Shattered Glass at My Feet

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I have spent much of this year on the verge of tears. I have been trying to see the positive, to see God’s hand of provision. I am thankful that my health is intact, but most days I wonder what else can go wrong? I have been struggling with how to respond to the negative, and how to celebrate the positive when it often occurs moments before a hardship.

Now I want to be clear, no one has died, I still have a home, a job, and an amazing community around me. I am not Job or David on the run. I am just having a tough season for me. I know that many of you are going through much pain and loss and hurt. This is just where I am and what I found this morning.

I ran through my normal routine: I got dressed, did my makeup, grabbed my lunch, found my keys, locked up the back door and headed to the car. Then I saw it, I realized my car had been broken into. Surprisingly, nothing was stolen. It still runs. But the shards of broken glass litter my driveway, my front seat, my yard. These fragments are but a reminder of why I live in the neighborhood and why I work with World Impact.

It has been eleven years of this urban living, each day new and exciting, the unexpected always lingering in the background. I have never grown tired of the lifestyle or this place. There have been moments of soaring joy and intense pain—and yet I have never thought about about leaving. This morning’s driveway findings do not change a thing. The odd pain and struggle of this year do not change a thing. These events have not made me rethink my calling, and much worse could have happened. This event, while annoying and costly, did not actually hurt anyone. In fact, the broken glass made me more committed than ever to incarnational living and the life transforming work of the Gospel.

Today might not go down in history as an important day, nothing about this day is that special, but today I choose to recommit to following Jesus in the city. To see people as He sees them. Christ, while on earth, was all about the potential of the broken, the inner workings of the shattered, and the worth in the damaged. I need to be about that also. When the sun hits the glass splayed across my backseat, the sparkle is like that of diamonds. I want to see the worth in the broken.

So, as I see the shattered glass at my feet, I think of how Christ would have reacted, with love and forgiveness overflowing. My heart breaks for the pain the person who caused this damage must be in. I want for them to find peace, I want for them to be creative not destructive, I want for them to build community instead of destroy, and I want them to know life and not desperation. So, while I clean up, I will pray for my neighborhood. While I sweep the glass into the dustpan and pick up the pieces of my splintered year, I will choose joy for myself and hope for my community.

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Advice

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I am turning 36. I am officially entering my late thirties. It seems impossible—I was just 22, beginning my somewhat “adult life,” but alas I have been adulting for a well over a decade. With that in mind, I thought I would impart ten pieces of advice I default to. None of these are groundbreaking, they are pretty simple and quick. So, here are Candy’s wisdom, advice, and life lessons.

What you do not post online is just as important as what you do post. Your social media is a digital record of your life. Just because it happened does not mean you need to archive it; some memories can just be for you and some poor decisions do not need to be shared.

“Make space for someone if that is what you want.” -Sumi Flanagan. Sumi is a dear woman who led a mission trip I went on in high school. We recently reconnected and she imparted wisdom and encouragement. She has been in full time ministry for decades and I have always admired her life, and she encouraged me to be more open and to intentionally make space.

Bloom where you are planted. The Lord may lead you to unexpected places, and when He does, grow healthy roots and produce beauty. In the chaos, in the pain, and in the mundane seek the Lord and create beauty.

Obedience is rarely easy, but always worth it. We all know hindsight is 20/20, but trusting in a God who has proved Himself faithful for 4,000+ years of recorded history is just plain smart. He is faithful when we are not. He is good when we are not. He is forever when we are not. Obey and trust that He knows what He is doing.

“You’re an everybodyist.” -my mom. Be an everybodyist. Be inclusive. Love people. Never intentionally leave someone on the outside. Jesus was an everybodyist, the Church should be, and I try to be this way daily.

“I’d rather be alone than with the wrong man.” -Lady Mary. I might struggle with my singleness, but Lady Mary hit a homerun with this piece of dialog. Nothing could be more true; I will always prefer singleness to being in the wrong relationship. I am not saying that marriage is easy, but it might seem easier if you are with the right person (although, I have no experiential evidence to back that up).

“Community should refine us, not consume us.” -Erin Lane. I read this maybe a year ago and it has taken about that long for me to lean into it. Find, make and keep friends who sharpen you, encourage you, pray with you, all while allowing you to be who Christ has called you to be. Good friends are hard to find, so when you do hold tight.

“Clothing should skim not cling.” -Oprah. LOL, she said this over 20 years ago and whenever I get dressed I still think of it. Dress however you want, this is just my go-to rule.

Love what you do. There will be seasons of life when this might not be true, when you gotta pay the bills. But if it can be true, make it so. I have had the honor of working for World Impact for eleven years. I love what I do (most days). There have been tasks within the ministry I have not loved, but I saw how it added to the vision and empowerment of others, so I did it. But for 80% of my time with WI I have loved every second of it.

Follow your calling. The Lord will call you to do some crazy things and you have His authority to get it done. When He gives you a vision, a dream, a task, He will provide the way to accomplish it. At thirteen I heard God call me—a suburban kid with no city experience— to Urban Ministry and I believed it. My parents prayed for it, and now I am living into it because Christ made it happen. He will part the Red Sea for you, and if needed He will decimate the opposition like He did with Pharaoh’s army. So we have no excuses; we can move forward and not look back.

So this is the advice I have for you, this is the wisdom of the old being handed over to the young, take it or leave it.