When You Can’t Hide Your Mess


You know that paralyzing fear or the nagging feeling that you’ve forgotten something really important? That nightmare that maybe you won’t show up for something…that you will drop the ball on an essential responsibility?

Well…it happened to me.

It seems I’ve been stumbling into the next thing for several years now. Overwhelmed and very stretched. And by stumbling, I mean quite literally…stumbling.

This week, I forgot about a hospital training I was leading for birth professionals. Forgot. Completely. Until my calendar notification alerted me. One hour before a scheduled event that’s one hour away from me. Imagine your brain malfunctioning to that point. Imagine realizing you’re supposed to pack for and lead a presentation in front of professionals and there’s absolutely no way you can make it on time.

I’ve been juggling more than I can carry for awhile. And usually I can hide my inadequacy. There was no hiding this.
And do you know what happened? I called to say I would be 30 minutes late, apologized profusely…they extended grace. Prayed all the way there.

God did what he always does. He made me more than I am. The presentations were so well received. No matter that I led them disheveled and unshowered, and miserably late. No matter. And I realized something…
Something I preach. Something I don’t always know. Our performance is nothing compared with His glory and grace.

I laid down some things I’ve been holding that day. It happens that way, when you’re stripped…when your mess is revealed for all to see. When you have no facade left to hide behind. I’ve been so tired and weary…shutting down.

He whispered, “Even if you never stood in front of another audience with this message again, never took another hospital call in the wee hours…if you walked away right now…you will be loved and valued as my daughter no less. You are Mine, not because of what you do or how well you do it. I could not love your broken, beautiful self more than I already do. Lay it down. Surrender. It isn’t yours to carry. My purposes will prevail regardless of what you do.”

I’ve heard it before…but this time…I heard it in my deepest depths. No matter what, I’m His.

Don’t be concerned, I have no plans to quit or walk away. We are making some adjustments to make my schedule a little less daunting and organizing some checks and balances to prevent me from missing important events. Like the Marines, our God is good at allowing us to be stripped and humbled so he can lift our heads and build us up again. Stronger. Funny though…His ways…because His strength shines in our weakness.

When I lamented to Mr. Gerken, a hard-working, exhausted busy man in his own right…I expected him to say, “You need to slow down. You’re doing too much.” To view my debacle as a cry for help.

Instead, he gave me a firm “cowboy up and do the next thing” response. A loving…press on. After all…growth is the goal, right?

Please, if you’re lost in the weary…tired of the measuring….if you’re such a hot mess, you wonder how you will ever keep going…know this…

You are beautiful in your broken. You don’t have to be enough…because, He is. You don’t have to measure up…break that stupid stick in half and set yourselves free. And…if you’ve ever compared yourself to the girl in your newsfeed or next to you on the bleachers or the one on a cover of some book…stop. She is just as broken and messy as you. Maybe even more so.


  1. Heather Butler says:

    Kelly, these words are so powerful. Oh, to be unconditionally loved by Jesus. To have our imperfections embraced by a perfect God. Surrender. Thank you for sharing.

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