Bravery: the story of a yucky old bar cart.

When it comes to creating, I am the farthest thing from a perfectionist. My older sister, Sarah, is very precise.  She will read up, measure, do the math etc. I more of a wing-it kind of gal.

Real talk:

I tried my hand at gardening last summer too. I (accidently) bought 12 foot tall sunflower seeds. Believe it or not, they don’t grow well in tiny terracotta pots. And your soil needs to be more than a few inches deep in order to grow a head of lettuce. Haha. Stupid.

I also started sewing this year. Whenever I wear something that I’ve sewn, you’ll know it because it’ll be covered by a denim jacket and lots of jewelry. Sleeves and necklines are hard!

I built the raised garden bed earlier this Spring, and while the plants are growing well, the wooden bottom is bowing out a little. So maybe by next year I’ll have both gardening and building skills. That would be a miracle.

These thoughts are going somewhere. I think we avoid doing things because our results  won’t be perfect. I’m currently reading an inspiring book called “The Nesting Place,” which really beautifully discusses what it looks like to make a home. I think everyone wants to create a home that welcomes people, cultivates authenticity and relationships, and allows for mistakes.  But if we don’t allow ourselves to get messy in the process of homemaking, how can we expect the people we welcome into our homes to be vulnerable and authentic. Does that make sense? haha.

I’m just thinking back to last week when I was at my parents house. I bought this disgusting, dog hair covered bar cart. It was incredibly rusty and an awful olive green. My parents very lovingly let me rampage the home and yard with a sander, priming supplies, and spray paint. If you have ever been to my parents, you know that we’re not about keeping things free from dust. We’re about dissecting frogs at the kitchen table, while conversing with the person making omelets. We’re about walking to the chicken coop together, to round them up. We’re about long conversations around the campfire, and lazy days laying out in the sun. I’m so thankful that my parents created a home that allows for mistakes, and messes, and tears, and weird stories.

Being really excited to paint the bar cart. Probably because of the fumes. Also I had smurf feet for days later.

Being really excited to paint the bar cart. Probably because of the fumes. Also I had smurf feet for days later.

Before and after. Pretty neat, huh?

 

In her book, “Bread and Wine,” author Shauna Niequest wrote: “What people are craving isn’t perfection. People aren’t longing to be impressed; they’re longing to feel like they’re home. If you create a space full of love and character and creativity and soul, they’ll take off their shoes and curl up with gratitude and rest, no matter how small, no matter how undone, no matter how odd.”

Serving its function as a bedside table. Thanks Dana for the awesome quilted placemat!

Serving its function as a bedside table. Thanks Dana for the awesome quilted placemat!

Let’s not be perfect. Let’s be authentic and present. Let’s make messes and memories. Let’s be brave and create space for mistakes. Let’s buy the $10.00 bar cart and spray paint it bright blue.

 

Love always,

Rachel

the inbetweens.

So it’s 10:00 on Monday night, and it’s warm enough that i’m sitting on my back porch with a fleece blanket wrapped around me. I’ve got an almost empty mason jar of pomegranate sweet tea next to me. And the light of my laptop screen is perfectly bright. It’s June. I moved to Madison in August. That means this place has been my home for almost a year. Two years ago I never would have dreamed of being a single, far-from home, doctoral student (what about my child bearing years?!). And to be honest, I don’t know why God has led me here. I don’t know what i’ll do with my degree when (if) I finish. I know that I absolutely love being able to love on the students that he has placed in my life. I love learning the things that i’m learning. I have peace that for the time being, this is what i’m supposed to be doing. But, Lord, What am I doing?

I do love Madison. I love the farmers market, and the quirky coffee shops. I love the lakes, and my church, and the old pubs. But I think the honeymoon phase of new living is fading. I think the season of digging my heels in, and being here by choice, and being a grownup has arrived. I wouldn’t say that i’m homesick. But I would say, Lord, what am I doing here?

The thought of me being a professor is laughable, to me at least. I kind of assumed that I would marry young, go move to Africa, and have a bunch of kids. Or something along those lines. I’m not entirely sure how I stumbled into this five year commitment on an isthmus surrounded by corn fields. But I know he is sovereign.

Isn’t so much of life the in between? I think there’s this lie that: once I figure out my college major, once I graduate, once I get married, or once I have kids, THEN, it’ll all make sense. I’m going to put money on that not ever being the case. I have experienced seasons of total peace with where life is at, but they’re brief.

So if my life is going to be a string of in betweens, then I logically have two responses: to chomp at the bit, or to have peace. Hindsight is the easiest thing. I can think of dozens of scenarios where everything fell into place, when I truly didn’t think it could. But this time, it’s different, I tell myself. I need funding, where is it coming from? I’m not getting any younger here! Is the best use of my time really 11 hours away from my family? Lord, are we sure that you’re using me when my nose is tucked in journal articles for most of the day? Is this really where you want me?

Jesus, the truth is that you are faithful. You have been faithful, and you will be faithful.  So tonight, i’ll shut my laptop, and go to sleep, and none of those questions will yet be answered. But Jesus, all that I ask is, whatever you have for me, don’t let me miss it. You know that when degrees, and careers, and kids, and families, and picket fences, are all put aside, I just want to be a part of Your story. I just don’t want to miss a single second of the unveiling of Your great story. I want to be right in the middle of where you are. If it’s lonely and sad, I want to be there. If it’s dirt-under-the-fingernails, I want to be there. If it’s laughter and celebration, I want to be there. Jesus, wherever I am, whoever I’m with, whatever I’m doing, let my life be a part of Your story.