We are all hot messes!
“Wow, she’s a hot mess.”
These were the words that greeted me and my dog as we walked through the groomer’s door. At first, I didn’t know if she was talking about me or the dog…
I have had Woodstock for 5 years. She was a rescue dog from the APL. She had been severely neglected when they found her. When I got her, you could see her ribs and there were huge patches of hair missing due to poor nutrition and fleas. And she had at some point in her life had puppies. Neither the APL nor my vet know how old she is because her teeth were in such poor condition. But she is the one of the coolest, craziest looking dogs I have ever seen. She is a chow/golden retriever mix and has the sweetest temperament. She has red hair and looks kind of bohemian. My family tells me all the time she is fat. I have overcompensated through the years because of her neglect. I have made sure she is never hungry. She also hates water so I have not always made her take baths. And the two times I took her to a groomer, they did not want her to come back without anxiety medicine. She does not bite, she just becomes 100 pounds of dead weight.
I have to be to the church on Sundays at 8 a.m. Today I was struggling to get there on time…I even got up earlier. When I got to church, a good friend informed me that I had my Spanx on backwards and that she could see the size through the eyelet on the back of my dress. (For men who don’t have to worry about such things or even knows what it is…Spanx is the 21st century’s version of a girdle….yes I wear a girdle though spanx sounds so much better 🙂 To top things off, someone who is like a dad to me was trying to compliment me on how nice I looked said, “You look very robust today…” Look up the word robust…it’s not what a woman wants to be called. Haha! Right before the second service I was standing in the middle aisle, talking to some people…and as the screen was counting down the time until service started (we were down to 10 seconds), my necklace with a hundred different size beads broke. Everywhere. Down the center aisle. We scurried to get them all picked up before service started. I was a hot mess today.
This past week I have thought a lot about the lady’s greeting about Woodstock being a hot mess. And how many of us feel like that all the time. And for some of us that keeps us from coming to Church. From coming to God. Our personal lives our a mess. Our finances are in a disarray. We don’t know how anyone could love us especially God. And the one place people should feel welcome, the Church, they don’t.
I remember three people in my life who God used to love me right where I was…the mess that was Heidi. The first person was a lady named, Nita. She was my best friend’s mom. Their family introduced me to Christ. They met me when I was 8 years old and prayed for and loved me until I was 15 and finally came to Christ. I was rough. Not always easy to deal with. At the age of 10, I remember teaching my best friend, her daughter, a card game that my family played. The name of the game was “Screw your neighbor”. I’m sure I said a whole lot of fun stuff. She never condemned me or acted shocked, she simply suggested we name it something else…I think one of the suggestions was “fornicate your neightbor” 😉 . She could have decided to “protect” her daughter from the likes of me. I was a bad influence. But she never made me feel like one.
The second person I remember was a Bible college professor. It was my sophomore year of school and I was an emotional mess. It was the time of my walk with the Lord that He began to deal with me in regards to inner healing. I had been through some stuff and done some stuff before coming to Christ. I remember the love and acceptance he showed me as I dry-heaved into a garbage can as I confessed and dealt with sin and stuff from my past.
The last person I remember (though there are many), is my current Pastor, boss, and friend…Jim Cooper. My first place in ministry was amazing but there were some rough times. My pastor (a dear friend and mentor) that I worked with at the time had a nervous breakdown and had walked away from ministry and his family. I had to step in and Senior pastor. I never had time to deal with the impact of my mentor and boss falling. I came home for a couple of months. During the second month, Pastor Jim asked me to come work with him. That was 12 years ago. I still remember sitting in the toddler room in chairs made for 3 years old, talking about what was next for me. I had other offers. But what I needed was a safe place to heal. The thing is, I didn’t even know I needed healing. I am so grateful for the healing God has given me. And am forever grateful for Pastor Jim and taking the time to allow a hot mess to heal!
I write all of this to encourage those of us who call ourselves Christians…followers of Christ…to accept people where they are. And as people walk through the doors of our churches, our first thought should not be “what a hot mess she is.” Our first thought should be “Let me show you the love, forgiveness and acceptance Christ has shown me!” The world will know that we are Jesus’ by the love that we have for one another. I think I read that somewhere 😉