frayed*beep-beep beeeeep, beep-beep beeeeep*

I startle awake, feel around frantic for the one spot on the top of my alarm clock that stops the beeping for 24 hours.

Gaaaaa! Where IS it?

The button is impossible to find without sitting up and looking for it. Design flaw I grumble as I sit on the side of the bed staring past my feet.

I’m too awake to go back to sleep now. With a sigh, I finally heave myself out of bed, slip feet into slippers, and creep out of my room in a purely self-serving attempt to emerge undetected. If anyone hears that I am up, they swarm me. And especially these days, I prefer to start my day slowly, quietly, and ideally alone.

Squeak. Creak. The floorboards betray me.

The youngest boy soon appears, flashing his most charming heart-melting smile as he sidles out of his room, down the hall, and across the couch toward me. He starts off sweet and quiet enough, but in what feels like mere seconds, he’s swinging from the back of my chair, bouncing us high, bending the pages of my book, throwing other books onto the floor, pulling cables out of my laptop, poking pudgy fingers into the screen, and asking a thousand questions that must be answered now lest he repeat them louder and faster.

Doesn’t he know that his mom is happier when given some space? Anger flashes, but the moment of irrational self-preservation fades quickly and I remember.

He’s three, of course he doesn’t know.

And there it is, exposed in my body language and gruff tone. Another frayed thread, the raw unfinished me. The ugly I try to keep under wraps.

We all try to hide our ragged edges. But keeping up appearances is a form of bondage.

When we all pretend we’re doing fine, we start to believe what our ragged edges whisper.

Isolation, rejection, failure.

All lies.

But when I believe them, I quickly see myself as the only one who is so messed up, assuming friends would run away if they knew the truth. The power of those lies is paralyzing, crushing, destructive.

The truth? We’re all broken, ragged, and unfinished.

We need grace from each other. And that means we need to extend grace too.

But I cannot extend grace when I don’t know what grace is needed, where the pain and the struggle lies.

Grace and truth are the escape. We are freed by letting our raw edges show, receiving the grace of others, and by showering the raw unfinished edges around us with grace too.

God is bigger than our frayed edges. He is bigger than the raw ugly inside.

The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalm 34:17-18

Best of all, He promises to finish all that is incomplete and perfect what is flawed.

I am certain that God, who began the good work within you,
will continue his work until it is finally finished
on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

Philippians 1:6 (New Living Translation)