I was so excited to be a guest on See Hear Love this week.

This show was actually five years in the making, which is when I first met Melinda.

I had been a long time mommy blogger who had disappeared during my divorce. I decided to start blogging again shortly after Melinda had bravely told her story of divorce on TV. I figured if she was brave enough to tell her story, I could tell mine. One of my readers was a friend of Melinda’s and she connected us but in spite of trading several emails we never met.

Flash forward six months. I’d just moved to a new place and had just experienced an act of dating violence. There is something particularly terrible about having something awful happen to you when you are in a new place, and have yet to establish new ties. The only person I knew in town was Melinda and so I reached out once again.

She met with me that night at a restaurant and we broke bread and she prayed with me.

 She gave me this verse in Isaiah 41:10:

So do not fear, for I am with you;

do not be dismayed, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you

and help you;

I will uphold you

with my righteous right hand.

Is this not the very definition of God in the mess of life? It’s Melinda, sitting with me when I felt particularly broken. It’s my family, who is always there for me no matter what. It’s this verse, showing how God is with us in our brokenness. It is He who gives us strength and upholds us.

And I love to conclude my story now and say and then everything ended happily ever after.

But it did not. Because life is hard. And for every up, there are many downs.

There are times when God feels really quiet. And when you are newer in your faith journey, this seems strange.

There are a lot of alternate practices promising instant bliss. Wellness movements and happiness  practices promise easy answers. I was rather more tempted to the promise of Nirvana or self-fulfillment than the experiences of Job. I felt myself being drawn in by these distractions and away from the church that – let’s face it – is often far from perfect.

But there was still this part of me that felt hollow. As philosopher Blaise Pascal writes: “the infinite abyss can only be filled by an infinite and immutable object; that is to say, only by God Himself.”

And so I started on the path that always shows me the way – reading. I read this lovely passage in  Glennon Doyle Melton’s Carry On Warrior, that describes her often rocky faith journey:

“I like to compare God’s love to the sunrise. The sun shows up every morning, no matter how bad you’ve been the night before. It shines without judgment. It never withholds. …You can stay in the dark for years or decades, and when you finally step outside, it´ll be there.”

Something struck a chord. God was always there, like the sun. He’s not shouting or throwing fireballs or riding in on a white horse like I might like, but here’s there. 

He was there when a small voice told me to reach out to Melinda.

He was there when I felt compelled to make a real estate choice that led me to the man I’d later marry.

He’s was there in the love of my family who is always there for me no matter what.

He’s was there in Isaiah 41:10 promising to uphold us in our brokenness.

And He was there incarnate in Jesus, on the cross, showing us that all suffering will be overcome.

It’s not God in spite of the mess. It’s God in the middle of the mess – God because of the mess –  upholding us with his righteous right hand and shining on us like the sun, if only we dare step out into it.