Tonight’s final addition to Summer Rewind was actually my first official WordPress post, but it’s still one of my favorites. Plus, I’ve been writing a post called, “The Warrior and the Bear” on body image issues and a salty cuss word flowed out of me as I thought about the shame I felt of not being the perfect size. I almost deleted it, but then remembered this post and how Jesus desires us to come authentically, even and maybe especially if our language is peppered with “salty” words or colorful invectives. I’ll be back with new material soon, Loves.
Lately, I’ve been cussing in my prayer times. At first, I was so shocked when a slightly blue, salty word slipped from my lips. How doth I utter such expletive in the presence of the Most High. I shall pay the iron price for my insolence! And like a good girl I apologized, felt horrible for letting an unclean word pollute the air of my prayer closet, and promised to process my anguish a little nicer, a little cleaner, a little more polite…poetic even…I’ll Psalm it up for God and use soft words to communicate hard times.
Because, you know, he can’t handle me cussing, right? Right.
But then, things got harder. The house is feeling smaller as these children are getting bigger. Our anticipated move date is pushed back even more—funds and opportunities are scarce. We can’t have our launch team over (too messy, too small, too lacking in overall Martha-ness) therefore I’m dropping the ball as a happy-homemaker-pastor’s-wife. My son may have a learning disability and until it’s confirmed—I’m impotent to help. Our van sucked a huge portion of our vacation budget and… I’ve gone up a size in jeans.
All in the span of one month (I blame that last one of the copious amounts of chocolate I’ve been eating. A replacement mechanism for not cussing, I bet).
I sat in the aftermath of all this more confused than ever. To be honest, I was tired of platitudes. You know what God— you’re not looking so good right now. If you’re good all the time, then explain to me how right now everything is SO not good.
I was tired of played out Scriptures, “all things work together for the good?” well, why these things? I get the house. I get the kids. I even get the van (that’s what being a full-on vehicle owning adult is about). But… for the love of all that’s good and GAP, why the jeans, Lord? Why the jeans?
Bent over with a Bible in my lap and worship music playing in my iPod, the only thing I could think of is how crappy I felt. How tired I was of being tired, how the joy of the Lord that’s suppose to be my strength is a joke, they should call it the joke of the Lord! Then the tears that just pricked my eyes weeks ago when I uttered the grandpappy of cuss words before the Creator of the Universe, full-on welled up and trickled down my face, splashing dots of despair on the only pair of jeans left that fit me.
Where are you, Lord? Really? WTF?*
And I waited. For the conviction that I feel when I tell a “little” white lie or the shame I’m accustomed to when I let a chance to encourage my friend pass me by.
The air didn’t feel dirtier nor did the connection to God feel severed.
Something odd and almost subversive happened; when honest words escaped an honest mouth an honest breakthrough occurred. As that phrase found it’s way out my subconscious and before the Lord, I felt… better. Known. Cleaner, even.
It’s as if Jesus was waiting. He was waiting for me give up being so polite and get real with him. Knowing all this was going to hit the fan at the same time, he waited for me to stop fronting and get salty. He knew I had it within me—and it didn’t scare him one bit. He waited for me to get angry and wild and honest and real. He wanted me to get down to the very epicenter of my pain and let it explode out of me with force and frankness and a few “fudges”.
It’s in the ugly cries and nasty words that our Beautiful Healer met me.
So I’ve been cussing when I pray. Not gratuitously. A smattering here or there, really. Honestly hard words for honestly hard circumstances. And I don’t feel bad about it. I don’t feel bad because this is what I’m convinced of—Jesus wants to know me. All of me. All moved-to-a-new-size-of-jeans me. All cost-of-a throttle-body-for-my-minivan-poorer me. All lives-in-a house-too-small-for-my-sanity me.
All salty prayer warrior me.
All of me.
Just as I am.
Maybe if I start rivaling sailors for new, inventive ways to cuss, he’ll reign me in, but for now peace comes when I wage war on my circumstance with a pointed word and a sharp prayer. This is me coming to know and be known. This is just as I am.
The first time I heard “Just As I Am”, I was a Pentecostal tween at youth camp. The last night of camp we’d sit by the fire and the cute boy counselors (whose names were at the top of our “future husband” lists ) would strum the chords of that ancient hymn while the heat from the fire slightly singed the hairs on our not yet shaved legs. Quiet sniffles (either from pain or conviction, we’ll never know) intermingled with the cracking of the fire as we all thought of our deepest, darkest, nastiest sins. “just as I am, without one plea, O Lamb of God I come to thee” many of us would sing throwing our friendship bracelet laden arms high in the air committing our lives to the Lamb.
But what if, coming just as I am means more than being aware that I’m a sinner, but coming real, honest, hard words for hard times, and wild? Can I still come just as I am?
I think so. I know so.
I know the Lamb of God shed his blood for me, for one reason—relationship. Authentic barrier-broken relationship. Past platitudes and polite pleasantries. To the place where calling a spade a spade and asking WTF doesn’t offend but invites: to come, come, come bring Your love unknown and know me—just as I am. Angry, hard, salty, and in need. I come.
Just as I am…I come.
And I’m reminded of a line we sang while I rubbed by newly camp fired “Naired” legs…
Just as I am, Thy love unknown
Hath broken every barrier down;
Now, to be Thine, yea, Thine alone,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
So I come. I come salty that things are not the way I want them to be, but seasoned enough to know that our Lord is omni-resourceful to make something good from all the bad that’s happening (even if that Scripture doesn’t fully help, it’s no less truer).
I come. All of me, just as I am. Salted words and salty tears. I come and take my place as a salty prayer warrior.
****Note about the cussing*****:
*you can imagine I thought “fudge” if that’s helpful for you
I’m leaving the comments open to share ways we’d love prayer, moments being honest and real with God has led to healing and being known, and to share our favorite memories of youth camp counselor boy crushes…not to discuss the biblical bases for cussing or not…that’s a whole ‘nother conversation, y’all. Let’s just be real and come…