I don’t know why, but this picture reminds me of the movie Hope Floats.
You know the scene where Birdee realizes her daughter, Bernice, has forgotten her lunch and proceeds to walk to her school in a nightgown and coat without having showered or looked in a mirror in a lot of days?
When that movie first premiered in 1998, I was in high school. I loved it, loved the redemption of it all, loved the love story, loved the mother-daughter relationships portrayed, loved the daddy-daughter relationships, too. But do you know what I didn’t know to appreciate then? The powerful portrayal of a woman who has been swallowed up by the life she always thought she wanted only to have it ripped from her hands. I didn’t know then how desperate it can make a person feel to watch their dreams shatter.
I know that scene because I have lived it – not the exact same circumstances or exact same scenarios, but I know what it is to symbolically (and sometimes literally) wander around un-showered, in your bathrobe, still trying to take care of all of the things and all of the people…and know that it’s not enough. I know what it is to have thought that your significance rested in all your dreams coming true, in what people think about you, in your ability to shine and sparkle. I know what it is to just keep walking because it’s all come tumbling down, and you don’t really know what else to do.
But do you remember what happens next? Do you know where she finds herself? At the nursing home where her daddy is living. He has Alzhiemer’s and cannot remember her – even so, in his arms is where she knows she needs to be. They dance, and she rests – her brokenness is safe with him.
Sis, do you struggle to believe that God, your Father, adores you? Gosh, I used to live that truth like it was breath in my lungs. I still know it in my head, but I can tell that it doesn’t quite filter to my heart at the moment. I used to stumble awkwardly but confidently into His arms because I trusted Him – and the way He made me, the fact that He has already proven His love for me – so completely that I freely went to Him in the middle of my ugliest days and relished the comfort and strength He gives. In some ways, talking about that, feels awkward and embarrassing – like I’m reliving middle school or something.
Does that make any sense at all?
The thing is, though, that God’s Word tells me that it is this very child-like faith that keeps me in a good, growing relationship with Him – that allows me to experience His abundance. He champions it; He does not pat it on the head and recommend that it grow up a bit.
So, I’m working on finding my way back to that child-like faith and rest. And by working I mean sitting and asking God to help me live like I believe again that He truly adores me – and that’s where my value is found. I hope that in saying out loud where God is transforming me, you will find courage to do the same.
Aside:: I want to be very careful here to hold onto the absolute holiness of God while also clinging to His generous, intoxicating love. I do believe there is room for both but if I’m being honest, I haven’t quite nailed down the specifics of living it out. Maybe I won’t until this life is over – and I think I’m okay with that.
Listen, we were not meant to live as shells of ourselves wandering around in our bathrobes, of that I am sure. But can I just extend this grace to you? It’s okay if that’s where you’re at right now. In fact, I would say that right here at the bottom of the pit is where you will find the love of God to be thick, palpable, and utterly enough. I would additionally say that the love of God is where you will find the strength and peace and rest to become exactly who He created you to be.
Let me prepare you, though, that from what I can see in God’s Word and my own experience, who you are meant to be might look very weak and dingy from your own perspective – at least at first. I know. Sorry. BUT the good news is, God sees you through the perfect sparkle and shine of Jesus. He is smitten with you just as you are – His smitten-ness is what gives you shine. And as you continue to hold close to Him, He will help you believe this about yourself, too. The goal is for you – for us – to live like the version of Birdie at the end of the movie, free and content and honest and lovely.
Friend, THIS IS UPSIDE DOWN ABUNDANCE – because as you just keep running to Jesus in your bathrobe, He begins shifting your focus, breaking your chains, and healing your wounds. He does the work of transformation as long as you keep leaning on Him with dirty hair and open hands.