I grieve a lot of little things. I wear them like little thorns in my heart and, every now and then, something drives them deep enough to remind me that I'm grieving. I get it though, that what I'm really grieving is huge. I get it that, deeper than those little thorns, is the prevailing wound that has lived and bred in me for a long, long time.

I live for the moments that I, miraculously, forget that I'm broken. They are few, friends, but they are blissful. Sometimes I get caught up in a moment with one of my kids, or I find my rhythm in a yoga class, or I run faster in Stroller Strides and find that I'm still breathing. Those moments are mercy. I'm thankful for them.

This isn't a pity party. Not even slightly. Because what I really want to say to you is this: God is asking me to lean in. Every time that old, deep wound steals my breath, I feel the pull - not to my wound or to the one who is brushing up against it, but to Mercy. Capital "M" Mercy. That one. The one with a heart that heaves for me. The one with a chest that tightens for me. The one with fingers that reach for me. The Mercy that is alive and vibrant and constant.

Last night I leaned in, again. I clutched my heart and pushed it BACK into my chest. I stood in the full force of my grief and pushed against the urge to cave in.

It didn't heal me. Not yet. It didn't change my grief. But, as my girlfriend reminded me, right now the only goal is survival. I survived.

I struggle with an open heart. This is my honesty. There are things that want to steal my freedom every day. I struggle with what an open heart looks like. Mostly because, like a lot of you, I've been emotionally battered. I'm exhausted. Most days, I want everyone to close the door and leave the house. I want to lean in to numbing. I can't heal my hurts by getting people to affirm me or hear me. I can't stop the bleeding by tying someone else's heart to mine. It just doesn't work that way. Oh if only it did, said the co-dependent.

The free woman in me knows this one thing: at the end of this particular road, I will be glad I leaned into Mercy. There is no other hand to grip. There is no other Master to serve.

I'm a mess. I'm a big ol' mess. You know it. I know it. The internet knows it. But I'm not the  kind of mess that sets up camp in my garbage.

I'm the kind of mess that is leaning in. And I'm not leaning into empty air. I'm leaning into the God who knows my heartbreak, my abandonment, and my emotional rejection. Someday I'll lean in enough to let them soothe that wound. But there's no getting to that deeply defended and festering space without some poking, some squeezing and some pressing in.

"Who is this coming up from the wilderness Leaning on her beloved ?"
[Song of Solomon 8:5]

*April 2013