Claw Marks of the Eternal Kind ~ My Messy Beautiful

Mended heart

My mess is bigger than your mess.

Who wants to say that? 

I guess the truth is, there are some people in this life who like drama. They invite it into their lives like an old friend. I, however, am not one of those people. The less messy my life is, the more I enjoy it.

Do you sometimes feel like some people have it easier than others? I used to think so, but the older I get and the more messes I see, the more I realize everyone has their “stuff” to deal with. Yours just may look a little different from mine.

The past four years of our lives in my family could easily qualify for a sequel to Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events children’s books.

A little over four years ago, my grandmother passed away from a brain aneurysm. Little did my sons and I know the day we went to visit her that we would be the last to talk with her, aside from my aunt, while she was completely coherent.

At the time of her death, my dad had started to deteriorate rapidly from his Parkinson’s disease. The next year was spent with him in and out of rehabilitation facilities. Eventually he succumbed to aspiration pneumonia.

While helping my mom with my dad we discovered my cousin’s husband has liver cancer. He is still valiantly fighting, but life is a struggle. Our little family began to feel pressed from all sides.

In the midst of all of this, we learned two things about my husband, a little of which I have mentioned on my blog. First of all, we found out he has a genetic condition in both ears that is rapidly causing him to lose his hearing. That is a story in itself. And just a couple of months later we learned he has a form of leukemia known as CLL. You can read more about that in this old post. The “C” word was not something we were in any way prepared for, especially in light of everything else.

The story doesn’t really end there. We have experienced other difficulties as a family in the last year. The saga continues. Loss of other dear loved ones. A couple of near death experiences for others. Hearts can get a little weary.

I share my story with you not to complain or to make my life seem more tragic than others. I want you to read this and possibly feel comforted that you are not alone in the difficulties you face.

Some messes come from bad choices we make, and others are purely circumstantial having little to do with our decisions. Either way, we can find ourselves feeling fearful and out of control. Every day becomes a choice to seize joy in the midst of the pain.

If I’m truly honest with you, there are moments when I think too much about the future and my chest starts to press in like a vise. My fears begin to take over my brain. I could drown in the what-ifs.

We can hide under the covers, succumb to the misery, feel sorry for ourselves, and let our messes control us.


Or we can fight. Bravely. With great determination. We can claw for the joy and discover ways to use our difficulties for good. Our confidence in the eternal can allow us to become true world changers.

Let’s refuse to waste the heartache. Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

What are you struggling with right now? Will you suit up for battle with me?

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed…Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2Co 4:8-9, 16-18 NIV)

This post is part of the Messy Beautiful Warrior Project. To learn more about this project, click HERE.  To learn more about Glennon Doyle Melton’s bestselling memoir, Carry On Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life, just released in paperback, click HEREmessy-beautiful-700bHeart graphic from Stock Exchange.



15 thoughts on “Claw Marks of the Eternal Kind ~ My Messy Beautiful

  1. Thank you for the beautiful words of encouragement, Amy :). I especially needed to read the verse from 2 Corinthians. I totally know about living through the rough times and clawing out joy. I’ll be praying for you!

  2. It is so easy to get lost in the struggle. So often we forget that our God is bigger than whatever we are struggling with! Thank-you for writing! Thank-you for sharing. Your journey is beautiful even when you don’t want to wake up the next morning to see it. I love the positive spin you use. I know that life is more complicated then what you can describe in a blog post, but I really have enjoyed the little snippet into your journey that your wrote about.

    • I made a typo and it won’t let me edit! (I am an English major so typos bug me!) It should say that you wrote about and your wrote about. That doesn’t make any sense!

  3. Thanks for sharing your heart so candidly, Amy. I love your “Or”…it reminds me of the Ephesians 2:4 “But God…” It’s so true that we have a choice in how we respond to things, even though some days it’s a lot tougher than others.

  4. Oh yes, it seems like I am always struggling with some *thing* out there. Over the past year I have been trying to concentrate on my own happiness, realizing that no one will make me happy, I have to make that choice. That may sound slightly dramatic, but it was a big turning point for me in the past year to start making that choice, and not letting the outside influence me. It has caused me to cling closer to God, and His word, and rely on Him more. All of which are important things to do everyday. Great thoughts!

  5. Thank you for the reminder. We just went through a very stressful time when my husband left his job without another one lined up. I believe finding joy through the struggles helps me stay content, grounded, and focused on God. ~Crystal

  6. When I first opened this post and saw your beautiful picture at the top, I thought wow – she exudes joy! Reading all you are going through and then seeing your statement: “Every day becomes a choice to seize joy in the midst of the pain” is nothing short of inspiring. Thank you for sharing your messy beautiful life :)!

  7. Amy, Praying for you as I read this. I love how you talk about we have a choice, we can “claw for the joy.” Sometimes that’s how it feels, but what a good reminder that it is always within our grasp. Thanks for sharing your story.

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