Yesterday I made a long haul to Oklahoma City to spend some quality time with my college roommate, Susanna, this weekend. I relish any trip that takes longer than an hour as an opportunity to spend time listening to that new album all the way through (twice, if it’s that good), catching up on my podcasts or long overdue phone calls, and time in prayer for my loved ones and thing things that are hurting my heart. (aka Introvert’s Paradise) If I’m not intentional with the quiet spaces in my life, I will fill them up quickly with frivolity, and get out of the practice of living honestly before the Lord.
Do you know that feeling? That feeling like it’s been so long since you’ve been close and open to God about what’s on your plate? That feeling that even though nothing’s different about your surroundings, it’s all different in a moment because your heart is fixed on Him and the world seems to just stop for a second? Sometimes that moment is too painful when I’m out of stride with his, or maybe I’m upset with how he is playing out the circumstances and his power takes my will to task. Sometimes my heart is too full to take on that moment. But sometimes, God has spoken gently and lead me to a place of longing to be before him just as I am, sitting in my car at 70 MPH on the Oklahoma turnpike.
This weekend is a special for Christians all over the world as a day we remember his life, death, and resurrection. This year, more than others, I’m so overwhelmed at the kindness of the Lord for his people. His love for me.
There’s a lyric I’ve been meditating on lately that says “You are rewriting our histories with love, yes You are rewriting our histories with Your blood. When we look back all we will see is Your kindness because You are rewriting our histories with love” (Bethel Music, Alleluia) I confess, over the past five years this has not always been the posture of my heart. My experience has always been that God calls me to obedience and when I submit, I have felt his chastisement and perhaps, his judgement. I’ve felt the inadequacies of my faith and despaired in the gap between faith and action.
I’m learning through a little over two decades of following Christ that faith is a journey that grows and mature only through time and grief of the brokenness we live in. It means being honest when doubts bubble up in my faith, and living honestly before Him and his people. I’m learning that God loves me exactly as I am -in seasons of nearness and separation, faith and doubt -he delights in ME. And when He lived as an example for me on earth, and died on my behalf, He did not expect me to follow it to the letter but simply come to Him first with my greatest joys, trials, pain, and disbelief. He just asks us to show up. I know for some of us that have known Him a long time it can feel like there’s more to it, but there’s not. We are just compelled to lean into Him. The Gospel is so simple and free and over the years I’ve muddied that.
I’ve had time this past week to think through the last five years through a series of reading journals and emails and I’ve finally realized for the first time in a long time that because of Him, everything is different. My past, my present, and my future. I’m broken over this. My heart has been shredded by love this weekend -not by law or morality, not by church, or by all the pain and suffering we must withstand this side of heaven. For the first time in forever, I am broken by undeserved affection. I feel his pleasure. I am stunned at what lengths God has taken to rectify his relationship with his creation. His relationship with me.
This song I’ve been listening to a lot this week goes on to say, “What goes up it must come down, that’s why glory falls when praise abounds”; this simple line has brought so much truth and joy to my soul. Over five years of struggle, of self-condemnation, of wondering if this faith journey is really cut out for me, not only have I found Christ faithful and true, but GOOD and worthy. His glory has been near. Out of obedience, I want to wear him well in my life, to speak of his kindness in the midst of struggle. He is worth it. This is not a confession of happiness but of joy, not a confession of ease but of weightiness. His love is the greatest taste, the richest of fair.
This Easter I’m coming to the house of the Lord with nothing to offer but my gratitude and a humbled heart. Maybe next year will be the same, maybe not. But I want to remember this week as a week I remembered the Lord and spoke well of His name. Whatever may come and whatever lies before me, may I bless His name.
Come in close, lean in. He delights in filling those broken places.
Happy Easter, friends. May you find him faithful in whatever journey you are on.