A Bruised Heart Full of Sprap

sprap = spam + crap

Bruised Heart

My heart is bruised. It has a specific cause rooted in the actions of others. I thought I was fine; turns out, I’m not. It hit me as I stood in a church to sing:
      Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
      Holy, holy is He
      Sing a new song to Him who sits on
      Heaven’s mercy seat
In the past when I sang this, I could always recall a new work I’d seen God do that week. I’d think about it and effortlessly praise Him with a ‘new song’—but not this time. I felt flat and disconnected. I couldn’t sing…but the song kept going. I couldn’t sing, so I prayed. “Lord, all I can tell You is I’m aware my heart is bruised and I know it has nothing to do with You. I love You, but the hurt is making me numb.” I’m not sure what I expected God to do…but before I tell you what He did, let me unpack a little about a bruised heart.

“You’ve Got Bruised Mail”

See if you can relate to this: You’re going about your life. Over time, you become aware that truckloads of junk you know you didn’t ask for are getting deposited into your life-inbox. Feeling strong, you scroll through, select and ‘delete’ that junk. You don’t open it or look at it. Out of sight, out of mind, you think you’ve cleared it away. The next day, however, the crap reappears looking exactly the same. With irritation, you take a peek, but then quickly close and trash it all.  However, it won’t go away. Crazy as this sounds, the following day more junk just like it starts to infect your mind/heart-inbox because you made the fatal error of looking at something in that sprap.

SPRAP - Spam + Crap = unwanted junk deposited into our life-inbox

facepalm

You looked at the sprap, and now you can’t shake it. The ridiculously ugly content has gotten into your head and has bruised your heart.

 

What the sprap bruised your heart?

I know the nature of my sprap. Is yours within this list?

*Degrading words
*Family dysfunction
*Abandonment
*Being overlooked
*Made to feel inferior
*Betrayal
*Broken trust
*Abuse of power
*Death
*Addiction
*Deception
*Rejection
*Prayer that seems unanswered
*Low self-worth
*Your pride alienated others

The list of human-to-human ugliness is unending.  While it’s awful, God has the power to bring something beautiful from it. In Genesis 50:20, Joseph—who could put a check mark by most of the hurts on the above list–saw God’s mighty hand at the end of many bruising years. “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” Our bruises, too, have the power to help others if we’ll deal with our sprap and let the Holy Spirit begin the healing.

Healing a bruised heart
Some hearts are more than bruised, they’re broken. Healing may be a long process and require professional help before the pain can connect to God’s promised good.  Psalm 147:3 is a sustaining hope for the journey, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” My heart is saddened thinking of how uphill that path is for the deeply wounded because I’ve been there, too. What I can tell you is that those I’ve known who’ve opened their sprap and done the hard work to heal are some of the most interesting and dimensionally profound people I’ve met. Their ‘new songs’ are powerfully moving.

For me, God began healing this bruise on my heart in that worship service. When I couldn’t connect to singing a new song because my bruised heart was too numb, the Holy Spirit met me there. As the music played, I suddenly had this understanding: You are singing Me a new song. This is the first time you’ve sang to Me with a bruised heart. This is a new song and now you know what it sounds like. I receive your praise in this new song. That assurance was the beginning of my bruise fading; but it’s just the beginning.

His love gives us courage to keep moving toward healing. That’s my new song. I’m praying for all who read this—whether bruised, broken or healed. May a new song rise up and may that song point people to God’s love.

 

I care; You share

Even though my plate is full, I care, so you share

Even though my plate is full, I care, so you share

I had coffee with a friend today. I thought we were getting together to laugh. Turns out, we got together for a lesson.

During our conversation, she shared a profound truth, and I asked her to write a guest post on my blog. For you to fully grasp the power of her message, please allow me to share the highlights of what my friend is facing:

  • Her 13-year-old daughter, Sarah, has cancer
  • Her 17-year-old son has been dealing with the legal system all year. He was recently released from a psychiatric hospital stay. After a 3rd violation of his probation, they have court soon to determine if he will stay in the home or be placed in the system.
  • Her father-in-law lives with them. In the last month, he has been hospitalized twice with mini-stroke symptoms.
  • Her mother lives with them and, in the last month, has also experienced health issues.
  • My friend has her own mental health journey that is challenging to navigate with all these stressors.

…and we think we have problems? But wait: Capture that thought. My friend, Amanda Meers, has a word regarding that ‘thought’, and I believe we all need to hear it.

