By Allie Wilke
I am a mess. Life is messy. My marriage is messy. There is no pretty bow to tie it all together to even try and make it look remotely not a mess. I could post a picture on Facebook of the one good date my husband and I had last month so that I could attempt to make it look pretty for everyone to see, but behind that picture is a mess far beyond comprehension. Behind that one good date, when we liked each other long enough to remember to take a picture, are 10 other dates that ended in a fight. What the single pretty, tied in a bow, and sweetly captioned picture doesn’t show the Facebook world is that my husband and I are two extremely messy people feeling extremely lost and fighting so hard to figure it all out.
Here are some deep, honest, vulnerable truths… lately I cry four out of seven days of the week. It takes some mental preparation if I know I am going to be around more than three people at one given time [#introvertproblems]. I sometimes choose my lunch location based on the calories in the meal I am going to order. I have no idea what I want to do “when I grow up”. I am a struggling perfectionist. My husband and I fight…a lot. I avoid the mirror when I get out of the shower. My husband works too much. Sometimes, more so recently, we have conversations about selling everything and starting a tiny home community because this life we have created feels overwhelming [seriously though, any takers on joining in on that?].
Feeling better about your life right about now? I share all of this not for your sympathy, but because a few weeks ago I was on a walk with a sweet friend sharing a little about some of these truths and life as of lately. After sharing some of the above mentioned struggles, she giggled. [Glad my crazy, messiness is funny.] She paused and apologized for laughing then said something that has been on my mind ever since, “If only you saw what we saw. We look at you and Isaac and think how great your life must be. Isaac is tall, dark and handsome. You are tall, blonde, and fit. You have a beautiful home. Isaac has a great job. We sometimes wonder what you two could ever have to worry or fight about”. Oh boy. Now it was my turn to laugh. How pretty something can look on the outside but is actually a big ol’ mess on the inside. And I realized…I want to live my messy, unpretty, bow untied life for everyone to see. Why? Because that is reality. Real life is messy. Real life rarely is tied up in a pretty bow and the more that people see that they are not alone in the messiness…maybe, just maybe, they won’t feel the need to attempt to tie it up and package it nicely for others to see.
God didn’t call us to be perfect. He doesn’t need us to not be messy. In fact, His glory is made known through our messiness. By us attempting to be pretty for everyone else to see, we are missing out on His gift of grace.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-11 (ESV)
Sweet friends, boast about the mess! Be content with the mess! Don’t try to make it something it isn’t. Don’t try to tie it all together and stick a glittery pink perfectly tied bow on it. Embrace your mess and be bold enough to live it with vulnerability and transparency. It is in our mess that we become more dependent on Him. It is in our messy marriages, body image struggles, and living in the unknown that we experience His grace and love deeper than we could ever imagine. When experiencing His grace and love in our own mess, we learn to extend the same grace and love to those around us in their mess. Sister, hear me when I say, you are not alone in your mess [as I hope I made very clear when I listed a small portion of my mess]
Kinda messy. Seriously, outrageously messy. Ugly messy. Beautifully messy. Our mess is our story; it is our journey. It is our very own and I believe by embracing it, by boasting about it, we allow God to move through it.
Father, today I thank you for my mess. It is because of my mess that I know your grace. It is because of my mess that I know your love more. It is my mess that has caused me to learn who I am, who I am not, and who I want to be. I pray that you would give me the boldness and courage to refuse to hide my mess with a pretty bow and the strength and faith to trust you to work in the midst of the mess.
Meet Allie Wilke
I am so excited for you to meet Allie. She and her husband, Isaac,a live in the North Dallas area and have a huge heart for missions. They have set up a nonprofit called Divinushaiti that focuses on orphans, health, education, and the economy of Haiti. Allie's heart is gentle and authentic. She loves the Lord and trusts in His leading. She walks in faith and is willing to abandon her plans for His. I am excited to see how the Lord uses her writing to impart His Truths. We have many mutual friends and I am grateful that she said yes to writing for Refresh. Thank you for your vulnerability and the freedom to take a deep breath and not strive for perfection. You are a gift.