redemption

‘Jesus died to save me from my sin.’

It’s the stereotypical sunday school gospel. It’s the first thing that pops into my head when I think ‘Gospel.’

Which is really unfortunate because it’s not exactly true. It’s only a smidgen of the truth. Sure Jesus saved me from my sin…from myself…from my terribly twisted attitudes and actions. I believe that one hundred percent.

But what about all the pain in my heart that’s not my fault? Because there really truly are times when my brokenness is the result of someone else’s sin, or just a side effect of living on a messed up earth.

I think Jesus died for more than forgiveness. More than “you’re off the hook for that rotten thing you said the other day.”

He died for redemption. For the restoration of the entire world to what he originally intended it to be. He died to reverse the downward spiral humanity is on.

And that includes the redemption of my heart. From everything it’s done and everything that’s been done to it. He died to return my broken heart and life to something beautiful, purely reflecting him.

So maybe sanctification is bigger than me acting and talking like Jesus. Maybe it’s just as much the way he gives me peace, hope, and joy, slowly reversing not just my terrible attitudes, but also the ravaging effect a torn and bleeding world has had on my soul. And maybe my part in that is to let it show. To live in a gracious honest way so that people near me can sense in my heart the beginnings of redemption and life being made whole.

and another reason

Another reason I should never feel inadequate:

God sees me as perfect. He made my personality quiet and shy, my body shape thin with wide hips, my temperament melancholy, my hair uncontrollable, my heart kind, my teeth slightly crooked, and my facial features small…the way he thought was perfect. On top of that, he sent his son to die for me so that when his perfection goes wrong and I start puking sin everywhere, even that is taken away and my whole person is perfect to him. He calls it holy. I am holy.

That’s how God sees me.

But when I am mad because my hair is dumb, or upset because something doesn’t fit me right, or sad because I’m always sad, or angry because I hurt someone, or scared because I’m out of my comfort zone for the 2435479th time that day, I start telling myself that I’m not good enough. For anybody, for anything, for life. And I lie to myself over and over and over, claiming the exact opposite of what God says is true about me.

I claim to know better than God. I claim to know true beauty, because I’m obviously not it. I claim to know what personalities are the best, because it’s obviously not mine. I claim to know what sins will cause the most damage to the world, because they’re definitely mine.

And in the bad attitude and depression I unknowingly claim to be better and wiser than God.

Oops.

So I need to remind myself when I’m feeling not good enough, that God says I am. And who am I to argue with God?

 

Inadequate

Inadequate.

It’s been circling my brain lately. In not such a good way.

‘You aren’t good enough to mentor high school girls. You aren’t experienced enough to find a decent dental assistant job. You aren’t devoted enough to be a good Christian. You aren’t selfless enough to love your husband right. You are undeserving, inexperienced, messed up, selfish, and broken. There is no way you can do that. You are inadequate.’

It plays on repeat. I try not to listen. I live my life despite it. But eventually it wears me down until I’m simply too tired to do anything but watch some Friends and laugh.

The thing is alot of it is true. I am broken, messed up, inexperienced, and selfish.

What I forget is the counter truth: Jesus.

He makes up for my inadequacies. He is everything I am not, he has everything I am lacking. And I have him so I am adequate. He is what makes me good enough to face life. By myself I’m not so great, and definitely not all that qualified for anything. But he is.

7.15

It’s a bit late…but one year ago, this happened: 0116It’s still the best decision I ever made. Cody is my hero…he encourages me to do the things I’ve always wanted too, tells me it’s ok to be sad, reminds me of Jesus, makes me think, and kisses me all the time. He works hard at a frustrating job, and is passionate about finding ways to serve Jesus more. I live to share a laugh with him, and I’m even more proud to be his than I was a year ago.

to be real

It has been along time. And my excuses are not that impressive:

I forgot.

I don’t write if I don’t have anything noteworthy to say. Which is a bad habit for any writer. Brilliance doesn’t come when you’re sitting around waiting for it.

I learned that depression is real and not made up by overly dramatic people. One result of continuous bummed-outness is a downward plunge in the desire to be social or communicative…even on blogs.

It’s not necessarily healthy to indulge my tendencies to seclusion; but being depressed doesn’t make it any easier to transform my introvertedness into something social…ish.