Amanda’s insights

I tell you these things, not so that you will feel sorry or have pity, but to acknowledge that sometimes it feels like God gives us a triple plate of life. Most people would prefer these things to happen on individual plates at different times in life (if they have to have them at all). Some people, like me, get all of the plates at once. I have a nickname amongst some of my friends, Jobina (the female Job).

I am often told, when reaching out to different people in my life, that what’s going on in their world is nothing compared to what’s happening in mine (whether they know all of it or only about Sarah’s diagnosis). This is a huge pet peeve of mine!!!

Let me explain:

Yes, everything happening in my life (taken individually or all together) is a lot for anyone. However, that doesn’t mean that the trials happening in your life are any less important or significant than those happening in mine. It’s like trying to compare apples and oranges. If you or someone in your life is going through a hard time—whether it’s a cold, the flu, a baseball bat to the face, strep, issues at school or work—it’s all hard, it’s all scary, it’s all traumatic, and it’s all life. We are in this life together. We are supposed to share so that we can lift each other up in prayer.

Going back to the fruit example (apples and oranges): We are all fruits picked by God. We’re all different—whether you consider yourself an apple or an orange. We have different sizes, different colors, different bruises. When God picks us, we are placed in the fruit truck, all headed to the same place—but our journeys are so different.

Sometimes when people tell me “Well, I know my stuff is nothing compared to what’s happening in your life,” it feels like this means you think that I can’t or won’t or don’t want to pray for you. Praying for you and what’s happening in your life takes the focus off my life. I want to be other-focused. I want to pray for you. So many have been faithful to pray with and for us. By not allowing me to pray for you, you are denying me a blessing. Even if you factor out the friendship and love I have for you, we, as Christians, are meant to pray for each other. Praying for others is my job. If you are not sharing your prayer needs, you are depriving me of the opportunity to do my job. I can pray for you (and I do), but if there are specific things I can be praying, I want to know so we can go to the Father together in prayer. We are not meant to carry our burdens alone—no matter what they are.

We're all fruity. Let's show we care. Let's share.

Great job, Jobina. Thank you for permission to not compare my apples to your oranges. Thank you for praying for my apples as I’m praying for your oranges. Thank you for the invitation to be fruity together. 

You can reach Amanda at ameers2002@icloud.com

The Grace and Truth Tightrope

truth in love tightrope of grace

 

tightrope between grace and truth

When does a tightrope walker think, “…Point A to Point B on a skinny rope strung between high towers? Sign.me.up.”? Probably after observing someone do it well—someone who made it appear an attractive, thrilling adventure.

Our lives are a balancing act. We walk the Tightrope of Tasks and the Rope of Relationships. If we take a misstep along either, we lose equilibrium. We flail and try to regain control. In the meantime, we attempt to stay upright as we hyper-focus on not crashing.

Some tightropes are short and only affect the moment. Others, though…others are lengthy and have long term effects. One lengthy tightrope caught my attention this week—the tightrope between grace and truth.

Tightropes too tense

It seems that in the Christian community (and I realize I paint with broad strokes here), when a person commits a sin, he/she is met with a lot of truth. It’s as though the community absorbs the sin and puts their collective head down. They force the one who committed the sin to drop his head in a sort of community-imposed, “Look at what you’ve done.” The focus is on the one who made the mistake. The way that person is received causes him to center on himself. Truth, truth, truth pounding—even when it’s God’s truth—throws a hurting person off balance. The tightrope he’s walking? It should be a twine woven of love. However, if the community heaps condemnation—whether openly admitted or secretly harbored—the twine starts snapping under the walker’s weakened feet. It doesn’t feel like love. Yet…

truth in love, tightrope
Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. Ephesians 4:15

…it should.

Tightropes gone slack        

On the flip side, I recently soaked in an atmosphere that caused me to consider the imbalance of grace without truth.

