Thursday, May 30, 2013

On Grace

"He is faithful, even when we're not."

These were Taylor's parting words to me tonight.  We finally got to have a lengthy talk after weeks of life keeping us both so busy we barely had time for communication.  Which is different for us because for quite a while there, we were regularly talking at least once a week.  And considering the details of what last night's post entailed, I knew I could really use a chat with him.  He's still probably the person that I can be the most open with; despite the fact that Matt and Ryann truly are my best friends, I can't be this open with them, especially not about God and my faith because they just don't get it.  Taylor gets it.  Over the past year+ since my week in Nashville, we have formed a bond that means we somehow just instinctively know what the other one means, what they need from us - whether it's advice or just an ear to listen.  This is probably my easiest friendship.

But anyway, we spent a good 40 minutes talking tonight, and not only was it just good to catch up with him, I got to talk to him about a lot of the stuff I wrote about last night and in other recent posts.  How I feel like such a mess lately.  How sometimes I want to punch Chelsea in the face (I'm so thankful I can say things like that with him with no judgment).  How much of an outsider I feel like when I'm with my family.

But the biggest thing that I talked about was how I feel like my mood and actions around my family are me failing God.  Taylor reminded me of something I forget so easily and so often because of my perfectionist tendencies.  Of course I'm going to fail God - I'm human!  Failing is kind of in my nature ever since that whole eating the forbidden fruit in the garden thing way back.

This is what grace is for.  Grace means God loves me unconditionally, in spite of my failures and shortcomings.  Grace means God loves me in spite of me.  This isn't like my job at Hardee's - God's never going to fire me from being His child.  This a gift, a gift that, once accepted, is never taken back.  I have to stop living in fear that this failure is "the one" - the one that's going to make God finally give up on me.  Every time that I lose my cool with my family, every time that I think or say or do something that I shouldn't and that doesn't reflect my faith in Christ, God loves me just the same as He does when I am ministering to people, going to church, being "good" - because even my "good" is still wicked (Isaiah 64:6).

Grace is what saved me (Ephesians 2:8).  Grace is given to me now, in all of my imperfections.  There is no such thing as God giving up on us after Jesus' sacrifice on the cross.  If there was, I'm about 1000% certain my baptism wouldn't have happened.  So now I just have to learn to stop beating myself up for all of my failures and shortcomings because God knows I've screwed up and He loves me just the same, anyway.

Even when I question what He is doing with my journey with chronic pain, He is faithful to craft my story in the most beautiful way, a way I could never pull off on my own.  He hears my questions and doubts and frustration, and is patient and faithful to ease my nerves and calm my heart.  This reminds me of one of my favorite song lyrics, a song I first heard the night of my baptism.

I have to learn to give myself the same grace that God shows me.  If He can love me through all of my mess-ups, the least I should be able to do is love myself.  Besides, He is so much bigger than my sin.

I can feel Him working...growing and stretching me from the inside out.  Sometimes it's been kind of painful, but at my core, I know that it's all for my good and His glory.  And that's what matters.

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