God hasn't gone anywhere.
This sentence keeps coming back to me as I sit down to write.
Maybe tonight is a redux of my post about writing as my next right thing. The post was in September of last year but I have been so sporadic in my writing on the blog since then.
Cheers to 2018?!
In honor of my sporadic-ness and fully embracing my free spirit ways, I know that my writing these days is going to be far from perfect, unedited and honest.
The concept of forgiveness keeps coming back to me in time with God and in reading the Bible lately AND in listening to some sermons/podcasts (podcasts are my favorite thing). When I see an idea pop up in multiple places, I realize God is trying to get my attention.
In the parable in Mathew 18, Jesus says that the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.
The master cancels and forgives the debt of the servant but then the servant does not have mercy on his fellow servant. Jesus says that each person ought to forgive their brother or sister from their heart. It can't just be an outward behavior but it has to be an inward sign of a changed heart, someone who knows that they have been forgiven much.
This is so hard in real time even if understood logically. Left to our own devices, when the stakes are high, why would we forgive? And why would we forgive over and over as Jesus instructs us to do?
When the servant who had been forgiven by his master goes to his fellow servant who owed him a hundred silver coins, "he grabbed him and began to choke him. 'Pay back what you owe me!' he demanded.'
This seems disturbing as I read it and hard to believe I could get to this point of demand with another human, but as I read it, my heart hurts, because I see how it could be possible. I see how in my own ways I have been like this servant, demanding justice, wanting things to be made right as I believe right to be.
You may never get an outcome you want but you can treat people with love and forgiveness in the process. You can learn to see them the way Christ sees them, fully loved and forgiven.
Aren't we all sinners and don't we all sin against others as we brush up against each other in this life?
I know I am a sinner and I am sure I have sinned against those close to me, and those not close to me as well. But, isn't it easier for it to happen with those close? I am hopeful for their forgiveness as well.
Letting go feels like exhaling to me. It feels like I don't have to keep everything as tightly wound as I have been before. And it feels like trusting God more, when trust is so hard. It feels like surrendering, giving up control. It is a deep and painful truth to admit that when I feel hurt, I don't want to completely let you off the hook until you've earned the right to get off the hook. But this is not how God loves us! I can trust God that He knows best and I can choose the gift of love and forgiveness. I say it again and just let it sink into my life, hoping that as my heart embraces this, that everything else will slowly follow.
Things take time. Love takes time. God heals and works in hearts slowly.
I wonder if it's grace that happens quickly though.
I want to believe that God is continuing to bring renewal even in times of great un-knowing. That the unknowing will open wide a chasm of even more love and grace and seeing the beauty that is in the world. God is the source of all of this beauty.
When I finally become more aware of the goodness of God, my heartbeat that is writing, becomes more fully alive. I miss this when my vision is blurred. I know my calling is to spread wide the hope for all He is doing in the world.
He is so big and what a gift it is to be alive in the world today.
It feels right to believe this and to feel joy in the Lord and ALSO I know what it feels like for everything to feel small and like hope is dwindling, how the sharpness of pain can distort the meaning of the things you know to be true.
Life moves in waves. Always waves, like the ocean.
I've been here before, how will it not topple me over. I can swim better now as time has gone by, but am I not still me?
I shift and change like the waves. I move through the waters even when they are rough, ending up in a new place, someplace I didn't know I would be at all. When somehow, the most treacherous waves cannot break me. Waves plunge into me, still the same me, but I do not break into pieces with each crash. I am surprised by this.
What a beautiful thing it is to be alive. To still have hurt and to know pain and to move through pain and to know there may be other crashes but it is just WAVES. Maybe the waves are not meant to push, but pull you along to where you're supposed to go? I
I find so much beauty in the water. Water is a force but does not intend to harm. It has a way of leveling the bumps in the water. May it be so in our lives.
May God work in us to chisel away the rough edges.
I can't stop with the metaphors. I can't stop thinking about butterflies, too.
I read a story called Hope for the Flowers and it made me realize everyone needs hope, even butterflies. The butterfly has just transformed. But what is this? Becoming something new. It could be totally appealing to want to go back to the old life. And still...
Look how far you've come, little butterfly -