This one’s for you, Mel.

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I wasn’t going to write today. I’ve been too busy dancing with a demon and crying at very inopportune times, like driving towards incoming traffic and pretending I’m singing my favorite Hanson song to throw off the faces speeding towards me.

These? They aren’t tears. They’re mmmbops.

But then my father called. And after I spoke to him, I had to sit down and write.

My father is the male version of me. Or perhaps I’m the female version of him. I’ve known this for a very long time on a very deep level. We have our differences, of course. He’s the guy who the entire line to Spaceship Earth knows by the time we enter the ride and who is thrown a “Hey, Mel!” as we’re walking through Epcot, whereas I’m sitting down in said line, talking to my friend. And by friend I mean reading a book. And the only time anyone says “Hey!” to me is when I accidentally walk into the men’s restroom. But besides that, we’re practically the same person.

He has a heart for greatness, just like me. It’s just that our circumstances have never gotten the memo.

But here’s the thing about my dad: he’s the hardest worker I know. And everyone loves him because he genuinely loves them. He’s taken care of his family from day one, and I always think how amazing it is in this day and age to have somebody who truly loves you, no strings attached.

So in my mind, he is great. But just like him, I have a hard time seeing this in myself.

I keep typing up those memos, but it seems like they’ve all been sent to nowhere.

So talking to him was a reminder of what great really looks like, and I have to imagine it’s the same sort of great God is on board with. A heart outward-focused and a mind tailored to the good of others.

And a soul set free from its former binds.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I seem to have an mmmbop in my eye.

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Bless my rough-edged heart.

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Last Sunday, my husband and I were asked to pray over marriages in our congregation.

The idea was perplexing.

Me? The closet lunatic that I am? The woman who sometimes tears up mid-sip of her tea feeling like her plight in the world is to live like Jeremiah, lamenting societal woes, and yet still brushing up on the mechanics of the air fryer just so she can seem to fit in?

You want me to pray? For somebody else’s marriage?

Like I said, perplexed.

If anyone were to receive a medal in this world, it would be my husband. Matt’s not perfect. He’ll claim as such…depending on what day it is. But the man is the epitome of patience and intestinal fortitude, two things with which a person needs to be equipped to deal with a thirty-something struggling writer and stay-at-home mom who claims her oven is trying to break up with her.

It is not easy being Matt Clay.

But he does it anyways, with great finesse, and I started to lean into the idea of praying for other people’s marriages because at least he would be standing there with me, watering down my extreme flavor of crazy so that God would stand in our midsts and hear our prayers.

But we all know that’s not how this works.

Here I am, raw and vulnerable, imperfect and rough-edged servant. I want to add “humble” to that list. I think I’d willingly die for that word to be written on my tombstone. But God and I both know we still have work to do to get me there.

So instead, I’ll say this: I have a broken heart that always needs mending. And I’m not too proud to announce that only Jesus can do that work. So maybe that’s why I was asked to pray for others.

Because I know God hears those who know they need it most.

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Just another day.

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We’re painting our house.

There’s a mess all over the floor, and opened containers of paint on my kitchen counters, and wall things that have become floor things, and an overall sense of life being askew and order being put on hold.

My dog ate a bird today. Okay well, really, just killed it and played around with it for a second and wore a big old dog smile like, “What a great way to kick off a Wednesday, am I right?” It got me thinking about when Roxie was still alive and Rocco had killed yet another bird and she kept hopping around in a gleeful little circle, head snapping back and forth between me and the bird in an attempt for me to truly understand how amazing her life was in that moment. Heck, she hadn’t even killed the bird, and she was pretty darn proud of herself.

I’ve always really respected her for that.

Today, my daughter’s main project was to sort through the U-haul moving box I’ve used to store all of her school work and art projects from preschool to present day. And by store, I mean dump into the cavernous inside and cram under the extra desk in my husband’s office. She dumped out the contents all over the floor, and everything that’s made her who she is today stared right back at her. She was perplexed at the number of teacher write ups she received in a not so flattering vein: Ava decided to randomly bite her friend today as they were sitting quietly next to each other; Ava refuses to listen, so we need to start utilizing the sticker chart again; Ava started a small fire in the girls’ bathroom and convinced her friends to burn their shoes while she sang the theme song from The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Okay, that last one may or may not be exaggerated a bit, but you could tell she wouldn’t have been surprised if she came across something like that. It was such a reminder of the pain of wanting what you used to have, when at the time, it wasn’t worth the pain of holding it in your hand. But now, spread out all over the floor in the presence of drying paint and dog breath that stinks of bird innards, I think on that pain, how it must mean we’re still here, still alive. And I thank God for the little moments that never seem to matter.

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