A few years back our family moved into a house that was only five minutes away from where we had been living. It was tedious to put all of our belongings into boxes when we were so close but I waited until the day before (per usual for me) and hustled to get everything packed.

In the process of this move I may or may not have fallen off of a table, which I believe I have mentioned in a previous post a while back so I suppose you now assume it as fact. You would be correct in your assumption, yes, yes I did fall. I fell so hard in fact that I had one large bruise that expanded from one shoulder across my chest to the other arm, so dark that it would be impossible not to notice it. I say this to preface my next story. 

Just remember... giant bruise... 

I had used the last diaper one morning and had completely forgotten about it until the smell of something most awful was coming from my unsuspecting sweet-faced baby boy. In a mad dash I threw my hair in a ponytail and ran out the door without my face done up with makeup (which always brings on a number of "concerned" comments which I find to be quite amusing). I raced around the store with my two boys until we found the baby section, tossed the diapers in the cart and jolted to the front hoping that we wouldn't be in one spot long enough for anyone to smell what had to be the worst combination of digested foods to make such a stink that had a category all of it's own.  

I opted for self check out to further prevent being in the store longer, with no avail. Those silly diapers wouldn't scan which prompted the cashier to walk over to help. Super awesome. She looked at me and then at the boys. 

Making awkward conversation she looked at Michael and asked, "so how old are you?".  His response... wait for it... here it comes... "I'm four"... I wish I could say that he ended it there but he didn't... "But one day I'll be big like daddy and he won't BEAT me". 

Yep. He just said that. 

Now remember that bruise. I rest my case.  

All I could think was, hold off on the phone call to CPS please- you'd have to know Michael to understand. You see, Michael is 4. The most competitive 4 year old I have ever met.There is nothing in our daily routine that isn't considered a race in his eyes; brushing teeth, getting dressed, eating, cleaning... NOTHING! 

So while it may look like we are a battered family, and my son may make comments about getting "beat" I can assure you that there is no such thing going on here. 

But, you would have to know Michael to really understand. It goes way beyond just hearing his words. 

Because things are not always as they appear.

Or sound. For better... and for worse.

Unless we have truly spent time with a person, we can operate under all kinds of false notions when we leave our understanding of them up to the telephone game. Knowing a person and having knowledge about a person are two very different things. I think of this when I read Matthew 7:21-23. In this passage Jesus is nearing the end of His infamous "sermon on the mount" and He is teaching on Heaven. More specifically, who actually gets to enter into Heaven.

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

Did you read that? These people, these "evildoers", prophesied. They drove out demons. THEY PERFORMED MIRACLES. One would assume by looking at them that if anyone was making it into heaven, they were. Girls, I can't even tell you the last time I prayed for a headache and it went away instantaneously. If they can't make it in, surely I am in trouble! 

Or am I? Because Jesus isn't swoon by miracles, or won over by prophesying. He isn't driven by how well we can discern and dismantle spiritual forces. He is not even flattered by how much we sit in church and hear His Word. What Jesus is really after is relationship. In fact, it is only in relationship with Him that we have access to Heaven at all. (Remember, Jesus is the only way - John 14:6). Jesus wants to be KNOWN and that is why they couldn't enter.

They didn't know Him. 

We get so entangled in our assumptions about God and what being a "woman of God" should look like ( I picture walking on water and being that perfectly unattainable Proverbs 31 depiction of a wife) that we forget the most important part - to just get to know God.

To spend time with Him. To ask Him the hard questions and read all about His character through the many stories shared in scripture. To listen for is voice and His guiding in a world where we are taught to only listen to ourselves. To do away with how things appear to be and what we "think"... because really, who cares what we think? It is one thing to hear about a God who loves you, but it's another thing entirely to know the God who loves you.

It changes things when you know the God behind the Words.

We need Jesus. We need to know Him and be known by Him. Appearances aside. We need to get back to the secret places and spend time with our Abba Father so on that day we aren't sent away and counted as an evildoer who was more impressed with looking holy rather than being holy. Let's seek His face today girls, let's stop trying to get fancy about life and just seek His face.

Because we are all hot messes with giant bruises and great stories to share with a Father who wants to hear (and heal) all of it.

Colossians 2:2-7 My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments. For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how disciplined you are and how firm your faith in Christ is. So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rootedand built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.