Monday, July 21, 2014

Messes into messages

Over dinner last week, three friends and I discussed old-fashioned, paper planners, which we still use. I actually started a new one this month. There's something fresh about clean pages to begin the next 18 months.

Thing is, my life usually doesn't look like my calendar. Sometimes the best laid plans aren't the best. A week ago, my calendar reminded me God's got the details figured out.

While walking into the hospital for my daughter's ENT-related appointment, we ran into an attorney friend who offered unsolicited but valuable advice.

Then my kids were invited to a friend's house about an hour after I realized I need childcare to me available for a dear friend walking through a hard season.

The encounter and text invitation were divinely timed. They impacted Tuesday and the days to come. And, you know, I originally thought the kids and I would be spending last Tuesday at a nearby water park.

Of course, I didn't realize it would be 75 degrees in mid-July. The Maker of it all – our calendar, our relationships, the weather and the universe – still manages to surprise us in such delightful ways.

While God's been orchestrating details, I've been learning about an even deeper level of community. Darkness does that sometimes. Light can be easier to find when people come together and trust each other with their stories.

My heart has been heavy for some people who have been walking through darkness. A friend's marriage is crumbling. A woman I've gotten to know recently is starting over as the program that was helping her abandoned its mission, but, thankfully, she’s still committed to healing. A college friend shared with me a mental health past I didn't realize he had that is still affecting his life today. Another college friend struggled with infertility and is now hoping all goes well with the babies – yes, plural – growing inside her after a successful IVF procedure.

These people aren't satisfied to stay in the darkness. They're taking steps toward healing and protecting and surviving. But like a Casting Crowns song says, life isn't about surviving but rather thriving.

Here in this worn and weary land
Where many a dream has died
Like a tree planted by the water
We never will run dry

So living water flowing through
God, we thirst for more of You
Fill our hearts and flood our souls with one desire

Just to know You and to make You known
We lift Your name on high
Shine like the sun, make darkness run and hide
We know we were made for 
so much more than ordinary lives
It’s time for us to more than just survive
We were made to thrive …

Joy unspeakable, faith unsinkable
Love unstoppable, anything is possible

{Casting Crowns’ “Thrive”}

God’s light seeps through this temporary darkness and changes us. My new friend who is starting over stood up yesterday in church and praised God despite her hard week. And she put the purpose of life into words: God turned her mess into a message.

Life is messy sometimes. But we don’t have to settle for making it through. God wants to author messages out of our messes. These messages speak of God’s faithfulness and love, so let’s not be afraid to share them.

I'm joining my friend Jen Ferguson for the weekly Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood Gathering, where people share the messages that have come from their messes. Then on Wednesday I linked with Beth Stiff for Three Word Wednesday, Holley Gerth for Coffee for Your Heart, and Jennifer Dukes Lee for #TellHisStory

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  1. KristinHillTaylor7/21/2014 1:44 PM

    Thanks, Jennie! :)

  2. Tabitha Myers7/21/2014 8:16 PM

    I really enjoyed this post, Kristin. Great job!

  3. When darkness overwhelms me (me own or that of others), I sometimes need to be reminded to LET LIGHT IN. And that is why I think community is so powerful. And when we create space (or let God create space), He is so able to orchestrate things far better than we could ever imagine. Love that we are on the same wavelength, friend.

  4. KristinHillTaylor7/21/2014 9:01 PM

    I'm so glad you enjoyed it, Tabitha. Thanks for reading. :)

  5. KristinHillTaylor7/21/2014 9:02 PM

    Space and light - such my themes for this year. I should have known when I chose LIGHT as my word this year, God had a plan. :) I loved reading your post tonight and realizing how in-sync we are!

  6. Jody Ohlsen Collins7/22/2014 12:19 PM

    'Turning our messes into messages.' Kristin, I love this. God is so good--what an encouraging post!

  7. KristinHillTaylor7/22/2014 5:15 PM

    Thanks, Jody! This was one of those posts I worked on a little at a time ... and God kept shaping it in my ordinary days and the things people said and did.

  8. Kristin- Amen! "Life is messy sometimes. But we don’t have to settle for making it through. God wants to author messages out of our messes. " So true, encouraging, and beautifully written. I'm always glad I stopped by your place. Thanks for sharing your gift!

  9. KristinHillTaylor7/23/2014 7:15 AM

    Thank you, Karen. I appreciate your encouragement.

  10. I love hearing about your friends who are committed to healing. People who refuse to stay in darkness are inspiring as the power of Christ is made manifest. YES!

  11. KristinHillTaylor7/23/2014 7:50 AM

    Yes, such testimonies of God's faithfulness they will have. Thanks for reading, Jolene!

  12. No we don't have to settle for just making it through. God has so much more planned for us than that. Great encouragement, Kristin, for us to look for the ways God works in our lives and calendars every day!

  13. KristinHillTaylor7/23/2014 8:27 AM

    Thanks, Holly. I'm glad you stopped by today!

  14. Kristin, this really spoke to me. I am still in the process of having a message come forth from my mess and a testimony from testing and trials, but I can already see and sense God's hand at work in encouraging us all to share our stories and grow stronger together in the telling. Thank you! Blessings :)

  15. KristinHillTaylor7/23/2014 10:03 AM

    I'm so glad you're witnessing God moving in your life, even the hard seasons. Thanks for coming by here today, Joy.

  16. Thank you. I shared a little of my mess, and the darkness surrounding it, but how light prevailed with the SDG community yesterday. Oh what God can do with our messes.

  17. KristinHillTaylor7/24/2014 9:36 AM

    Your post was so brave and captured beautifully how God doesn't leave us in the mess. You've got a powerful message to share, Barbie!

  18. There is always a reason for our messes, but it is hard to remember that or even to hang on to hope that it will get better. We just need to keep going until we can see what beauty comes from it!

  19. KristinHillTaylor7/24/2014 6:34 PM

    Yes, indeed. Thanks for stopping by, Sarah!

  20. KristinHillTaylor8/27/2014 11:38 AM

    I'm just seeing this comment! But thank you for coming by. I'm glad you were encouraged here.