How’s 2013 going for you thus far? I believe I can safely say that 2013 is bound to be filled with the greatest change and growth for me yet in all my twenty (rapidly approaching twenty-one) years. And falling off the ottoman in the last moments of 2012 has nothing to do with it.
Or, maybe it does.
It was during Leesha’s “End of the Year Report” – what a wonderful report she had – yes, the final minutes of the glorious year 2012, and I had to re-position the ottoman I was sitting on. The red room, the cozy fireplace, and my family surrounding me began to disappear in slow motion as the ottoman dramatically began to tip. The thought plodded (as I related, it was all in slow motion) through my mind, “Oh. I’m falling over. And I can’t stop it.” BAM went the ottoman and KER-SLAM went me. My back responded in whimpers of pain as my family burst out laughing. (I admit, it must have been a hilarious sight.) I – slightly humiliated - picked up the fallen ottoman, wondering what exactly happened, and resumed my perch on the suddenly untrustworthy piece of furniture.
Okay. What does that have to do with 2013?
On January 7th, I recorded in my devotional journal,
“This process of regeneration is slow and difficult. I do feel like I am dying inside, but in a good way. It’s slowly becoming easier to accept serving and sacrifice, and to say ‘no’. The wave of battles comes and goes. I can only rely of the grace of God.
Grace, my word for 2013.
Oh, how I have realized my need for immersing myself in the grace of God. How I have spurned His amazing grace so many times and not fully applied it to myself. I need grace. I also need to learn to have grace for myself. Grace for others. How to be more graceful and grace-full.
‘But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.’ (2nd Peter 3:18)”
Though the “graceful” part could apply well to tipping over a gigantic ottoman, let me focus on the other side of grace…grace for when I fall.
I’ve spent many of my teenage years in a fallen state, re-positioned by lies I’ve led myself to claim as truth, hindered by self-inflicted baggage I carried. And each time I’d fall, the more humiliated I would be.
Do you know how difficult it is to sing, “Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus” to hundreds of people, and yet know that you struggle with finding sweetness in trusting Jesus? How convicting it feels to sing a song you wrote about the Lord moving mountains during a time when you are begging God and questioning why He hasn’t moved in a particular area of your life? To stand in front of countless faces and yet be blinded by all your faults, scarcely wanting to make eye contact, knowing full well how “imperfect” you really are?
I’ve been bound by humiliation, guilt, and pressure, and it’s now time to release it to grace, because God has grace for me (Romans 3:23-25). I need to accept that I am imperfect, I have sinned, I do have questions, I have responsibilities, and I have growth yet to experience.
So, instead of arising with humiliation from falls – the times I should have been more helpful around the home, the times I should have spent more time studying Scripture, the times I caught myself thinking thoughts which should have no place in my mind – I can arise with repentance and humility, accepting and acknowledging my weaknesses and seeking the Lord for His grace and strength. I can now accept that I am a sinful human being and that I can’t be perfect. And the Lord has grace for me.
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.” (Titus 2:11-14)
Training takes time, and I need to have grace for myself, saying, “All right, I really messed up this time. But I can try again next time, taking what I learned today to apply it tomorrow.”
It’s okay to stand in front of countless faces, knowing the depth of my depravity, because I also know that my God is still working on me, training and changing me so patiently, using me as a vessel to manifest what He can do in someone’s life.
And I’ve learned it’s okay to sing “Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus” because…remember the last line of that tender refrain? Yes – that’s it.
“Oh, for grace to trust Him more”.