Who knew God would choose THAT moment? You know. The one that causes twitching, and gagging just a little. That shaming dark moment revealing you at your worst. The Please-God-make-it-stop memory. The one you aren’t proud of. AT ALL.
I admitted mine to a room full of people. Like from a stage. At a church. Where we’re supposed to somehow have it more together once we find Jesus. Especially when you’re the pastor’s wife. But there I stood, sharing my ugliest place in life so far. And it wasn’t in the past, pre-Jesus. It was like right now. WITH Jesus.
At the time, I just wanted to be honest with who I truly was. I didn’t want to hide anymore. I wanted healing. And so I told them how I did time in the mental hospital and all the messy reasons that landed me there.
Several years later, I’m talking with a friend who was there that night. A friend whom I admire and I confess, am seriously jealous of. A friend with rock star music skills that God didn’t give to this white girl.
And he says this:
"Jodi, remember that night you got up and talked about the mental hospital and all of your struggles, how you experienced real church in that place because you could be honest there? I grew up a pastor’s kid, and we couldn’t be honest with people, couldn’t tell them what was really going on with us when it was ugly. My mom, she's a pastor’s wife like you, and she struggled, but she couldn’t talk about it. But your talk. It inspired me. I wanted to be honest about my life like that. So I went home and told my mom all that was going on with me, fully expecting her to kick me out of the house as I confessed all my junk. But she didn’t. She just held me, and we cried together. It changed our relationship, it healed me… now, when I travel doing my music, I tell this story."
Gulp. My eyes start to leak. Are you kidding me? THAT moment? Not all the moments I worked so hard to look good and be good and do all the right things for Jesus? Those “shiny moments” the world celebrates where I’m clean and sparkly and on my best behavior? The ones I ASSUME portray You most, God? Like that moment I hit that super high note and the harmonies were heavenly? Nope. None of those.
I wipe tears. My friend hugs me. Tells me he’ll see me around. I go home … changed.
“If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us.” -2 Corinthians 4:7 (MSG)
“You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world…shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” -Matthew 5:14-16 (MSG)
I’ve spent so much time trying to be someone I’m not. So much time worrying about being a better version of myself “someday” or maybe just someone different altogether— like an ethnic islander version with mad vocal skills— that I actually miss opportunities to “prompt people to open up to God,” to shine Christ’s love through those ordinary and often broken places of my life RIGHT NOW.
I miss chances to be honest. Chances to be real. Chances to connect with other broken pots.
Have I ever lived free as the masterpiece God created me to be (Ephesians 2:10), flaws and all? Instead, I’m busy editing and critiquing that masterpiece. And missing moments, like this, to let Christ shine.
Imagine a world where we didn’t worry about what we’re NOT. Imagine a world where we lived just as we ARE, right now. In process. Free to shine Christ out of our broken clay pot. Yes. Christ shines most through our broken places. Especially through the broken places. Because it’s in our darkest moments, Christ shines brightest.
How will you shine today? Bringing out the God-colors in this world in ways that only YOU can?