Scene: A hipster coffee shop in East Nashville
Characters:

  • Me: computer and caffeine at the ready
  • Baristas: long-haired, tattooed, relaxed, open, in their zone
  • Customers: Hipster moms and dads, college students, bearded/tattooed/funky hair/lots of metal in body parts/all holding cell phones/most seemingly relaxed and in their zone

As I watched the baristas interact with their new and regular customers, my pastor/writer’s mind started speculating. Let’s assume—not with any judgment, but simply for the sake of assuming—that most of the folks in the coffee shop were not Christians. Here’s what got me. Take that hurting tightrope walker from the above scenario. If that guy were to come and share that same sin with this group, he’d find acceptance. Because there is no scriptural truth on which non-believers base their lives, the kinds of things that wig out Christians don’t hit their radar as an issue. If the hurting person shared how condemned he felt by the Christian community, he wouldn’t find that here. Instead, he’d find acceptance and “grace”. The tightrope under his feet would strengthen by the non-judgmental love this community extended. Their grace may be the very thing that causes him to walk away from Christians all together.

However, this twine becomes ensnaring. Because God’s truth is not part of the life-conversation, the feeling is…well Dori comes to mind with the message…

just keep sinning

…“Just keep sinning, sinning, sinning, sinning”. He’ll be stuck in that spot on the tightrope. It’s loving, but it’s a deceptive encouragement.

Tightropes that go the distance

After someone has messed up and we have the privilege to walk with him on the tightrope between grace and truth, let’s take our cues from this:

  1. Have a vision of “Point B”: Point B is where this hurting person will emerge after coming through their mess. Is the goal of Point B to rub his nose in his sin or is it to see him stronger in his relationship with the Lord? Knowing the end goal shapes how we interact with him today…because today is prayerfully one step closer to Point B. It also prevents us from reacting in ways that cause him to turn around and give up even trying to do the walk. Our actions should help restore the hurting person without us putting ourselves in the judgment seat. God alone, who gave the law, is the Judge. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to judge your neighbor? (James 4:12)
  2. Check your twine: Are you laying down “love” as the encouraging pathway out of the mess? If love leads, the hurting person can receive truth that will be life-giving as they journey. The encouragement to suffering friends is to “Just keep swimming” away from the mess and to know that your love is there for them. (1 Corinthians 13:1-13) …but the greatest of these is love.
  3. Lean on the grace you’ve received: It’s disappointing when people let us down. Hmm…with 7+ billion people on the planet, I wonder how frequently God says that. We let Him down often, but we never want His grace to fail or flee from us. The more we feel His grace, the more we want to live a life that pleases Him. That’s the beauty of God-ordained grace and truth. Let God be God in other people’s messes. (2 Corinthians 12:9) 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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

 

Tightrope between grace and truth

I have struggled with this tension between grace and truth, so I write to you and to me.  Here’s what I know: I want to be a person who powerfully navigates the tightropes of my life so others see that walking with Jesus is an attractive and thrilling adventure. I want to be a person who encourages others on their tightropes to look up, see the truth in God-Point B and know they are walking toward it with my love under their feet.

What tightrope are you navigating? I pray you are feeling God’s grace from His people. I pray His people are speaking truth, but only after loving you well. If you aren’t experiencing that, don’t give up on God, but find Christians who get it. There’s nothing like hearing grace-filled truth because it will lead you to deeper experiences of God’s love.

 

You can’t go back

Do you ever wish you could “go back to how things were”?

Most of us can recall days when things were easier…better… Usually, we’re remembering a stretch when relationships were stronger, everyone we loved was around, ‘bill’ was a guy’s name not something we had to pay, and chocolate was free. It’s tempting to not only spend time wishing for a return to the old days, but to also spend energy trying to recreate the feelings and settings of the past.

It doesn’t work; but it doesn’t work for a reason. God doesn’t want us to “go back” in our relationships…not with each other and not with Him.

When we’re straining to get back, it’s often to escape what is. Pain, anger, loss, disillusionment, betrayal…these can be so disheartening that we can—mistakenly—think, “If only things could go back to the way they were.” Not only can we not go back, but renewed purpose is found in embracing the truth that adventure lies ahead.

How can we be people who look forward instead of back?

It’s about taking the pain, disappointment and scars and creating something new.

  • Often, we will stay in a situation that is not good for us simply because it’s all we know. When life leaves a mark on us due to our circumstances, we must decide: Will we can keep picking at the wound, or will we allow it to become only a reminder of what we’ve learned? 2 Corinthians 5:17

It’s about knowing other people and knowing God in new ways because you’re different.

  • As we learn from the shifts in our lives, we cannot help but be molded by them. If we are open to growing instead of longing to go back, we become more interesting…and more interested in others. Some of life’s lessons can only be learned in the hard, dark places. God is there. If we are open to it, we gain new understandings of Him when He meets with us there and loves us through it. Isaiah 43:19

It’s about knowing wisdom comes with experience.

