Meltdowns Among the Miracles

I’ll be completely honest with you. Today, I don’t feel like a person who ought to be writing a blog representing Jesus.

Lots of reasons.

Here’s one: I had to pay a visit to a children’s hospital in Providence today. For all the boldness I display when I write about faith, I’m a nervous old woman driving “into the city.” Sure, I can face down challengers to my faith, but put me into unfamiliar traffic patterns and I’m quivering like a Jello salad at a Baptist pot-luck.

Having driven there recently, I was confident I knew what to do but when I arrived at the parking garage, the turnstile was up and no matter how often I pressed the button, no ticket appeared.

I felt the pressure as the line behind me grew, so I pulled in, but all at once realized I was now in the parking garage area with no ticket to get myself out. Of course, there are no humans in the parking booths. So, this bold woman of faith kind of flipped out.

Doing an immediate U-turn, I pulled into the exit line. Parking in this garage is free for the first 30 minutes and I’d only been in the entry way for five, so I knew I didn’t owe a dime. When the turnstile lifted for the car in front of me, I hit the gas and sped through on his tail. The turnstile almost hit me on its way down, but I escaped and found a spot in the next parking garage with a working ticket meter.

Then, I had a meltdown in my car before walking into the hospital. (Which is where my co-worker explained there’s another button to push if the ticket doesn’t appear and a nice voice takes care of the whole thing. Who knew?)

This is me. There are moments I feel full of the Holy Spirit. The way before me is clear. Words fall into place and I can navigate spiritual deep-water.

And other moments, I’m looking at the extra pounds that won’t budge in my full-length mirror, scowling at articles on how to make my email list GDPR compliant for readers in the EU before the end of the month, trying to stifle cranky comments about changes to my day job, and turning to Facebook for comfort instead of my Bible (big mistake.)

How in the world did God entrust the furthering of His Kingdom and the spread of the gospel to people like me?

On the way into work, I listened to Luke 9 on CD in my car. Talk about a wild ride of a chapter! First, Jesus gives his apostles power and authority over demons and diseases. Like, wow! Heady stuff for fishermen and former tax collectors!

Their activity catches the attention of Herod, who has only recently beheaded John the Baptist. Not attention the disciples wanted, I’m sure. A bit more nerve-wracking than traffic.

Then, Jesus feeds the five thousand. The apostles’ minds must have been spinning.

Suddenly, then, Jesus is asking them who they think He is and talking about His upcoming death, warning them that to follow Him means taking up their own crosses. Which is it, Jesus? Miracles or death? Victory over demons or the way of the cross? I can’t imagine the whispered conversations they must have been having around the fire at night.

One verse later, Peter, John, and James witness the Transfiguration. Privileged and humbled, they must have been.  But not long after, they’re arguing about who among them is the greatest.

There are always meltdowns among the miracles. Some days we’re exercising authority over demons and diseases, but the next moment we’re praying for strength to diet and exercise our own lazy limbs. One moment we’re praising and proclaiming Jesus, the next we’re panicking in a parking garage.

This is us. The people of His own choosing. I wouldn’t have picked us to use to build the church, but who am I?

He is all. And He knows that working through us is all the more evidence that He deserves the glory.

People who know me aren’t at all surprised that I flipped out in Providence today. What amazes them is when God works through me. I’m sure it testifies to them every time of the reality of the Almighty, because they know I’m not “all that.”

Truth is, I’m not a person who ought to be writing a blog about Jesus, but He chose to use me this way anyhow. And if you follow Him, He’s choosing to use you, too, in the lives of the people around you.

Truth is, left to my own, I would have selfishly squandered my life, spent it entirely on me. But Jesus invited me into His adventure and lets me join in along the way, despite the many times I fail.

We need to stop searching for heroes. We need to stop trying to be heroes or waiting for our own perfection to emerge before we step out in His name.

We must be willing to be panicked bumblers following Jesus because there are miracles waiting amidst the meltdowns.

The first miracle we’ll find is God at work in our midst as it says in Zephaniah 3:17 ESV, “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”

What song does He sing over you tonight? Do you trust His Word that He rejoices over you with gladness? Will you let Him quiet you with His love? This is His story, after all, and He invites us along.

What an incredible God we serve, yes?

(Oh, and if you live in the EU and you subscribe to my blog, you’ll receive an email from me shortly asking you to re-subscribe in order to remain on my list. This is to comply with the GDPR laws enacted in the EU. Once I figure out how to do it!)

Thank you, all for reading what I write. You’ve no idea how much it means to me. Lori

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    The Conversation

  1. Bruce says:

    I love you Lori.

