Autumn is well on the way. The temperature drops slightly, leaves are starting to change, there’s a crispness in the air. Evenings are calling me out of the house with big sweaters, leggings, and chunky scarves. I have to admit this is my favorite season of all. It’s absolutely beautiful when all things green start changing into rustic colors. The greenness of summer is starting to age.
It’s hard for my carpet to see daylight most days. With the weather change comes a wardrobe change and I wasn’t blessed with a love for organization. With my birthday in a month, which it’s moving me closer to 30 and more away from 20, I would have thought that I would have grown out of this. I like to consider my room like a museum- Everything is on display. Somewhere within the organized chaos , I know how to function. My dark wash is still sitting in the laundry basket in need of folding. Among the clothes is the navy blue V-neck soft cotton tee that I have permanently borrowed and don’t plan on returning.
It’s the same shirt I tend to sleep in sometimes and wear out to the coffee shops with my ripped Levi’s.- yes I have shared this with you before. There is comfort in this. As I stand there and order a hazelnut latte, I glance down and think to myself, my jeans have a story. My shirt is a story. My jeans were given to me from a friend who can’t wear them anymore but couldn’t lose them to a charity shop, so I get the privilege of wearing them in. And the shirt is a sweet thing to me. Because no one knows the story, the details in the fabric. It represents confusion, laughter, life in two different countries and how two paths merged. Hurt, grace, pain, frustration, and love. I can stand there and wear all those things at once and not feel like a complete and utterly confused mess. Even when different emotions and memories are intersecting with each other from all different directions. Somehow I can wear what I often cannot articulate.
I am a walking story that is being told. I’m bearing all to everyone who comes into my path and yet still remain anonymous. Laundry covers the floor, clothes are the covering to the experience, facades are coverings to real and true emotion and thought, and skin is a covering to vital organs that keep our blood pumping and breath in our lungs. We are all wearing coverings.
Some our forced onto us because that is how the human body is made. Other coverings we choose for ourselves. Sometimes we wear coverings to protect ourselves from the damage of the past. Sometimes the facades are easier because it’s hard to communicate where we are really at knowing that others might not understand. Sometimes behind the clothes we wear lies a great memory, sometimes behind the smile we give there is a deep sadness that has settled in and won’t go away, and behind the very skin we are in exists broken, bruised and mended hearts.
We bring who we are into each moment.
And then the truth smacks me straight in the face like being woken up by a wet towel early in the morning.
Everyone walking around has a story. And God is the author of the biggest story of all. And He doesn’t reveal Himself in three point sermons, He reveals himself through story. Why? because we respond to stories. Humans connect with them.
There is so much I don’t know and can easily assume about others. About their stories and where they are at. I will never know what lies underneath if I don’t engage. I can misjudge, misread, assume when I really know nothing. I need to be listening to others, I need to really be hearing people. I want to hear what they are really saying even when words are not present. I need to not judge but to love. I need to be fully engaged with others and not thinking about the next thing I can respond with.
I wonder if more people would come to know the love of the Father if we really had a genuine desire to listen to others. And not to fix. If we just sat with others, if we could just be fully present to others. And I lived every conversation with such a dependence on the Spirit to bring change. We get this wrong more often then not. I get this wrong more times than I can count. I feel the weight of conviction. Sometimes just being with people can save a life and help restore a broken soul.
“Christ loved the world and He died in our place and the world looks around and says but where is your Christ? Where is the Christ in Christians? Is the world angry because they so want the love of Christ but the Christians who say Christ lives in them don’t act anything like Christ?”- AV
“The only thing that fixes someone is loving them unconditionally when they’re broken.” -Tullian
Jesus sees into the very depths of people. He sees the heart. He sees all the coverings but He knows and sees the heart of individuals. And he loves them. He loves us. He loves me. And His love challenges the stuff that is so buried deep inside because His love is relentless. God doesn’t back down. God is pursuing us. His love is what brings the indelible change. His grace brings change. He desires for us to know Him but he also wants us to be known by Him and then choose to live for Him.
The bloodshed on the cross is our covering. His blood poured out to rescue us. That is the covering I want to embrace and yield myself to. That is the only covering I want to wear. And not anonymously but loud, bold, and unashamed.