things will be alright, fixing my problems.