I've been hard at work on a few things this week.
The easiest task has been the adoption paperwork. I managed to secure a doctor, an insurance card and an appointment, so that was pretty awesome.
For me, that's like... two weeks worth of productivity, right there.
Also, I have been writing. That's a whole different ball game.
Lastly, I have been noticing. I've been noticing, for example, just how frequently and how stubbornly I resist grace.
That noticing- that's the hardest thing I've been doing. I'd much rather ignore it.
But I can't ignore it anymore, partly because writing a blog is so damn illuminating, and partly because I have experienced the grace of God in such a powerful way that my resistance to it has only become more obvious.
I don't want to blog about this process, so I haven't been blogging. But this is what's been happening.
It's like my resistance has been back lit by a flood light. A lot of old beliefs are showing up.
For example, I believed that God could never be close to me when I sinned.
I could go on and on, but let's just stop and consider that one belief. That means that God is like a behavior triggered yo-yo, there one moment to pet and praise, and gone the next in a fit of offended holiness.
How can you count on Him? You simply cannot. When you are down for the count, then it is all on you.
God is waiting, far away, tapping His holy fingers on some table somewhere above, waiting for you to come to your senses, repent and rejoin Him for the next little bit.
Until you sin again, and He leaves you again.
I believed that I was inherently sinful.
Sin lived in my body like some kind of infectious disease, like some unholy DNA strand that wound through every part of me.
The only way I could control this sin was to starve it out, to beat it out and to build up the spiritual man by reading the Bible and praying and going to church.
The only time I could expect to feel close to God was in the brief times when I was elevated by the holy actions I was taking, such as being in church, reading the Bible or praying.
When I was not doing these things, then sin was like a tide that rose up from my inward, sinful man and overtook me, driving God away.
I could go on and on, but I already feel exhausted. It's so depressing; that's why I don't want to blog about it.
This is why I have this knee jerk reaction whenever I feel the presence of God; I kick Him right away.
I really wish I could be done with this. But on the other hand, never before have I so actively engaged these old beliefs. That's something new; that's a sign of new life.
What Jesus tells me is that I am a new creation in Him, that I live in Him, and that He loves me.
Sometimes I stop and listen to Him. I think, "What? Right now? Right in this very moment?"
Always, Jesus says. Every day, all the time, freely and not for your earning it, but because you are Mine. I created you, I love you and I am responsible for you, beginning to end.
It's so hard to believe, and that is what I notice, all day long.
"Oh hey," I think. "Here I am, judging myself and making myself miserable all over again because I'm not perfect. That sucks."
Then I think, "Wait a minute. Here's an opportunity to take Jesus at His word. I can let go of this judgment and my own works. I can let go and just abide in Him."
So I try that, and hey, peace like a river attendeth my soul. The day expands out into Him; my life expands out into Him. I don't have anything to prove.
I may have blogged about this before, but when I was eighteen -after my family had left the church and before I married my first husband- I had a dream.
In the dream, I was lying in a hammock with Jesus. The hammock was up high in the trees above a dense jungle, and looking up, I could see the night sky with all the bright, flaring stars.
I was curled up close to Jesus, the Son of the Living God. We were not talking; it was not necessary. Even in the dream, I knew this was unusual and wonderful, so I was drinking it in, just being with Him.
Then, without speaking, He got up and left me, leaving the hammock swaying. I lay there, just so hurt. I thought, how could He leave me alone? Where is He going?
I realized it didn't matter; I was going after Him. I swung my legs out of the hammock and found myself standing on the packed dirt of a jungle path. It was thick and overgrown with briers and bushes.
Ahead of me, I could see Jesus pushing His way through the overhanging bushes. It was difficult keeping up and I kept feeling hurt that He was going on ahead of me, but I didn't take my eyes off His back. He was wearing white, so I could see it through the dark.
Finally, the path opened up to this little clearing, carpeted with thick moss. There seemed to be rocks or something stuck in the moss and scattered everywhere.
Jesus was kneeling there in the moss, bent over something. I went over to Him and looked down.
I saw that it wasn't rocks that was stuck in the moss; it was shards of pottery. Jesus had two pieces of the pottery and He was carefully fitting the two pieces together. He was so patient and absorbed in His task.
In the way of dreams, I knew that there were thousands of shards, even shards burying deep under the ground, out of sight.
I put my hand on His shoulder. "Don't bother," I told Jesus, impatiently. "It's impossible. You'll never put it back together."
Then I understood.
The shards were my heart, my spirit. It was shattered and broken and some parts were buried deep out of sight.
I knew that Jesus would never stop His healing work in my life, that it would be slow and patient and He would never give up on it. As soon as I understood this, I woke up.
It was true then and it's true now. I'm still impatient and always ready to give up on myself, and Jesus just goes right on with His patient and loving work of healing my heart.