  • While I wish the hard things in my life had never happened, I wouldn’t trade what I learned because they did. I remember this when new difficulties come. I know that I will gain from the experience because I know God will be there to guide me. Romans 8:28

It’s about knowing we shouldn’t long to go back; we should long to learn and grow.

  • Whatever we feed is that which grows in our lives. If we constantly are looking in the rear-view mirror at what was, we’ll miss the beauty of what’s around us and ahead of us. If we are determined to only glance back for safety (to recall the lessons we learned when they are needed), we are open to continuing the grand adventure God has in store. It requires us to have the discipline to only feed thoughts that take us forward. 2 Corinthians 10:5

When we’re tempted to say, “I wish things could go back to the way they were”, I want to encourage us, instead, to say, “Because of what I’m going through, I’m looking for the meaning in this and looking forward to what lies ahead.” This isn’t a positive-thinking mantra. This is a faith statement that will lead to our hearts’ desires.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences. Write a comment…men and women invited!!! Also, be sure to subscribe to this blog and you’ll get updates when new posts come out.

Predictable schmedictable

I hate to be called “predictable”.

I much prefer to think of myself as the lady pictured above…slightly mysterious, always thinking, the kind of person who makes people laugh due to the quirky, unexpected things that spill out. Ah, my true inner self.

Of course, there is only so much unique discourse a ‘slightly mysterious’ person can have on hand at any given time. And when said person lives with a man who loves to be the first one to figure out how things work and is gifted at sifting through all possible outcomes to arrive at the most obvious one…well, let’s just say, it can be a trifle challenging to maintain the mystery. All it takes is that word—usually in a text conversation—to make me not want to talk to him for at least the rest of the day. In my mind, that text conversation looks something like…

 

This week, however, I got to see being predictable in a fresh way. That same husband texted me that he was “thinking” about doing something that was a bit uncomfortable and outside his comfort zone due to not knowing how it would be received. Here is a snippet of how I replied in that actual conversation:

 

I hadn’t thought of this before, but, yes—I want to be known for being “spiritually predictable”. When people approach me needing a safe place to explore the deeper/harder things in life, I want them to find consistency. (btw: My awesome husband immediately followed the prompting of the Holy Spirit and put into action what he’d been thinking.)

How can we become people of spiritual predictability?

  1. Choose a filter and live it. We must know who we’ll be before deep/hard stuff hits. When it falls on us, we don’t have the bandwidth to try to figure out how to be grace-filled because we’re in survival mode. To do minimal harm as we’re navigating difficult times, we need to have in mind the type of person for which we want to be known. Most likely we won’t feel like being that person in the moment, but if we’ve chosen a filter, it will guide us in saying things that fit that filter and quiet in us the things that don’t.
  2. Know who Jesus is. Speaking of spiritually predictable… Jesus never made a mistake, so the more we read and study how He handled the hard stuff, we can know the perfect way to deal with whatever life hands us. Daily Bible reading is off-season preparation for when we’re thrown into the game. It’s not something we “have to” do. For those who want to handle life with grace and style, it’s a gift.
  3. Ask God for strength to be spiritually predictable. On our own, we don’t have the required wisdom nor the strength to be this consistent. James 1:5-8 says:

    If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

What’s your filter? Do you want to be known as “spiritually predictable” or would you rather be blown and tossed by the wind when a storm hits?

I’m a work in progress in becoming as spiritually predictable as I’d like. However, as this is my chosen filter, I’m predicting that God will continue to give me the wisdom to live it out.

Mars—and other unsniffable thoughts

…I wonder what it smells like on Mars.

I’ve seen pictures of Mars, and, apparently, scientists have worked on ways to capture sounds from Mars. But short of me (a) hitching a ride to Mars and (b) developing the breathing system of a Martian, I’ll never know what it smells like on Mars.

In our day and age, we can transmit visual and audio representations of just about everything, but the technology that would allow smell to waft across a datascope is limited at best. To smell an object, we must be in the physical presence of it.

I was reading in Ephesians 5 this week and the idea of fragrance and presence tickled my senses.

…walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:2

Through blogs, newspapers, magazines, books, YouTube, podcasts, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and every other form of social media, people can send images and audio of who they perceive God to be. In the end, however, the only way to get the fullest sensual experience of God is to be in His presence. Only then can you “smell” the fragrant beauty of what He offers.

