Spongebob Squarepants has played in our home for close to 20 years. Of all the crazy episodes out there, my husband and son say their favorite is the one where Spongebob rips his pants.
It’s comedy gold for those two. But real life? It’s one of those situations you pray never happens in public.
So, lucky me.
I’ve had them rip twice.
The first time wasn’t too long after I gave birth. I didn’t know it at the time but I was port-partum, obsessed with the fact my delivery ended up an emergency c-section. I felt an enormous failure, compacted by the fact nursing didn’t work and I wasn’t feeling the strong emotional connection I saw on commercials weekday afternoons.
I walked into church and my husband whispered in my ear that I had a rip in the back of my pants. It wasn’t huge, but he noticed. He promised to cover me, but the feel of failure and shame rose up like bile and I wanted out of there fast. As soon as we entered, we were in the car heading back home. I entertained the failure thought all the way home and for the rest of the day.
And that was the plan. Over the years I’ve learned that the true defeated one operates on a budget. His resources never renew, so he’s got to go with what works. Little pricks of failure and defeat thrown our way time and time again. It took me time and a lot of prayer, Bible reading and study to realize there’s only one defeated one.JULIE
And it isn’t me.
So fast forward a couple decades and it’s been a tough season. Oh, I’ve been through worse, but it’s been a lot of small stuff pecking away at my confidence, resolve, and faith.
Imagine my surprise when I crossed my legs at church today, the material bunched up with my Salvation Army $2 pants when I made the move and heard a rip. I placed my hand under my leg and there was skin. Yep, ripped pants again.
For a second I thought about high-tailing it out of there. My contacts had a smudge on them so I couldn’t see right, I was tired, and it had been a tough week. Leaving? It made sense.
But I knew this time around if I left, I was going to admit defeat. And I’m not the defeated one
You know what? Neither are you.
If it’s been awhile since you’ve been at church and you feel it’s been too long, you should go for it and show up. If you woke up this morning with a hangover or next to a stranger and the shame is strong, shake it off and find your way to a Bible believing and reading church. Maybe you just lost your job or were served with divorce papers you never saw coming. Perhaps you’re the one that served them. Whatever your shame situation, I’m telling you, the goal is for you to sulk and isolate yourself.
I hope you do what I did the second time around. Like Spongebob, I laughed. Not loud at first, but I decided after that second I was staying. My family was serving around the building, so I texted and asked my husband if he had a coat. I texted my son so he and his girlfriend knew I wasn’t going to stand and join them in prayer because I was pretty sure most of my left thigh was exposed with more area to come. I laughed to myself as I thought about it. These were pants that were actually big on me so although my weight has been an issue for quite awhile, I wasn’t falling for the lie today. Even funnier, when I got home and got the pants off, I still had the Salvation Army tag on them. That made it even more hilarious.
Before I got home, a friend approached me and went to hug me and I squeaked, “Don’t touch me! I ripped my pants and this jacket is falling!” And I burst into laughter. When she laughed, I didn’t even feel a tinge of shame. She knows me. She gets it was a victory I came even with good pants on. To stay with ripped pants? It was a clear act of defiance against the true defeated one.
She knew my week and I knew hers. There were times we were bottomed out by our tears and laments that God, we love you, but can You show up for this already? Where’s that breakthrough?
Well, my breakthrough was literal. They were my pants. But they were a reminder that I am NOT defeated. And no matter what your clothes look like, what you’ve done, what you’ve said, if you put your trust in Your heavenly Father and our Living Christ, you aren’t defeated either.
What I loved about writing Match Made in Heaven is that the heroine is mad at God because life didn’t work out like she thought it would when she did all the right things. For the hero, He’s scared because He’s taken tentative steps back to faith after choosing many wrong things. I’d love for you to check out Dean and Beth’s story in MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN. The latest review says, “Beth with her lack of focus feels ‘not worthy, unlovable, and not good enough.’ Julie Arduini writes a compelling inspiring story about overcoming a childhood disease and poor self esteem with well developed characters, twist and turn plot, and a believable resolution. God’s got this. Always enjoy a story when I learn something new.Julie Arduini