My kids have a sticker wall. It is on the inside of a kitchen cabinet where we keep some of their toys, coloring books, Play-Doh, and other random stuff.
Their sticker wall is wacky. It has Disney princesses. Lightning McQueen. Mod Pizza. Basecamp. Slack. Sharks. Wait, what?
It’s totally bonkers. But I love it! It is a place where we allow our kids to just be themselves. It is messy. It doesn’t make sense. But it is fun seeing them slap a ton of random stickers up.
In a weird way it is a beautiful reflection of what it means to be them. They have no idea what Slack is. Or Basecamp. I think they know Mod Pizza because we go there lots and they love it. But still, they love having the wall that is loaded with all kinds of crazy stickers.
There is beauty in their mess.
I don’t think most of us approach life this way. Especially in the Church. We often don’t allow each other the grace to be who we are in the midst of our sin, struggle, and pain. We want to clean each other up.
“Oh wait! That sticker is out of place!”
“You can’t have the Elsa sticker next to Basecamp. They don’t go together!”
“Is that shark going to eat Mater?”
I’m not arguing that we should give people license to sin or eschew holiness. Not at all. But we need to meet people where they are and realize that not everything falls into neat lines and categories.
Losing our son has blown up the sense of safety that I had being a Christian. My wife and I have been through some difficult times in our marriage before we lost our son. But losing Quinlan broke something loose inside me. God is no longer safe to me. He is wild. I don’t know what to expect from life anymore. I don’t know what tomorrow will hold.
My life feels like a random sticker wall. There are moments when I laugh so hard with my kids that I’m in tears. There are other times where I feel totally numb and angry. There are times when I’m absolutely pissed off at God for allowing our son to die. There are times when worship songs draw me into the presence of God and remind of His beauty and holiness. Most other times the thought of listening to praise music makes me cringe inside.
Life is messy. It really is. If that doesn’t resonate with you or you don’t agree with me then wait a little while. It will.
But… it is OK. It is OK to have your life look more like a sticker wall than a gridded sticker chart will little gold stars all arranged nice and tidy. There is beauty in the mess.
Read the Scriptures. God repeatedly spoke to and worked through people whose lives were a mess. Think about Abraham. He did trust God but he did a lot of jacked up things to his wife. He wasn’t a good husband. His family tree is riddled with sin and depravity. But God was with him.
In the end, that is all we really need. God with us. Immanuel. Jesus. In the midst of our messy lives.
So the next time you resonate with something broken you see in this life, think of my kids’ sticker wall. Make a sticker wall of your own. Embrace the mess. There is beauty in allowing God to step into your messy world and seeing where He will take you.