Meeting Mess With Mercy


IMG_3811 I don’t remember a ton about that night except that I saw a lot of stars, burned a lot of gas, and cried a lot of tears.

I’d been in Colorado that October staying with my friend Abi in her new basement apartment, watching the leaves fall off the trees and watching my words hit the cutting room floor.

I’d been a journalist for a little while. I’d written a good number of stories.

But how in the world do you write the story of how God wrecked your heart? How do you put that in a form that might actually make someone else want to get up tomorrow and breathe differently?

I didn’t know.

And I didn’t feel like I was doing a great job of trying. I didn’t have answers, didn’t have a self-help book in me.

All I knew was that I was a mess — still am — and that God met me with mercy. I had gotten a taste of who God was through reading His Word, and because of that I’d started trying to chase Him … and chasing Him had changed me.

But that night in Colorado, I was chasing the road. It was cold and clear, and the stars were blurry as I talked to God with tear-filled eyes. “I don’t know how to do this,” I remember saying at the sky.

I had about half the word count of the book in my laptop at that time, but I’d probably written three times that. I just kept cutting it over and over.

It felt like it was a mess … just like me.

On that long, long car ride to nowhere, circling around and around the outskirts of Denver, I felt the weight of being entrusted with an opportunity I didn’t want to mess up.

And I was trying to outrun it, to shake it off.

I knew that writing that story was something I was totally incapable of doing. And I remember putting it all in His hands that night just like it was and telling Him that it was His all over again.

I heard someone say recently that God brought him to the end of himself, and then he realized that’s where God wanted him to stay.

I felt that way too. It happened in Birmingham. It happened in England. It had happened that night in the Middle East when I knew God was telling me to go write this book, that He was writing this story.

And it happened that night in Colorado. God had brought me back to the end of myself, because I’d tried to creep away a little bit.

This story … it was always His. And just like that story, my story is His. I can’t do anything on my own, without Him breathing life into it, into me.

Anything good in me is Him.

Anything good that comes from me is Him.

And every day, I have to lay all of me at His feet.

That hadn’t changed.

But I felt it all over again that night, the reality that the big God who made the stars had chased me out and invited me to chase after Him. He’d started to write my story from day one. And the reality settled again that in anything He brings me to, like Gideon, I’m the weakest vessel of all, and the fight is God’s.

I want to chase Him. But where this road leads — no matter where I end up, no matter whether a thousand people read this book or two, it’s His story to write. And I don’t want anything other than that.

What I want is Him. And if He’s the one I’m chasing with everything I have, then I don’t have to worry about where the story’s going, what it will do, or how it will turn out.

All I have to worry about is whether or not all of me is on the altar.

By the time I parked the Jetta back in the driveway that night, I had locked it down in my heart again.

The end of ourselves is the best place we can be.

Anything good in me is Jesus. Anything good that comes from me is Jesus.

And knowing Him is the best thing I could ever give anyone.

And that’s what “I Don’t Wait Anymore” is about.

No, that’s not it.

That’s what life is about.

And I can’t wait to see where this story goes.

11800535_953743633568_2218030941288949368_nGrace Thornton loves a good story. She believes that God writes the best stories, even when our lives may not look anything like what we imagined. As a storyteller and blogger, Grace has found her narrative taking her all over the world. She’s passionate about knowing God through His Word and encouraging others to discover Him and let Him write the story of their lives too. Her blog,, received more than 2 million visits after her post “I Don’t Wait Anymore,” on living fully as a single person, went viral in 2012.