Today one of my dear friends will be sharing a beautiful devotion with you! Stephanie from Hugs, Kisses and Snot and I have been friends for a long time on these ‘web parts’ and I feel a close bond with her for countless reasons! Besides having adorable wit and gorgeous looks, she is incredibly insightful and faithful. She shares awesome recipes and incredible crafts, as well as parenting thoughts and tribulations and everything else a woman can share. If you haven’t met my gal Steph, then you must go hang at her place soon!! Oh, and she also has a way with words… You’ll see.
Grace for the Good Girl
Back in 2012 a friend turned me on to Jen Hatmaker. Are you familiar with her writing? Sister has got it going on. She is hilarious yet unapologetic about the ugly side of motherhood, Christianity, adoption, whatever. She writes and speaks with so much grace, love and frankness that you can’t help but say “yes, Jen, I’ll join you in your insane quest to find purpose in life. I’ll only wear 7 articles of clothing for a month or eat the same 7 foods or watch the same 7 channels” Or whatever brand of 7 crazy you can come up with. If you haven’t read her book 7 go check it out. It’s a game changer.
I went to hear her speak last year and that’s when I started a serious girl crush. She made us all laugh and then she got serious and brought out the G-word. Grace. She spoke about no matter where you are in life, no matter how low you are or how far gone or how complacent; it’s never too late. God never gives up on you. His grace is abundant and you are always worthy of it. Despite the darkness in your life, the sin, the sadness; He gives his grace freely and fully. It was an inspirational talk but I couldn’t help thinking this doesn’t apply to me.
You see, all my life I’ve been the good girl. I’ve followed the straight and narrow for 38 years and don’t regret it one bit. Sure I’ve had my bumps along the road but nothing that I could label as “rock bottom” or something that would land me in rehab or jail. I remember as a teenager going to summer camp and hearing speakers give their testimonials. They would talk about drug use, promiscuity, alcohol abuse and a whole mess of other stuff all in their tender teen years. They would use phrases like “crying out to God” and “the enemy had a hold on me”. The other kids were getting up to repent their evil ways and swear off boyfriends. Surely I was a sinner and needed to repent. I searched for something horrible in my short past to ask forgiveness for. Going to second base with my boyfriend was horrible. Right? God will love me and make me a better person if I stop the heavy petting. Right? For many years I felt that my Christian narrative was incomplete without a tragic story to tell.
Flash forward 20+ years and I’m happy although sometimes I feel guilty for being so happy. Tough times come and go but I don’t cling to them like a life preserver. Over time I began to realize that I don’t need a horrible story to tell in order to prove God loves me. Every now and then I still hear that message from my old camp days but this time it’s more grown up. Christ can heal my heart and I can leave it all behind me. Leave what behind me? Why do I feel guilty for being happy when apparently everyone around me is miserable? Maybe I need to do something really terrible so I can ask for forgiveness.
Wait, that’s silly. Christ wants us to be happy. Our definition of happiness and his may not always match up but he loves us deeper than we can ever understand. He would never find satisfaction in our pain or demand an act that needs to be forgiven for forgiveness‘ sake. His grace is extended to us even if we don’t have a steamy story to tell or heartbreak to heal. The “I’m just a sinner saved by grace” mentality is born from original sin theology. The idea that we were all born with a big, black, ugly mark on our soul and we need to spend the rest of our life figuring out how to scrub it off. On the contrary I believe in original blessing; that we were made in God’s image. Instead of a big ugly mark on us we were born with a mark of love and light so beautiful we can hardly understand it. Over time that light gets shadowed by the dumb mistakes and idiot decisions we make but it is always there. It’s a permanent mark of love and it’s not going anywhere. At the core of us is God’s blessing of love and joy and grace. We don’t need to be sinners to earn His grace, we have always had it from the beginning.