Please excuse my mess, God is renovating

I love knowing significant dates. I am good at finding the exact day something big happened and remembering it. {My baptism. My previous anniversaries. The day I found out I got into UGA. The day I found out I was accepted into the public relations program. The day I got sick. The day I was admitted into the hospital. The day I began therapy. The last time we spoke.} All of these dates float around in my head, and whenever I need to hold onto something that grounds me to my past, I remember those dates and pull them in close.

But there are two dates I can never seem to remember, and they are two of the most important dates in my life: the day my mom was diagnosed with leukemia, and the day my life fell apart.

The day my mom was diagnosed was such an incredibly hard day that I think I try to block it out, because I never want to relive that pain again. I don’t want to remember what it felt like to hear those words come out of the doctor’s mouth, so I forget. I leave it out of that group of dates, even though it was one of the most significant things to happen in my life.

But there was no one significant day that my world was put into pieces. It wasn’t just one day, it was a collection of moments that tore down the walls of my life. If I was a building, I would be falling apart right now. Exposed pipes, downed walls, wires dangling from the wrecked ceiling. It is an accurate representation of the wreck I carry in the center of my chest, a heart that looks like it has been through a meat grinder and then taped back together. But there would be a big sign outside of my door warning anyone who comes too close that I’m not falling apart, I’m just in the middle of renovations.

“Please excuse my mess, I’m renovating.”

God bless the foundation I have built on His love alone, because my walls might get shaken down, but I never will. He never will. God has taken my life and drastically changed it, and I’m starting to see that He has done it for a specific purpose and reason. This does not mean I’m “okay” 100% of the time…. not at all.

Our God is not a God of randomness, but when you’re a 20 year old girl looking at your life going up in flames, you feel an intense sort of anger for the God you have tried so hard to love, and in that anger you see your pain as random and purposeless. No, sweet human reading this, your pain is not without purpose. I can’t tell you what that purpose is because I. Am. Not. God, but I am a girl who wholeheartedly believes that there is some sort of reason for almost everything. Here is what I know: because my mom was diagnosed with cancer, my heart opened to the world of childhood cancer. That was not why my mom got cancer, but there was always a purpose behind my pain. I was not at first accepted into my dream school because I needed to learn how to stay strong in who I am. Because I had that extra time to grow before I moved further from home and everything familiar in my life, I know that I will not lose my core being without putting up a good fight.

But right now… I really don’t know what His plan is for me. And I know that there are a lot of people who struggle with this as well. We sit down and look at the cards we’ve been dealt and we’re not quite sure what they mean. We can barely look at the next few days of our lives knowing what is happening, let alone the next few years. And our hearts, in their jumbled mess, might be a little confused about which direction we should be pointing.
I need you to pray into that. Pray into your lack of direction, because God has BIG plans. Plans that some of us aren’t even aware were a possibility.

Example: In the past 2 months, God has shown me that I need to really pour myself into my writing, speaking, and investment in people. Those 3 things are the only clear parts of my life, and I’m not sure what God’s purpose is with them. It scares me so much to even write this down, but I think He’s calling me to be a writer and begin to look at speaking to high school and college aged girls. Right now, He is putting words on my heart that I know can’t be from me alone. I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but I’ve never been brave enough to think about a future that could actually hold that… until now.

But there’s a whole new aspect to this whole insane period of my life, and so many other lives, that I hadn’t thought about until last night, when I realized that because of my anger and confusion when I feel that God isn’t near, I am hurting the people who are choosing to love me through the hardest of times.

“DO NOT ENTER WITHOUT A HARDHAT” would be the warning below my renovation sign. It would scream the words “CAUTION” and “DANGER” because hurt does a strange thing to hearts. Hurt and fear can cause anger to build up, anger towards God and towards life. Anger that sometimes, out of a place we have a hard time controlling, we heap on to people when we feel like we can’t heap onto God. We feel like we can’t tell Him that we are angry, so we tell the people who love us. God can handle our anger, and being honest with Him is the only way to truly deal with the weight we’re carrying around on our heart, yet we still don’t give it to Him. So we hurt, injure, confuse, cry, scream, throw, kick.