  2. Donna says:

    I just came home from a women’s prayer group my daughter and I have recently been led to start at our church. It has been going quite well, much to our surprise the women keep coming back each week and even bringing friends. Tonight I came home feeling low and woefully inadequate…. questioning myself. Who did I dare think I was to attempt this… i know who i am and what I lack. And then i gave my email a quick glance before bed. And find your humble all too truthful words…. thank you my friend.

  3. Debra says:

    I really needed to hear this tonight….thank you for being honest in your writing and faithful to what God has called you to do.

  4. Kathleen L. Maher says:

    Yes. If God collects tears in a bottle, I wonder if He has a big rubber room in heaven for my meltdowns. Thank you for reminding me it’s so not about our performance or worthiness or power… That is the very hope of our salvation. We couldn’t do it. I know I can’t.
    Blessings and shalom—nothing missing and nothing lacking.

  5. Cathy Baker says:

    Panicked bumbler in attendance! But I beg to differ that you’re not “all that” *wink* — and yet, I totally get it. My jello has quivered more than once but Zephaniah 3:17 is a go-to verse to calm me. Thank you for your transparency, Lori.

    P.S. I’m already beginning to miss you at Blue Ridge.

  6. Nancy Mosher says:

    Lori, thank you for the reality of life that you share with us . Your words are encouraging and remind us that God is still at work in our lives .

  7. Marie says:

    So thankful we have a Great High Priest who understands our weaknesses and ever lives to make intercession for us – even through our meltdowns!

  8. Shirley Harm says:

    Oh, how I love what you said here. I, too, am a city-traffic-and-parking-garage-freaker, but I love Jesus! I know he’s using me to bless others, and in fact used the Zephaniah 3 passage to encourage a few of my mutual encouragers a few days ago. It’s one of my favorite passages – so beautiful, calming and empowering. I shall muddle through, only with the Lifter of my head going before me and all around me … Thanks for the things you write. Every time I read, I’m nodding my head yes.

  9. Doris says:

    Amen!! We all stand amazed at His goodness to us His children. As I read your blog post Psalm 103:14 came to my mind. Many, many years ago the Lord began growing me by having me teach Jr. Hi girls….I had a lovely older lady who was my spiritual mother. We also became prayer partners. When I would call her crying I was unable to teach the girls God’s Word properly she would give me Psalm 103:14….always saying “He knows you are dust dear, His Spirit will teach and guide you”. :0) Thank you for your honesty….we all can identify.

  10. Kathy Chiero says:

    Lori, I love your writing. I used to work for one of the largest television ministries in the world. I knew “up close and personal” the very famous CEO of the ministry and his family. I also met, greeted, observed and interviewed a “who’s who” of the evangelical (sometimes) rich and (big fish in a little pond) famous over two decades in my position. My take on the backside? First of all I would throw myself in front of a moving bus for the CEO. He is an imperfect man of God who followed his vision to touch millions. AND. If God can use HIM God can use any of us. Imperfect he is. Among the most famous and influential of our flawed church I saw selfishness and insecurity, anger and pettiness, jealousy and self-promotion. But I also saw (in abundance)kindness and compassion, true empathy and selflessness, and a desire to share the perfect Christ through flawed vessels. You are one and you are touching millions. (Maybe not in the EU…but good luck with that…)

  11. Debby says:

    Dearest Lori, please receive deep in your own topsy-turvy heart, that God used you to speak tender, encouraging, affirming, and timely words personally to me. May you experience that precious supernatural moment of joy as I just have, and may God be glorified!

  12. Valencia Joseph says:

    Your honest portrayal of the struggle, yet hope-filled confidence in His power to love through you are such an inspiration and comfort to me!
    Thank you for continuing to write!

  13. Rich says:

    How do you read my mind? You rock!

  14. Bonnie Balderson says:

    Keep on writing. It is an encouragement.

  15. Deb says:

    Thanks. I started the year planning some big steps, confident I was following the Lord. Now I look at what I’m planning and think, “How could I have thought I could do that?” The truth is I can’t, and this was the perfect reminder that He shows his strength through my weekness. He includes us in His adventure in spite of the fact that we wouldn’t trust people like us. Thanks for the encouragement.

  16. Charla says:

    Glad to know I don’t bumble and quiver alone, Lori. I know when I click a link to your site, I will walk with an authentic friend in Christ. Thank you for being…you 🙂

  17. Mary Ellen Santaniello says:

    Thanks for another great message, Lori. It really struck home with me because I have a real fear of parking garages. On more than one occasion I have panicked because I couldn’t find my way out. One time that this happened, I was alone in unfamiliar territory, driving my son’s car. For some reason He entrusted me with this fancy, sporty car of his (standard transmission, too). I kept going in circles and crying all the while. There was no one to call for help. What saved me that day was when I finally saw someone who was leaving the garage, so I followed them out!
    Thanks for your encouraging words about how Jesus still rejoices over me even with all my blundering and lack of faith.