Notes from Jan

About That Mess

March 11, 2023

Tax time reminds me of Mama. Daddy was the one with the business head. But after he died Mama took on the taxes. She kept a shoe box with receipts and information she felt might be helpful. Because she was a writer, received royalties and honorariums for speaking, Mama knew they’d be taxed, eventually. So on a day too close to the deadline, she grabbed her shoe box, drove to the CPA and prayed he’d have the gift of interpretation. She knew God was merciful but not so sure of the CPA or IRS.

Well, not to brag, but I turned in my “shoe box” Thursday. Now, it’s my turn to pray for the CPA to have “the gift of interpretation. ” But I’m praying about other issues, too. Life’s messy. And sometimes we find ourselves in the middle of a muddle or two.

So, imagine my surprise when God showed up on TV. And on the ABC evening news! The newscast ended up with a short piece on Robin Roberts, from Good Morning America. They were celebrating Robin’s ten year anniversary, since her bone marrow transplant.

For sure, that’s worth celebrating. But it’s the clip when she first received that dreaded cancer diagnosis that continues to preach, for me. God showed up in five words. The piece showed Robin’s Mama responding to the situation with, “Well, lets make the mess, the message.” Two followers of Christ chose, by faith, to trust God to bring good out of bad news.

Life’s messy. But, I’m learning each pothole or detour, every rift, diagnosis or disappointment can, with God’s help, become an opportunity to “make the mess, the message.” In a way, trust is my shoe box into which I bring my messes to Jesus during this Lenten season.

Then, “Jesus looked hard at them and said, ‘No chance at all if you think you can pull it off yourself. Every chance in the world if you trust God to do it. ‘ ” (Matthew 19:26, The Message)

So, I pray, trust and bring my shoe box to Jesus.

It’s so daily and daring.

You, too?

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  • Reply Maggie Rowe March 11, 2023 at 6:37 pm

    Oh dear Jan, how do you always know to write what we need to read? I suspect you have a secret Source. There are several extraordinarily painful messes I’m praying about in the lives of those I love, praying they will find the message in the middle of the mess just as you said. Thank you dear friend.

  • Reply Roger Perkins March 13, 2023 at 7:53 am

    Thank you, Jan. I’ve found my messes to be the door opener to establishing trust with so many men. When I uncover mine they come out of hiding.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg March 17, 2023 at 7:21 pm

      Thank you for helping others, Roger, through sharing your messes. We all have them. Honest sharing helps build a bridge of trust. Always good to hear from you, dear Roger.

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