Ever wake up and just know that today is the day? Today is the day that you finally admit the truth about yourself? That you are FINALLY willing to admit, to verbalize, to announce out loud (even if just to yourself in the bathroom mirror)....that you are....Fill in the blank. Mornings that stay in your memory for the rest of your life. I don't know about you, but I have had about 5 mornings like that in my short life, and today was one of them.
I had been struggling with my failures this last couple of weeks...as usual. Letting down kind friends, being too busy to breathe, missing physically the feeling of robustness that comes with good diet and exercise, wanting to know if I was ruining my children, failing my husband and all in all, doubting the reason for taking up space on the planet. Now, in my right conscious mind I had the answers that I should and haven't been necessarily crotchety or depressed. But in the quiet of my mind, when I toss and turn in bed, I wondered...I wondered if maybe, just maybe...I was the exception to God's "I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you, and not harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." Jer 29:11 Just maybe God didn't mean that for me, because, in the word's of my son, I "fail at life". (He says that jokingly, don't worry- I would have him in counseling if he told me that for real.)
Long story short- this morning was that morning. I finally looked in the mirror, and couldn't pretend anymore. I admitted to myself "Renee, you just don't GET grace." Ugh. Those that know me, know how much I struggle with this, and how much MORE I struggle with not understanding something!:) Give me the rule book, let me pay you back, don't say Happy birthday or give me presents, because then I will owe you. Being a Christian, I love the sound of grace and it's a pretty doctrine to have on the shelf, and I KNOW that I can't be with God without it, but in the closets of my mind, I hope that I can EARN something, PAY BACK something for all that God does. That was my revelation- I just don't GET IT and I MUST if I want to be effective in this life. Not only must I understand grace, but I WANT to understand it and embrace it. I am so hoping that realization is truly the first step to recovery. :)
I finally realized: FICTION: You are a Christian and an adult, a free born American with more blessings than you can count- you should have it together by now, Loser. FACT: You do "fail at life", Renee. And that isn't necessarily going to change the harder you try. You will always make mistakes because of your natural bent towards self gratifying, "Center of the Universe" thinking. Someday you might not do it in such big and bold ways, but even when you are 85- you will still mess up.
All week God has been throwing GRACE in my face. From the book review I have been trying to write, the scriptures I have been reading, even when a good friend was telling me the best way to witness to a Mormon- grace, grace, grace. I flipped out over a facebook comment today- why? Because it reminded me of the crappy person I was before Christ, and I didn't want to deal with this GRACE issue. Bah! When God starts slinging, it does no use dodging right? I think, though, that He finally brought it home- with a nice coconut cream pie to the nose tonight.
Now, for the best part: GRACE makes the fiction disappear, and the FACT easier to swallow. If the God who has "determined the number of the stars and calls them each by name", the God who is "mighty in power (and) His understanding has no limit" (Psalm 147:4-5), if that God was willing to come down here, to live and walk around in a finite body for the sake of saving my neck, the very best and only thing I can do is say "Thank You". Grace was defined once as "God's Riches At Christ's Expense". So true, and so perfect. I am praying that you feel that grace right now with me, and know that no matter what you might THINK about yourself and your record, God isn't going to give you what you deserve- He is going to give you what Christ earned for you...life everlasting. I still don't totally understand it, don't totally know what to do with it besides smile and praise God for His goodness, but Isaiah 54 reminds me a little of how great knowing God's grace really is:
"Do not be afraid; you will not suffer shame.
Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated.
You will forget the shame of your youth
and remember no more the reproach...
For your Maker is...the LORD Almighty...
the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer;
he is called the God of all the earth." (Verses 4-5)
Right now...God's grace is more than sufficient for me...for the first time in weeks. :)
"But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved." Ephesians 2:4-5
Mmmmmm...hang out in Ephesians 2 a little while tonight, it is DELICIOUS.