I hate admitting my struggle with depression. It’s far from the horrors it could be, and I feel guilty knowing my sadness can’t even compare to degree others suffer from it. Things in my life are actually pretty swell too so it feels like I’m overreacting to nothing. If anything I should be overjoyed with life right now.

But there’s no doubt it’s real. There’s clear moments where I know I’m not being silly, emotional, or exaggerating my feelings. My heart rate goes up, irrational fear fills me, and it feels like I’m watching myself do normal life from a dark dirty corner. Literally.

For years I firmly believed that depression was sin. Black and white. A person saved by Jesus should be constantly ecstatic. He has saved me, loved me, showed me mercy, grace and forgiveness literally without measure. He is so much bigger than my pain or problems. If sadness hits…it seems only true that God’s goodness in me should so dwarf my pain that dwelling on it would be wrong.

And maybe so…

But what about all those times in the Bible where Yahweh himself is sad:

Then the Israelites put aside their foreign gods and served the LORD. And he was grieved by their misery.    Judges 10.16

Oh, how often they rebelled against him in the wilderness and grieved his heart in that dry wasteland.    Psalm 78.40

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.     Ephesians 4.30

Then Jesus wept.     John 11.35

Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it.     Luke 19.41

And being in agony, he prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling to the ground.     Luke 22.44

Jesus was in such emotional turmoil about what his circumstances that he even asked the Father if there was another way. Jesus was perfect.

God himself is sad and upset by the messed-upness of this world. The people he made in his very own likeness whom he dearly loves and adores live in a chaotic horrific world that leaves them broken at every turn. Not to mention the way we have relentlessly hurt his heart and abused his love many times over.

God knows better than anyone how well things will end. How at the end of it all, his church will be saved, and the world will be as it was supposed to be when it was made. He does not doubt his own plan, goodness, and love. But he’s still sad. The reality of goodness doesn’t mean we have to deny the reality of pain. Both are equally true.

And as far as my own little crying heart goes…that’s pretty much all it has figured out. To not deny the realness of the pain. And to recognize that there are legitimate reasons for sadness and even depression.

Still, joy is a learning curve. It takes practice, choice, and guts. And this I don’t have figured out. I can choose joy…but I squash the sad. Or I give into the sad and can’t choose joy. Both are wrong.

But I realize…I’m excited to learn. It may take years and years. But my Savior will not leave me treading water. He will teach me how to balance grief and joy and I will know him better for experiencing both.

IMG_1474

…cody still holds true to his promise to never let me go a day without flowers . it’s 2 1/2 years…

things that happened while I was ignoring you

my apologies for being a lousy blogger. but i have a life (code for nothing smart enough in my brain to write about). so get over it. however I will try to appease your gallimaufry withdrawals with this little photo update:

20130531-222648.jpgCody was kind enough to drive me all the way to Montana to see my family and attend a dear friend’s wedding

20130531-222701.jpgCody turned 21…finally. i no longer have to buy his beer. You’d think being his sole provider of beer would be a wonderful advantage as his wife. Unfortunately I’m too nice for that. Which makes it simply a pain.

20130531-222721.jpgThis brave 6 year old had an successful 8 hr heart surgery and obviously came through strong and proud…and no longer purple.

20130531-222744.jpgWe brought this annoyance home. I promptly fell in love right before the realization that Cody is simply too allergic for a happy ending.

20130531-222753.jpgThis beauty got hitched.

20130531-222818.jpgI taught myself a little bit of this…

20130531-222840.jpg…and some of that.

20130531-222914.jpgAnd ink happened.

heaven

If you think about it honestly…who really wants to sing to harp music and be blinded by golden streets for eternity. It’s definitely better than the other option but still…as much as I am ecstatic be with Jesus, I will admit the traditional picture of heaven gives me the yawns.

I really don’t think this is what heaven will be like at all. God created us with the built in desire to create, imagine, work, and socialize. This was part of life before things went wrong in the beginning, and I’m fairly certain these human traits won’t just vanish in the end either.

I’ve always imagined heaven more like C.S. Lewis describes it in the last Narnia book. Narnia heaven has the same geography as the old Narnia…everything is just so much magnificently better! Who knows what it will exactly be like. But I’m fairly certain that when Christ comes back to establish his perfect kingdom…it’s going to look like he intended it to look like in the beginning: his people living in unity creating and working and building for him. Only this time we won’t have the option to mess it up.