Isn’t it great that God doesn’t love us because we are lovely in his sight, but because we are sinners? I was just writing about this in my journal the other day. He didn’t go to the cross because we deserved His sacrifice, He went because we were completely undeserving and He wanted to give us complete grace. Phewf hey?

There are times where I’ve done some things completely terrible. Things that are totally against what I believe is right, things full of sin, things that fill me with shame. And I think “Oh God, I’m so sorry, I’ve messed up again”. He looks at me with warm eyes and says “My girl, I love you! Not because you’re good and perfect, but because you are human and you need me.”

All I need to do is repent and sit at his feet.

That’s it.

Satan tries to have his hay-day and remind me of my sin. He tries to fill me with regret and attack me with thoughts of shame. Thoughts of being undeserving. Thoughts of hopelessness. But just coming to God’s throne with a spirit of humbleness is all I need to do. He offers forgiveness without cost; gladly opening His arms for me.

I feel like I am constantly messing up. I try to live a good life. I try to be good, really good. You know? But I always seem to throw a stick in the spokes. I hate it, but I know it’s ok. It’s all in God’s plan, He knows my faults, He knows my story, and He’s working it out to be an amazing testimony.

It’s humbling, and I think that’s a great part about messing up. It keeps me on my knees, which is exactly where I need to be. I mess up so often, I don’t have time to be self-righteous (or maybe I’ve become self-righteous about not being self-righteous…haha). The moment I feel like I’m doing pretty good, self happens and knocks me down again.

I’m so grateful for His patience and for those strong arms that pick me up every time.

“It’s alright, My Girl, I’ve got you.”

I was reading Psalm 46:5 this morning: “God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at the break of day”. And I heard a voice remind me “No matter what mistakes happened last night, this verse is still for you. My word is still written for you”.

I don’t have to do anything but ask forgiveness and it’s there. I don’t have to do anything but accept the love He’s offering and it’s there. What a blessing…and that’s an understatement.

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The Grace in Struggle

When you see someone in a place in life that they shouldn’t be, do you automatically cringe and think “Wow, that’s not good!”? Say they’re sleeping around, say they’re partying, say they’re running from their marriage…Do you stop to think that where they are is exactly where they need to be?

I don’t believe that any of these circumstances are good, or that God would desire anyone to sleep around or party or run from their marriage. But sometimes doing these things is what it takes for us to be turned into a passionate, devoted and enthusiastic follower of Christ.

What if we viewed these circumstances in our loved ones, or even in strangers around us, as grace filled opportunity for the individuals and their families to see God work miracles?

I have experienced first hand how quickly people give up on others when they turn away from their Christian walk and behavior. To be completely honest, it’s disgusting how quickly we give up on people that are struggling. If they don’t turn their lives around in our timetable or in the way that makes sense to us, we move on and encourage others to move on. It’s completely unbiblical. If only we would have the courage to wait on God’s timing and to remember that there is a plan and purpose for absolutely every single thing, even hurt and pain and detestable actions…if only we would present our requests to God, if only we would fight for those who are struggling, if only we would remember that Satan is already conquered, if only we wouldn’t give up so quickly!

I also know first hand the power of prayer and the completeness of the Grace of God. God’s love covers all sins, brings his people out of the impossibility of their situations and transforms hearts and lives to a point of disbelief. Prayer works! I felt prayer as I was running away from the Lord. I knew when people were praying for me and it made me mad.

Yes, I was living in a horrible lifestyle. My actions were disgusting, my life was very far from where a Christian girl should have been…but I was still exactly where I was meant to be because it was part of God’s plan. I don’t believe that I would have ever been as passionate as I am about God if I hadn’t gone through this rebellious period. I don’t think I would have believed God’s power if I hadn’t seen and felt it first hand.

I wonder what would happen if we refused to give up on those around us that are struggling. If we refused to stop praying for them. If we refused to stop waiting for them to come back to the Lord. If we refused to believe that our prayers are going unanswered.

What would happen if, next time you saw a friend that wasn’t living out their Christian walk, you praised God. Praised God that he is bringing them through this trial in order to show them a miracle. Praised God that he is turning one of his creations into a person that will live passionately for him. Praised God that he is chasing after them. Praised God that he isn’t giving up on them. Praised God that he has the grace to lead them down this ugly path in order to show them how beautiful and powerful he really is.

If we understood how powerful our prayers were, we would never get off of our knees.

-Unknown

My sin put him on that cross.

My beautiful savior, Jesus, the blood dripping down his side, down his face. The thorn crown shoved into his scalp, the cold wind biting at his naked skin, as he lay there crying in pain, screaming, they pounded the nails deeper into his wrists.

As I turned away from my husband, that hammer hit the head of the nail. Pain seared through my loving Jesus’ body, his waist raised up in anguish, his face contorted in horror.

As I slept with that stranger, my merciful redeemer’s blood dripped deep red down his face, past his steaming eyes. Blood I caused, pain and hurt I made him endure. The pain from the jagged thorns pushed against the bone of his forehead stinging as it dug deeper with every movement.

As I signed those divorce documents, my beautiful master’s cross was raised up to stand in the dirt. His body’s weight hung from the long nails embedded in his arms and feet, tearing into his flesh and bones. His body was broken. Skin hung from exposed muscle, it was mutilated by whips, thorns and nails, because of me.

Jesus wailed in pain, screaming for his Father, wanting comfort, but there was no answer. God turned his face from him in this moment. Because of me.

Barely able to breathe, the indescribable emotional burden of my sin, of the wrong I have committed, weighing on his heart. He felt all of hurt I was causing him, he knew what I would do ahead of time and he carried the weight of my sins as he carried his cross to the hill where he would die.

While I was taking pleasure in the sin I was committing, Jesus was in complete, overtaking agony, on the cross.

He knew ahead of time what I would do and that I wouldn’t comprehend that I was causing him this hurt. He knew that I wouldn’t consider that. And he still agreed to be tortured. He knew that I would sin against him over and over again, not thinking about the cost he would pay, and he still volunteered to cover me with his blood.

A spear ripped into his side, blood poured out, audibly landing on the ground at his feet. A scream of agony.

“Father, forgive them for they do now know what they are doing.”

I didn’t know.

I couldn’t see.

And I don’t know what would be worse. Looking back at the irresponsible acts I did and knowing that even though I had been taught it my whole life, I somehow couldn’t see that I was hurting my God? Or being able to see, hearing him tell me this, but just not caring or comprehending and going ahead with it anyways.

And it was Easter weekend that God brought me back to him.

The weekend that we celebrate his death and resurrection. The weekend that we celebrate that God saves us from our sin, no questions asked. Easter weekend Jesus himself gently took me by the shoulders, and whispered “Beautiful girl, it’s time you saw.”

His one hand held my cheek as the other gently but firmly took the scales from my eyes. And as the light was finally allowed in, I saw him there before me, his kind and soft face smiling at me, and I knew what I had done.

His face told me everything.

It told me he loved me. It told me he already knew everything about me. It told me that he had covered my sin already. It told me that I was his beautiful girl.

His eyes lit up with excitement as he saw my recognition of him. He threw back his head and laughed, “I’ve been waiting for this moment.”

And in that instant, I knew I was saved. I was rescued and nothing I had ever done mattered to my God. All he cared about was that I was with him again. He had paid the price for me and knew ahead of time what I would do against him and once I asked forgiveness and tried to explain myself, he wrapped me in his crimson cloak, and said “My little girl, you have and always will be my bride.”