As I reflected on being in God’s presence during the week, two aspects bubbled up. First, as believers, we want to increasingly practice being in His presence. How do we do that? We do it by intentionally being aware that our God is in everything. It’s acknowledging Him first thing when we wake with something like, “Good morning, God, this is Your day. I am Your child – show me Your way.” Throughout the day, before we undertake anything, we ask Him for guidance—and I do mean ask Him about everything. Sound overwhelming?  Consider the alternative. You’d be doing those things in your own strength and wisdom instead of under the covering of your powerful and wise Father. Ever feel exhausted and/or depleted at the end of the day?  Oh.

The second facet of being in God’s presence circles back to the fragrance idea. When we’re hanging out with God throughout our day, we become an amazingly attractive representation of who God is to the people around us.  Just as the only way we can truly smell something is to physically be in its presence, the way we affect our world is a physical representation of God to those around us. We will either be attractive or we’ll be repellent. Check out this passage in 2 Corinthians:

I am grateful that God always makes it possible for Christ to lead us to victory. God also helps us spread the knowledge about Christ everywhere, and this knowledge is like the smell of perfume. 2 Corinthians 2:14

If we try to do things on our own (apart from God’s guidance) we can really stink and find ourselves in serious need of spiritual deodorant.  As we soak in God’s presence, however, we increasingly become more like Him by the way we look, act, talk…and “smell”.

What’s your favorite smell?  Mine would be the smell that emits from an oven baking up cookies, brownies, bread or any other kind of yumminess along those lines.  I’m praying that out of my time in God’s presence, my life-smell is as attracting and inviting as any sweet scent out there.

I Googled “What does it smell like on Mars?” In a nutshell, here’s what scientists think: It has a “slightly acrid, gassy smell of sulfur compounds, with a chalky, sweet overtone punching through.” THAT’S the type of smell folks who don’t spend time in God’s presence produce

How will you smell this week?

New Year’s Resolutions – I do not want to want to

I resolutely do not make New Year’s resolutions. I’m all about setting goals – it’s just that I seem to react when anyone tells me I “have” to do something on a certain day.  It’s like Valentine’s Day: 2 thumbs down from LMR—I can’t stand it.  DON’T tell me that February 14th is the day I must tell the people I love that I love them.  Look, if they don’t know it before and after Cupid Stupid Day, we have a problem. But I digress….

While making New Year’s resolutions is on my “uh uh” list, I relate to how this time of year causes us to pause and consider if we’re where we want to be in life. Every one of us has areas in which we’d like to improve. If only we could make the changes by simply thinking about them…

Yet, strangely, it’s the thinking about them that can be the first step to failure. We look at a change we need to make and thinking about how hard it’s going to be may be the very reason we never begin. The time, pain and sacrifice would be worth it, but we can sense the self-denial, smell the sweat and feel the fear of what it’s going to take more strongly than we can touch the victory that seems so distant.

Several years ago, I hit a wall in a relationship and it felt as though I was being crushed. As I considered the yawning future, my overarching thought was, “Oh well, this is my life.” Maybe I had an idea of what it would take to fix it, but the self-denial, sweat and fear seemed so overwhelmingly real that I couldn’t take even a small step toward right thinking/action. I remember lying in my bed one morning trying to come to grips with this sort of half-life that was to be my destiny. I was soaking in a smelly pot of, “Since this is the way it is, settle for becoming less than you are and very little of who God made you to be.”

Then I remembered, or—more accurately—was reminded by God of, one of the most powerful prayers I had ever heard. It was designed for situations like mine, but in my quagmire of despair, I had almost drowned instead of reaching toward its strength.  Here it is—the most powerful prayer I know when a person needs to make a big change:

Dear God: Please help me to want to want to fix this.  Amen.

On my bed, that’s what I prayed. Honestly, I didn’t think God could do anything with it. It wasn’t like I was “praying in faith” and doing a mighty work on my end to prove to God I was worthy of His help. All I could do in that simple prayer was acknowledge that I hoped there was some way this could get better while not really seeing how it was possible. At the end of the prayer, I still felt crushed.

