The night before my much-needed beach weekend with my friend, Kymberlee, I went to my superstar hairdresser, Ericka. She painted in my "beach highlights" and straightened my hair flat as a surfboard. I looked good! The next morning I slid on an orange gauzy shirt and flowing kimono, and we headed for the airport. A few short hours later we landed in paradise.
We "Wazed" our way to the condo, unloaded the car, and thought we would go for a little car ride to check out the area. Oh yeah, and we were starving. I popped into the potty before we left and that's when it happened; I looked in the mirror. BAD IDEA! My hair! My beautiful hair! The Florida humidity had somehow transplanted the curly fur of a sweaty poodle on my head!
As vain as it sounds, I was bummed. I was tempted to whip out my flat iron and wrestle my hair into submission, but I thought, what the heck- who knows me down here anyway. The truth is my real hair has curl. They aren't the pretty curls, but they're mine. And they're messy.
I've been thinking about real and messy lately. Too often we try to wrestle our mess into submission when our real, raw authenticity is what God desires to use to reach others. Sometimes we try to hide our imperfections. Sometimes we don't share the struggle with others while we wait for total healing. But what if people who are lost and desperate for God need to see the struggle? What if they need to feel the wounds?
Thomas needed to see and touch the wounds of Christ to believe.
John 20:24-29 New International Version (NIV) Jesus Appears to Thomas
Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
When I read this passage awhile back I was struck by the word "into" in this passage. (eis in Greek) Jesus let Thomas reach INSIDE his wound. That means it wasn't completely healed, right? Just a thought, but Thomas stopped doubting and believed.
(Now just in case I need a disclaimer here it does take wisdom and discernment to know when to share.)
Bart Millard of "Mercy Me" recently shared the painful story behind the song, "I Can Only Imagine" in a movie by the same name. As I watched the REAL story unfold I was captured by the pain, heartbreak, disappointment, and abandonment. I could feel the mess and I knew it was real. Bart put his wounds on display, It's almost as if he said, "Reach inside and touch my wounds. Don't doubt! Believe in God's redemptive power!"
Sometimes before we have a testimony, we have a messimony; the real, messy struggle while God is still working. Don't try to straighten it out first. Honest wrestlings are powerful tools in the hands of the Holy Spirit.
So who needs to hear your MESSIMONY?