My Cup Runneth Over (and it maketh a mess)

I was already about eight weeks along and we were going to Mass at a friend's house as part of a birthday party.  We hadn't yet told anyone.  Odd for me since I usually like people to know right away and want all the prayers.  But for the first time ever, I was still in a bit of denial.  I was still processing the fact that yes, this was real and yes, we were doing this again.  I wasn't ready to share just yet.  Plus, I was feeling pukey and it was better for me to just buck up and get through it than think about it too much.

Mass was in the backyard.  There were dozens of little kids and we brought our lawn chairs and the parish priest walked over to celebrate Mass for us.  And despite my general pukiness, it was beautiful.  This whole group of families praying and singing together on a chilly and sunny October afternoon.
There was music and as we made our way through the blankets and cold grass to receive Him, it played.

Fill my cup, let it overflow.
And the words hit me hard.

Lord?  That cup of mine?  It's pretty full already, Lord.  You see that, right?  Haven't I shown you already that I'm terrible at this cup handling thing?  And yet You're really going to keep going?  Really, I'm okay.  You can head on over to the next table, please.  See that lady, there?  She needs it more than I do and it looks from here like her cup is pretty empty.   She should have my share.  I'll set that cup out when I'm ready but I'm all set for now, thanks.

How often we hear that phrase "overflowing cup" and yet I had never really stopped to think what a dang mess that is.  I mean, who wants their cup to overflow?  I don't really mean that.  I want mine just full enough, thank you.  Ready when I want it, full when I want it, and certainly not empty but NOT runnething over and all that, getting my hands and table all stained and messy.  I want the blessings to be neat and perfectly timed and manageable, filling my cup just enough so that it doesn't make a mess and still brings joy.  You can pour, Lord, but You should know better than to spill.

Yet His method is so different.  His table waiting methods would never pass at even the most mediocre of restaurants.  He chooses as He wills to pour until we feel we can't on our own handle it anymore and the blessings come streaming down the table, until our hands and lips are stained with the blessings and we are changed and become more like Him, reveling in the good and beautiful.  We learn how to love and trust with abandon, letting those blessings overflow to the people and world around us.  He pours where He wills and sometimes it seems unfair and ridiculous, not pouring when we're desperately thirsty and overflowing our cup when we already can't catch a breath.

It all seems so very messy.  At least from our perspective.  And I'm not sure there's anyone who loathes and distrusts a mess more than I do.  Why can't this life, this whole plan, be a little more organized?  Why can't we each get the perfect amount in our cup, enough that we can handle it well and it all makes sense?

God is perfect order.  His plan is not haphazard or out of control.  Yet, it often seems that way to us.
I've begun to think of it like a mosaic.  If I were all shrunken down and standing in the midst of a giant mosaic, what would I see when looking around?  Fragments and random colors and lines of mortar gluing the jagged and crooked pieces together.  It would seem a mess.  Why would this color be next to this color?  I don't see any pattern or order anywhere and this piece certainly should be here and not there.  But from the eternal God point of view, high above our understanding and limited perspective, it all makes sense.  What we thought was a mess was a million little pieces perfectly and intricately put together to create something beautiful.  And someday I believe, I hope, we will see that mosaic in its fullness.

So I did that afternoon what I do and I tried to let the words begin to penetrate my overwhelmed and fearful heart.  And, of course, I cried.  Because that's also what I do.

Lord, (deep breath) okay.
Fill my cup and help me handle the overflow.  I don't particularly like it, but this life is messy.  Love is messy.  Opening my heart to Your will is messy.  Teach me how to see this perceived mess as beautiful, as blessing, as part of that perfectly amazing mosaic you have planned.
This crazy, beautiful, messy life…it's Yours.
Fill my cup, Lord.  Let it overflow.

To let go of the control, to trust in His ways is not easy for an organized control freak like me.  But one drop at a time, or perhaps one gushing spill at a time, He'll help me get there.

"Thou anointest my head with oil,
    my cup overflows."

Psalm 23:5


  1. That was excellent. Thank you.

  2. Okay. First. You had a Mass outside with friends. Just the thought of it makes me think of all the beautiful goodness and intimacy! Second, this reflection is so fantastic! I love your perspective and insight. It's just so spot on and lovely. Thank you for this and all the things you write!


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