Forgiveness, love and grace

So this past weekend I had the privilege of time with my daughters out of town and also going home to visit my mom.  It’s a place rich with history and all kinds of emotions.  Normally I spend days, if not weeks preparing for a weekend like this trying to plan out every scenario.  What will I do if *this* happens?  Or what will my response be if she says *that*?  It would be a time of heightened anxiety, and I’d show up already partially drained and bracing for impact as it were.  I did none of that this time, in fact every time I would lose myself over the course of the drive up to begin thinking about how I should prepare myself, I would be pulled back into the moment by my daughters, talk about instruments of His grace!

Matt. 10: 19-20  “But when they deliver you up, take no thought of how or what you will speak. For it will be given you at that time what you will speak. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks through you.”

Living in recovery is often a cautious step forward, with plans that help guide my direction and faith in God that things will work out.  The further in recovery I get, the more my faith grows and this weekend was fruit born from years of effort, faith, trust and encouragement.  I don’t remember the last time I had a weekend with my mom that was so connecting, so normal and so bucket-filling.  It wasn’t perfect, but I wasn’t expecting it to be, yet I also wasn’t preparing for it to be a disaster.  It was blessed beyond measure, and came at the end of a week that started with our youngest getting the stomach-flu, that was passed on to Holly and I and all the while as a cold began to take root.  Then you remove Holly from the equation and it had many of the hallmarks of a horrid weekend, yet it was anything but and all glory goes to God.

Over some quiet time with coffee by the fire I read a passage from a book that hit home for me:

“We judge when we feel judged.
We shame when we feel shamed.
We hate when we dislike ourselves.
When we’ve been bankrupted, it is not long before we want to rob others.  It is a cycle in which everyone loses and nobody wins.”

Normally I would show up for a weekend prepared to be judged, prepared for shame to be weaponized and for me to be beaten down.  Normally I would arm my quiver with arrows ready to fire back judgement, shame and opinions that would be steeped in contempt.  I came into the weekend *unprepared* by my standards, and likely by the standards of others, yet God showed up as He always does.  In each of us are those parts that we want to change, the bad parts of our free-will given to us.  However what sometimes gets lost is that in each of us is an immense amount of good.  Together the good and the bad live together, and at times are battling for supremacy.  God knows this about each of us and has forgiven us before we even ask Him to.

Who am I to not view anyone the same way, my mom included in the long list?  I’m called to love like Christ loves us, and I haven’t always done that very well.  I’m not perfect, my recovery hasn’t been perfect and yet our Father in Heaven has chosen not to judge me or condemn me.

I’ve been in a place in the infancy of my recovery, and in my exploration and expression of my faith that things are either good or bad.  A pretty narrow perspective in a limitless world.  A limited view despite being created by a Father that can’t be contained, or measured.  To put limitations on God is to say He’s only capable of certain things, and the Alpha and Omega is more than that, larger than anything I can comprehend and my worldly self will always struggle with that concept.  We live in a world where things can be boxed and measured, but to do so with God is flawed because He is so much more, and so are we.  We forget that while we don’t walk on water, we were created to do just that when we’re living with Him.  Don’t lose sight He is more than we can understand and that we are all so much more than we believe about ourselves.  At any time we can step out of the boat to walk on water and to believe otherwise limits the gifts in our lives, and also limits Him.

I’ve tried to erase who I was, but that’s impossible to do and God doesn’t want to erase who I was, He has plans for me.  I’ve viewed others as either wholly good or wholly bad, not experiencing them as both.  At my best and at my worst both good and bad are in me.  Yet I have viewed others, judging them by holding onto the past and in doing so I elevated myself to the role of arbiter of justice.  I became the judge and jury, I put myself in the role of God.  I put myself in a position to take the place of a God that loves me, that forgives me and has blessed me.  Not exactly the most loving response, but as I continue to say and also remind myself, I am not perfect.

Rom. 12: 3  “Don’t think that you are better than you really are. You must see yourself just as you are. Decide what you are by the faith God has given each of us.”

I’m still trying to decide who I am by God’s grace and God’s faith in me.  It’s a process, an imperfect one to be sure, and the gifts continue to multiply even in my brokenness.  My shame, my brokenness isn’t a barrier as I once viewed it, instead it’s a bridge to intimacy with God and with others.  Thank you for continuing to show up and fight every day, you are so worth it and I hope you can remember that even in the worst storm you were designed to walk on water.

Grace, peace and love

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