One of our church's sweet pastors preached about Grace last Sunday. It was a needed word for my heart. How do we accept Grace? Do we say "Grace...but not for people as bad as me". Or do we say, "but Grace covers all....so I can go about life how I see fit". I love C S Lewis, and our pastor reminded us of his thoughts about what Christianity offers to a lost world that is different from other religions. "That's easy" Lewis says, "It's Grace".
From this talk of Grace, we moved into new years resolutions, and the absurdity of it all if centered around "self improvement". I laughed on the inside at this as I reflected on all the things in my life that I was going to do. Self is a dangerous thing, a scary thing really, a place I am so glad to not be anymore. A place where we go around and around and around until we fall from the dizziness and failure of it all. Which I suppose is all part of the plan. Lying face down on the ground is where God walks in a takes over. That's what He does best. He won't work with all our "self stuff", He won't get tangled in our agenda. But rather faithfully untangle it His way, if we will only just give Him our self mess. So why don't we change around the "new years resolution stuff" to center it around the One who actually sticks to what He says He is going to do? Won't that feel good! Give it, throw it, hand it over to "the One who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us" Ephesians 3:20 And then sit back and watch the God show.
For me, this resolution talk has stirred in me something I have been saying for years I can't do. And then my 6 year old memorized Luke 2 in about two weeks and I was put in my place. I could hear the heavenly laughter roaring at me as I sat humbled listening to scripture effortlessly roll off her tongue, and I knew what God was after in me. Memorization. There is a song by one of my favorite artist that begins with "Give me words to speak, don't let my spirit sleep, cause I can't think of anything worth saying". Don't you just love the truth of that? What do we have to say that is anything worth saying, if it is not of God? And what do we have to say that is of God, if we haven't learned His words? God doesn't use words casually, there is meaning and purpose and life in what He speaks. He wants all those things for us... meaning, purpose and life. He is waiting to hand it over. In fact, I think He can't wait to give it so that we can experience His greatness.
I will close with a story. Prepare yourself insanity. I will wait...are you ready? Our family has struggled with something that may sound bizarre to you, but for us, it is very real and has been a topic of many discussions where we ask each other "why does this always happen". It is nothing earth shattering, just overwhelming at times. The stomach bug. We only get it if we are going to be together for some major event or holiday. And then we proceed to pass it to everyone in the family. If there is a wedding, holiday, vacation, graduation, or just a weekend get together with family....someone will start throwing up withing 24 hours of the start of the gathering, sometimes even while driving to the event in the car. It is a bizarre phenomenon that we cannot explain, but have so many times over asked why does this always happen? Well, as scheduled my sister came to my house and brought with her the bug her children had had the week before, and then I started with the sickness right before we were scheduled to go to her house. I realize this is way to much information, stick with me. I pulled through and we decided to travel anyways. Two hours into the trip, my sweet Caroline goes white as a sheet and starts saying she feels like she is going to throw up. I flipped out, I called my sister and told her, and then the hubby and I started considering turning around. And then all of sudden God got a hold of me and I could sense He was telling me to stop rolling over in defeat with this. So we stopped everything. I told the girls to stop the "Barbie and Diamond Castle" DVD that was playing in the back, the husband put on some Travis Cottrell, we turned it up loud and started praising. I was done with accepting this. We sang "The Lamb has Overcome" and "Shackles", and we sang it like we meant it. Do you know what I mean? We sang it because there is truth and meaning in it. The Lamb did overcome, the battle has already been won, darkness has scattered and the Lion has roared! Are you getting me here? Then the next song was "Shackles", and I have told you before Ella's love for this song, we didn't have to ask her to sing loudly. Though Caroline was pale and nearing nausea, she hung in there holding her puke bag in front of her in anticipation, but singing even still. I would like to joyfully report that the color came back to Caroline and she never got sick. I would like to also say that God would have been no less worthy of such praise if she had thrown up the whole way there, He is still worthy. But in this instance He taught us a little something about His word, there is power in it, there is truth and freedom in it, and He wants us to memorize it, know it and speak it! So in His name, I resolve to do it, and because He has already won and overcome the battle, I know I can too. Care to join me?