**This is the final post of a series at Carry on My Heart; you can read the first part here.
Grace for the unfinished.
I’m notorious for running headfirst into anything; I love new beginnings.
The end? Yeah, not so much. I’m not a goodbye-kinda girl.
I’ve never been a closer, and I’m not what you would call a strong finisher. Wrapping anything up, aside from gift wrapping—I’m known for being a killer gift wrapper—is a struggle for me.
So, although my gift-wrapping skills are epic, my wrapping-up skills are lacking. I’m unsure how to end this series without leaving you hanging.
But in my defense:
How do you end something on paper that could never be wrapped up this side of heaven?
The Anxiety and Depression Series – Grace for the Unfinished
I am incomplete, so my story is not wrapped in a neat bow. I’m betting neither is yours, and let’s be honest, some days, that truth leaves us hurting.
When we’ve been in the trenches longer than we care to be, we become weary and battle-worn and expect some resolution. They often don’t come, or at least not how we’d like.
Maybe it’s just me, but endings seem sad when you can’t wrap them up neatly with a bow. Oh, the abundance of gift-wrapping references.
Is the end better than the beginning?
Solomon (aside from Jesus), the wisest man who ever lived, thinks differently. He said the day of one’s death is better than the day of birth, and the end of a thing is better than the beginning. (Ecclesiastes 7:1, 8)
It seems too counterintuitive to be true.
We celebrate babies and weddings with smiles and laughter, showering mothers and newlyweds with well wishes and hope. In turn, we grieve the death of anything, pounding our fists on the fresh dirt of the grave, whether it be of our loved one or some long-held dream.
The end clearly can’t be better than the beginning.
Or is it?
On a spiritual level, where Jesus resides, and I believe what He has done, I know my death will be better than my birth. But my finite mind grapples with understanding how the giver could be so much greater than the gift.
In the same way, I wrestle with how right now isn’t perfect, and there seems to be no tidy end. The same message is often on replay in my mind; “Shouldn’t I be over everything now? Shouldn’t I be “fixed?” After all, I have Jesus, and I’ve worked so hard.
The answer to these questions is simple, although not apparent at first glance: We weren’t meant to be perfectly happy here.
We were never meant to feel completely content on this swirling ball that hangs perilously amidst an unending black void.
For now, there is no perfect ending; there’s “to be continued…”
We’re just midway.
We are in the middle here, processing all of the hard we experience until we come face to face with the One that gave us life in the first place. The struggles we face may have no real ending while we’re here.
It’s okay to feel unfinished because truth is, we are.
Friend, grace finds us where we’re at and not a minute after.
We will not be all tidied up this side of heaven. It’s just not how the story goes. We are meant to feel slightly unsettled with where we’re at.
My point is that if you’re wrestling with your anxiety and depression—or whatever you repeatedly grapple with—you are right where you should be.
Don’t wait for tomorrow when your anxiety has stopped or the depression finally ceases to do that thing you long to do.
If you’re waiting for perfect, chances are, you’ll wait a lifetime, and it’ll never arrive.
We can search all day long for how to heal the broken spaces within us, but without gazing directly into the face of the Holy, some damaged areas will stay… for now.
I still wrestle with my fears and doubts and long to tame the anxious beast inside me. I am not perfectly whole just yet; the same goes for you.
These truths may make you sad and a little unsettled, but Friend, I pray you’ll find comfort in being unfinished. It is here in the middle where He shapes, refines, and perfects. There is SO MUCH unbelievable beauty in a God who died for our sins and imperfections and yet leaves them with us to shape us.
Beauty in the ugly
I love flowers, and I cherish that I can plant an ugly tiny seed in a bunch of gross, worm-ridden dirt, and over time, the most stunning, vividly bright, and fragrant wildflowers will grow. It takes equal parts brilliant, sunny days and gray, rainy ones to make them appear. Gorgeous little poppies or foxgloves will attract every type of curious little pollinator; they can’t help but be drawn to the fragrance and beauty.
I think it’s the same with our hard places.
Loveliness grows out of the most unlikely of dirty, worm-ridden spots, and others are drawn to us because of them. Why? Because comfort, help, and hope have never come from perfect. Instead, it’s born from hard places to share with others.
There is no need for perfection, and there is no need for getting it just right. Not here, not with Him.
There is endless grace for the brutal and useless days and, likewise, for the sweet, simple, mostly perfect ones.
He didn’t come here for the fixed; He reached for the sick, the sinner, the anxious, the depressed, the perfectionist, the addict, the prideful, the vain, and the (_____). Fill in the blank… (See Mark 2:17)
And you know what He calls them?
Chosen. Ephesians 1:4
Redeemed. Ephesians 1:7
Forgiven. Ephesians 1:7
Friend. John 15:15
Justified. Romans 3:24
We may be here in the middle, unfinished and with broken places.
But not to Him.
He washed, made us clean, and called us His own, even on our worst days. We don’t have to tidy up to completion and have perfect endings and well-rounded stories. Because He already did all of that. He is the ultimate storyteller—His end is always SO much better than any of our beginnings.
In our battles, we find grace for today; that is all we need—step by step, minute by minute, perfect, glorious, gritty grace.
He is not finished with us yet.
I’m ending this series, not because it’s complete, but because there’s not a perfect ending.
I want my blog to reflect how I live my life; in the middle, a bit unfinished with equal parts of rain and sun, making something beautiful from worm-ridden brown.
Here in this middle place of waiting to see the One that holds my heart and life in His hands, I long for the ending. I wait with a hope that honestly can’t be explained on an intellectual level, no matter how many well-placed words I string together.
My sweet friend, keep fighting the good fight and know I fight it with you, and so do a billion or more others. And one day soon, we will meet Him face to face, and He will tell us, “Well done.” Not because you got all perfected but because you were bloodied and dirty and kept returning to fight.
The Anxiety and Depression Series - Grace for the Unfinished
As always, friend, thank you for stopping by,