Thursday, August 29, 2013

There Is Grace for That

When I am so overwhelmed, I can hardly breathe for the anxiety...

There is grace for that.

When I snap at a co-worker, or fail to return a phone call, or forget my password for what must be at least the thousandth time...

There is grace for that.

When I am unsure if my extreme emotions are my own or due solely to new medication...

There is grace even for that.

When the exuberance of my children sounds like clanging, the whining like grating, the silliness like more than I can bear...

Is there still grace for that?

When the fog is descending and the questions are coming so much faster than the answers ever could, when the speed of life seems to have increased just as my ability to cope seems to have vanished, when my breath is whooshing and my pulse sounds deafening, yet somehow sleep is beckoning all the livelong day...

Grace? Where is grace for that?

Sometimes the grace is found in the admitting. It's in the lying down with the two-year-old in the calm of the evening. 
"Are you sick, Mommy?" 
"No, baby. Mommy's just super crabby."
"We should pray for you. You do it."
"You're right, baby. We should. Jesus, I'm sorry that I'm crabby. Please forgive me for all the sins that I've done today while feeling like this. Please help me to be kind. Please help me not to feel super crabby anymore. Amen."

And there it is. There are snuggles. There are sweet kisses. There are whispers in the dark. 

And there is grace for that.

In the morning, when the fog descends again and the breathing becomes shallow, when day is looming and despair is threatening and tears start streaming...

Again, where is grace for that?

Maybe it's found in a simple invitation in between the sobs.
"I am a mess. I invite You into the middle of it. Do with it what you will." 

And the breathing slows, and the sun peeks through, and a smile beckons as He sits in the middle of my beautiful mess...

Because there is grace for that.

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Cause

The sermon, or "talk" as it's called in our new cool church, was about worship. He started by telling us what worship looks like, that it often presents as thinking about something or someone all the time, elevating it/them on a pedestal, letting it/them consume much of our mental energy or focus. 

He shared the story of meeting his wife and how he worshiped her those first months, thinking about her all the time, waiting for her outside her classes, wanting to be with her every second, etc. He talked about the first time he saw his idol, Michael Jordan, play the game and the feelings of awe it evoked. 

Then he went on to explain that we can...and do...worship anything. As he cited various examples, I could see a little of myself in each of them. But then he said, "You can worship a cause," and I felt as if a sword had descended...
...and sliced my soul in two. The Holy Spirit spoke to me and said, "That's you. That's what you do." 

I have a passion for the marginalized. I want so badly to be a voice for the weak, the oppressed, the exploited. I want to shine a light into the dark corners of our world where children are abandoned, women are enslaved, the disabled are caged. 

So I sit here typing this while wearing my "Love the Unloved" Sevenly shirt, and my abolitionist necklace, with James 1:27 tattooed on my arm, and I wonder when the shift began. 

When did I stop worshiping God and begin to worship that which He laid on my heart, instead?

He called me to this after I had been praying for awhile, "Please break my heart with what breaks Yours." I know that He gave me this heart for the least of these. He clearly opened my eyes and allowed me to see beyond my own nose to the world of suffering around me. 

As believers, we have a responsibility to set the captives free, to feed the hungry, to bring healing and hope to a lost world. There are around two thousand Scriptures that address the need and the response that God wants us to have. I am not denying that there is a war going on and the amount of casualties is staggering. We need to be fighting for change. 

But unless He is leading the charge, it is all for naught. Somewhere along the way, I left Him behind. The cause energized me. It gave me focus and greater purpose. It became enough.

But it's not.

Chagrined and convicted, I repented. May my life be about God, and Him only. May my heart be Him glorified above all else. May I worship God, and God alone.
But the time is coming and is already here when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for anyone who will worship Him that way. John 4:23 (NLT)
And when He looks for those that worship Him that way, may He see me.