Messy Lives Still Have Love

Originally published Tuesday, 14 February 2012.

If you are familiar with the South, you understand that being a “mess” is pretty much a staple for everything.

If you’re funny, you’re a mess.

If you’re happy, you’re a mess.

If you’re sad, you’re a mess.

If you’re frazzled, you’re a mess.

If you’re dirty, you’re a mess.

I can’t tell you how many times I have said, “Girlfriend is a mess…” and it has meant five different things.

Southerners, do I tell it or what?

But [on a more serious note] one of the things I have come to uncover about life [southern or not] is: broken lives are messy.

Today is Valentine’s Day. A day supposed to be filled with moments to make our hearts full and whole. But for a few moments ... I need to look past the Hallmark commercial atmosphere, past the pretty flowers and past the chocolate.

I’m looking deep in my soul.

Life has left some messy things in there: disappointment, fear, hurt and struggles. The fact is, I get caught up in the same messes you do, and understanding God’s love is often difficult in my messy life.

But recently, God’s been showing me how much we can really grasp His love … in the mess.

I saw a beautiful picture of this in the Bible, through the book of Ruth...

Ruth falls in love. Marries boy. He dies. She’s left with the MIL [Naomi]. Naomi’s other son dies. Ruth sticks around. The end. [Or not…]

Tucked away in Chapter 2 is a powerful message of hope.

Ruth and Naomi were trying to settle into their new lives as a widow and childless woman. It was tough. They were hurting, poor and afraid of the future.

But in their little community, it was a time of harvesting the fields. The owner of the fields, Boaz, allowed the poor people to come behind the workers and pick up whatever leftover grains they could find. The fields were scarce though and there were many gleaners.

Still, Ruth asked permission to go up behind everyone and she eagerly did so when approved.

“So she went out and began to glean in the fields behind the harvesters.” -Ruth 2:3

As Ruth was picking up the leftovers of the harvesters, she found great favor in the eyes of Boaz. Long story short, Ruth ends up becoming his wife. It’s her own Cinderella story.

The truth-filled message in this is: Ruth found the blessings, in the leftovers … in the mess.

And for some, I know this Valentine’s Day doesn’t seem to bring a lot of love. Relationships have been broken, money is tight, bad choices are made, and hearts are sad.

The truth is, some sweet southern woman needs to look you in the eyes and say, “Honey, you are a mess.”

But what if this Valentine’s Day, God’s asking us to look at our mess and find the blessing of His love?

Messy lives leave broken pieces, but there is hope in those pieces. Maybe we just need to bend down, pick up our pieces … our leftovers … and find God’s love?

Because if Jesus will love me through all my mess, He will love you through all your mess too.

God found favor on a desperate woman, in a field, picking up little pieces of leftover grains. If He would find favor on Ruth … He will also on us, as we come through our own fields, picking up what is left.

We can take up those seeds of hope and begin harvesting them in God’s love.  

I don’t know what God will do with our leftovers. But I know this … He wants to take our crumbs and do more with them than we could ever believe.

So this Valentine’s Day, whether you feel like it or not … your harvest is full of God’s love. It may look like a big mess right now, but He is in the mess.

He is breathing favor on your direction.

He has the answer within your reach.

He is your breakthrough.

He is more than enough reason to believe … His love is found in our mess.