Today I wanted to sit down and write something good for you, I wanted to give something of value, a bit of wisdom you can take with you… But here I sit, all ready to write, all ready to pour my heart out, and instead the angry cursor keeps blinking at me, taunting me.  Mocking me.

“You have nothing of value to say” The cursor whispers to me in its repetitive, demeaning tone. Reminding me that I am not worth following, and that my life is not the example for others that I want it to be…

Lately I have been trying to understand what it is that makes writing interesting, why I might read one thing all the way through and leave another after only a few sentences…  I think I have discovered the key, or at least my key, and it’s this; I read something all the way through when the writer tells me about their experiences, but I leave when someone tries to tell me how to live or how they have it all figured out.

Simple as that.

It actually took me a while to come to this conclusion, it finally made sense to me though when I read this in Eugene Peterson’s introduction to the book of Samuel in the Message bible.

“For the biblical way is not so much to present us with a moral code and tell us ‘Live up to this’; nor is it to set out a system of doctrine and say, ‘Think like this and you will live well.’ The biblical way is to tell a story and invite us, ‘Live into this. This is what it looks like to be human; this is what is involved in entering and maturing as human beings.’”

Something clicked inside me when I read that, it suddenly made sense. I realized that I am interested when others tell stories, and it inspired me to open my life raw, to share the real, the ugly… To value honesty more than to pretend I have all the answers.

Then later this week, I read the book of Jonah and was inspired not because the book told of Jonah; the grand inspiration of perfection, but it told of Jonah; the real person, the failure that God still used.

That’s me, the failure that God still uses, the broken person who God gives grace to.

The stories on this blog are of our family and our life here in Ethiopia, not a portrait of perfection, not an example of how to follow God, because the truth is we fail more than we succeed, but these are stories of his grace.

If you were to ask me what my favorite trait in God is, the thing that He does that I most admire; it is His willingness to use us in-spite of us.   We might be proud, fallen, struggling, broken, hurting people, but he uses us anyway.  And I love that about Him.

If you want to read about a beautiful example of people who love God with all their hearts at all times, people who always give of themselves with a smile on their faces, people who provide an example of what Jesus would do on this earth…. You need to find another story to follow.

Ours is not of us, but of his grace and willingness to use us despite us. Ours is a story of thankfulness, and of the joy that comes when we see ourselves as imperfect and yet continue to share his perfect love.

And so I look that angry blinking cursor in the eye today and I say; Yes, I am imperfect, I am not worth following, but my story still has value, my story is still worth telling, because it is not a story about me, it’s a story about Him, and my experiences as His.

I hope you will be a failure with us, I hope you will open up, be raw, real, and honest with those around you that it was never the works we did, or the perfection we thought we attained that had any value.  It was always Him, and we love and live this life of ours because of his grace. His perfect grace.