Monday, February 27, 2012

Grace Moment

When I was writing my novel, my goal was to make it so vivid you could see it happening in your mind. It was definitely the case as I wrote it, I could see it, like a movie. As I was ending the creative process I was driving to pick my son up from school one afternoon and I heard a song for the first time. It was Kathryn Scott's "Grace Has Called My Name." As I listened to it, I could see a very particular scene in the book happening along to the song, and since that day, in my mind the song has been called "Taryn's Song" after the main character of "Homecoming."

This song now holds a really special place in my heart. It's a beautiful song, and whenever I hear it, I can see the scene in the book, over and over again. But today my heart has been feeling low, and I've been thinking about my own moment when "grace called my name."

It's interesting to me that so many people struggle with accepting God's love for them. For me that is never my point of distress. I am completely confident in God's love for me because of that moment in my life, and all that led up to it. My struggle is with the love and acceptance of others, but not at all is it difficult to comprehend Christ's love for me.

I was finally coming to terms with my abortion. I was seeking God, and growing in His word, and I was in a bible study with a group of women like me. Our stories were all different but we were all connected through the tragedy of abortion. The Lord was finally going to bring healing for to my heart, but it meant cleaning out the deep infection that had been buried for years. The pain was necessary, but it was great.

I was driving for hours, all over town. My heart was broken, and I was weeping. Honestly I don't know where I went or how I got there. I was wrought with brokenness and despair. Honestly it's probably a miracle I wasn't in an accident, I didn't have my wits about me in the least.

When my father and my mother forsake me,
Then the Lord will take care of me.

Psalm 27:10

I had heard the verse, and I desperately wanted to find hope in it. But my heart still ached from the choice I had been given when I was unmarried and pregnant just a few years before, "abort my baby or lose my family." And I hated the girl who chose her comfort over the life of her child. And part of me hated my parents for "making" me become her. And even though there was hope in this verse, it didn't alleviate the pain of the betrayal.

Exhausted from the tears I'd shed, I somehow managed to drive myself home. I was overwhelmed with pain, and guilt too. I had lied to Neal. He never knew about my abortion I had told him I'd lost the baby, when the reality was, I had lost myself. Oh the ache of betrayal, shame and guilt that needed to be cleansed from my heart.

Neal had forgiven me, and I had done my best to forgive my parents, but I was consumed with how unlovely I was, and I knew that I had sinned against God in the most heinous of ways. I felt so alone in my pain.

I walked into our bedroom and lay on the bed, the weeping continued. Neal was away for the weekend and I was alone in my guilt and grief. I collapsed across our bed and wept for hours.

That was when my Grace Moment happened, the moment "grace called my name." It was a supernatural moment, and one that I imagine many people won't even believe happened, but I know it did, and I know it was real. As I lay there asleep I felt held. I literally felt the embrace of heaven. God's loving arms around me. It was the moment I felt God's grace and forgiveness, and I knew it was mine.

Grace called my name.

Something solidified in my heart in that moment. I knew God loved me. And I knew the depth of agape, unconditional love. I knew, to the depth of my being, that He loved me because of Who He was, and not because of anything I had ever done to earn His love. And not only could I not earn it, I could not lose it, because God could not change Who He was, and He was, and is Love.

It was the way that issue was settled in my heart that led me to a place where I could truly forgive my parents, and even more, I could learn to "forgive myself," or rather, I could learn to walk in His forgiveness. I was His beloved, and I knew it. I still know it.

It is the most wonderful thing, and yet somehow,it never seems to be enough. Daily I still struggle to find my place in this world. I know my place in the next, but in this, I feel like such an alien- a square peg full of round holes. And every day, I battle the sense of rejection every day. I don't know what I would do if I didn't know the Lord loved me. I don't know how people get through this life without knowing God loves them. I am so grateful for my Grace Moment that settled that matter for me.

Oh how I wish that my confidence in God's love was enough to make me not care what others think of me. Oh to have as much confidence in who I am as I do in Who loves me. But I am thankful for this at least, grace called my name, and it is that "Grace Moment" that sustains me.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

100 Verse Challenge - Week 24

Week 24 of the 100 Verse Challenge. Timely, timely, always timely- that's what I have found as we have wandered through this process of memorizing the verses from Robert J. Morgan's book 100 Verses Everyone Should Know by Heart. This week as we learn and memorize a passage of scripture about sacrifice, it feels very appropriate as I am observing my first Lent.

Morgan shares a story in his book this week about holocaust survivor Corrie ten Boom and a sermon she preached on today's passage exhorting her hearers to be "living sacrifices." Afterwards, the story tells us, she was invited by two nurses to their apartment for lunch. When she got to their apartment she found the women lived on the tenth floor and there was no elevator in the building. ten Boom, who was 80 years old at the time, struggled up the ten flights of stairs one step at a time grumbling and complaining to herself every step of the way.

Once she was in the apartment though, she had opportunity to share the gospel with one of the girl's parents, and she had the even greater joy of leading them to Christ. The story goes on to say that unlike her ascension up the stairs, on the way down every step was filled with thanksgiving for the eternal moment she experienced and the joy of it.

When God always asks us to sacrifice, there is always eternal benefit in it. It may not always be as clear and obvious as it was with Corrie ten Boom, but we can have confidence in God accomplishing hi purpose through us even when we cannot see it.

The second verse in this passage also speaks to me. I believe the reason God has called me to fast from Facebook during this season of Lent is because He needs to do some serious correcting in my way of thinking. The spirit of rejection that I battle in my mind needs to be dealt with, and there is no better way to do that than to renew our thoughts, which means purposeful and focused time in the Word of God, and sitting at His feet.

Morgan reminds us, "Every temptation comes to us via our thoughts, making the mind the battleground of the soul." Though I don't think Facebook itself is the issue, for me, it makes me too focused on self, and what I think of me rather than focusing on the Truth of who God says I am. Stepping away from the "faulty mirror" (for me) of Facebook and looking into the accurate reflection I find in God's Word is a much healthier place to be.

So here we go, here's this week's passage for memorizing (two verses), what do they speak to you?

Therefore brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God;
this is your spiritual worship.
Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is good, pleasing, and the perfect will of God.

Romans 12:1-2

PS. I have released my first novel. It is currently available on Kindle and in paperback on my website. You can find out more information by going to my website, - look around carefully and you'll find a discount code worth 15% that's good through Wednesday. Hope you'll read it!