Over the next few months, I kept that as my daily prayer, “God, please help me to want to want to…” There came a time when the prayer changed to, “Dear God, I actually want to fix this now…”  And then my prayer evolved to, “God, I thank You for how You’re working…I’m surprised, but you’re changing me and I’m grateful.” For me, the “fix” took 3 years, but I’ve never looked back. The self-denial, sweat and fear that had seemed like obstacles are now distant memories.  I still shake my head in wonder because I approached this “need to change” by bringing very little in the way of my ability to do anything about it.

Are you facing a challenge in taking steps to advance your career? Are you needing to get healthy physically, financially, relationally or spiritually? We think we need to massively clean up our stuff so God has enough room to do a mighty work in us. In truth, He only needs a tiny space to get started.

I have 3-4 big areas I want to “fix” in my life. I’m not resolving to get them accomplished, but I am being prayerful about wanting to want to and looking forward to how God leads.

…maybe I’ll knock them out as a Valentine’s Day gift to myself ?

 

 

How I Accidentally Screwed up an Accident

traffic-pick-up

This week I had a day when I would mostly be at home and writing. Upon waking, I prayed and put my day in front of the Lord.  My prayer was something along the lines of, “Good morning, Father. I won’t be around too many people today, so I’m not sure how I can be used to advance Your kingdom, but I am making myself available.”

After making my daughter’s lunch and donning my hobo gym clothes, we set off to make the seriously-who-was-in-charge-of-planning-this-infrastructure commute to her high school.

It’s our holy habit to pray together in the car at some point on the way to school. Some days, it flows easily. Other days, it’s awkward because tiredness, moodiness, irritation or some other scheme of Satan is impeding our desire to put our unholy selves in front of a holy God. But, we pray no matter what.

On this day, my daughter got in the car and clicked on some Christmas music. I thought, “Ho ho ho, we’ll pray when we get closer to school.”  Honestly, though, it was one of the awkward days. I hadn’t slept well the night before, and so for a few minutes on the did-they-seriously-not-understand-how-many-people-would-be-on-this-road crawl toward the school, I found myself thinking, “You know what?  I’m going to see if she says anything about praying. I won’t bring it up—let’s see if she does.”  I had just gotten my butt spanked from the Holy Spirit with a seriously-who-is-the-parent-here and knew I would lead her in prayer in a minute when…BAM!  We got rear ended in the conga line.

Sigh. I pulled into the turn lane and the offending vehicle followed. As I stepped out, a frazzled, disheveled, not too well put together girl in her 20’s stepped forward with the excuse of “Hey – sorry – it’s wet out” tripping off her tongue. Ummm…we’re basically sitting still; hydroplaning shouldn’t be an issue, but thank you for taking my sleep-deprived self to DEFCON 3. Appreciate ya.

In looking at my bumper, really nothing had happened, but I asked for her insurance info just in case. To which she replied, “I ain’t got any insurance.” Wellllll of course you don’t. Always mindful that as a Christian I don’t have the luxury of saying everything that comes to mind (#selfcontrol), I held my tongue and let my face do the talking. She was squirming with discomfort and, I’m sure, fear. I quickly relented and told her it was fine and we’d just move on. She thanked me, shook my hand and let me know I should have a good day.

Back in the car, I maintained self-control and didn’t share my inmost ugly with my sweet girl. We rejoined the putt-putt line and carried on—with prayer time included.

Now, for how I accidentally screwed up an accident. Remember how I told God less than an hour before this incident that I wasn’t going to be around too many people this day but to use me however…? HELLO! Ba-BAM—the young woman who bumped me; I missed an opportunity. Had I been fully dialed into the Holy Spirit, rather than mean-mug her with my face, my mouth would’ve said, “You know what? I know you didn’t do this on purpose. Be more careful, though. And hey, in the same way God has grace for me when I screw up, I hope you can feel some grace from me.  And—do you have a place you go to church—because if not, come hang with me at mine this weekend.”

While I know most of us would say, “Oh yeah, right.  Like that’s how people respond to accidents”, here’s the thing: The situation happened. I had the opportunity to potentially make a kingdom-difference in that moment, but because I was focused on stuff and how she had interrupted my life, I missed it. I’m embarrassed to say I missed it, but I hope to find some redemptive value in this story by sharing it.

There will be constant interference with our busy plans. In the grandest way, Jesus came and interrupted history with His humble arrival in a manger. Even more, most of Jesus’ ministry happened when people inserted themselves into His day. This Christmas, as a reflection of the most divine interruption to ever grace our history, my prayer is that you, and especially I, may see disruptions as divine possibilities.