My dear friends, I’m sorry for my anger, but let love be your hardhat. Wear it, even when I hurl my hurt and my anger at you. I feel selfish and needy asking this, but I’m not asking it for just me. Every single person needs love in their life, whether they are on the mountain or deep in the valley. We need to know that we have some sort of human cheering us on, reminding us to pray, reminding us that God has this. And I need you because in the moments where life gets to be too much, it is your voice I hear telling me to hold on.

“Emily. Emily. Don’t give up. Keep running. Keep fighting. You’re almost there. I need you to be here, because I care for you. Don’t lose your fire. Keep going. I’m here. God’s got you. But I’m here.”

You have saved my life my friends. You have saved me from the darkness so many times, I’m not quite sure how I can ever ever take any of the humanely glory. God gets it all, but if a human were to get any glory for who I am, YOU would get it. Every single day. Because you fight for me when I can’t fight for myself.

If you choose to love me during this time, or if you choose to love anyone, choose to wear love. Do it for you, do it for me, do it for whoever you need to. I don’t want to hurt anyone, but I walk around feeling like a time bomb, knowing that shoving my pain and my hurt only leads to me throwing that hurt and anger on you when I finally explode… and I always explode. But wear love and know that I’m trying. I’m trying to choose God and choose love and choose light, even when the darkness threatens to suffocate me. His light. His love. His grace, even when I don’t deserve it. Even when I reject it because “life is not fair.” My life is not fair???
No, life is not fair.
The King of Kings led a perfect mortal life. He was tortured, mocked, and then hung up on a cross for MY imperfect life.
No, life is not fair.
And then… the people that choose to love me through the fire, going so far as to walk in the fire and getting burned next to me, turn around and get burned by the very person they are fighting for.
No, life is not fair, but I am drowning in grace and love right now. And you who walks through hell with me gets glory after glory, but also the chance to see what God creates out of my mess. The beams will fall, the dust may choke, and a pipe or two will definitely burst (meaning that I will cry), but God is taking the things I made and He is building it better.

I am under renovation. I am getting changed. I’m going through the fire, the mud, the storm, whatever you want to call it. I’m there and I’m trying to look at where I am and find the words to describe it, because I know I’m not alone.

You have been, are going, will go through something like this. It will be personal. It will be hard. It will shake you, but I pray that you will not fall. I pray you find your strength in Him, and that your foundation rests on the only strength that matters. And I write for you, because I know that you need confirmation that you’re okay. You might not feel okay, but you’re okay. There’s a lot going on, but one day you’re going to look at the things that changed you and be thankful for how you’ve grown. Because guess what babe? You’re going to grow. I’m going to grow. We’re going to have some growing pains. And we’re going to need a lot of help. But I’ve got your back, and the people who choose to wear love every day surround you. Just promise me a few things, okay?

Don’t give up, because I need you along with so many other people. Don’t be afraid, because you are protected by a strong savior. And when the fight is won and the fire has been put out, make sure to wear love and hold on to the people who are going through their storm. Use your knowledge and growth to help someone else gain insight and transform.

Stay. Don’t be afraid. Love. Can you promise me that? Okay, good. And I promise you that as well. I am going through the storm, but I will walk with you through whatever your life holds. I’m right there next to you, from start to finish.

From fire to fire,


5 thoughts on “Please excuse my mess, God is renovating

  1. Thank you so much for following the Lord’s words and posting this. I know we don’t know each other from Adam, but this spoke to me in more ways than I can express. The Lord is so good and even though we know that, sometimes it’s nice to be so kindly reminded.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Emily Starling your power to speak to girls like me and make this huge impact that you do is indescribable. God has gifted you with a talent beyond words and I cannot wait to see the huge make you’re going to leave on this imperfect world. I love you


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