I’ve never really shared my testimony.
I’d love to say it’s because I’ve simply never had the opportunity arise where raising my own life story could potentially lead others down similar roads, but really it’s more so out of the messiness & insignificance I’ve accredited to Jesus’ finding me. For me, salvation was more a game of hide n seek.
I was brought up on the Bible & no swearing & no stealing. Church on Wednesday, Sunday, & VBS preparation half the summer. No blue jeans to church, do not miss communion Tuesdays, & always be the first ones to church. No C’s, D’s, or F’s, cheernastics on Saturday mornings, & cheerleading every weekday. & most importantly, never, never, never, have sex before marriage. Keep the pants on & never lay down with a boy because it never leads to anything good. & somehow, in all strangeness, every piece of my life was a patch to salvation. Because if I could just do it all & do it right, I would be loved by the Father.
So the problem was my lack of success in most things I clung to in order to earn God’s love. To bump my way up the line towards the pearly gates. All these things & traditions & laws & singing Christmas Carols on peoples lawns, & I couldn’t feel heaven at my finger tips. When I got things right, I felt empty. When I got things wrong, I felt eternally damned.
This weaving line of failure & thinking that I had to be making it lasted through high school. & honestly, I can’t point to an exact day that I accepted Jesus into my heart. I can, however, point to many moments of renewal of those vows. I can point to many huge boo boos a managed to tangle myself up in, & I can point to the unmerited grace awaiting each destination. I can tell you how with each cotton ball blue sky, peach sangria sunset, & rolling field of tall corn husks soaking in the morning dew, God has made himself known in each moment. How I’ve felt Jesus’ embrace as I held my grandfather’s hand on his deathbed & how I’ve witnessed the move of the Holy Spirit placing people in the right place at the right time.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life,
neither angels nor demons, neither present nor future,
nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else
in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God
that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Oceans of grace. Oceans of love. Truly. This mornings prayer was full of endless waters, as The Lord showed me what he means by love unconditional & grace enough. He placed me in the middle of the waters, standing me upright where I could still reach the ocean floor. & he told me to try to push the waters away. As I pushed my hands against the water & fought & twisted my spine in rebellion, the water never stopped touching every part of my body submerged.
This is my love.
Unseparated , unalterable, we can never be separated from the love of God in Christ Jesus. We can push, turn our heads, & cover ourselves in layers of clothes, & his love is still there. In the desert, in the rainy season, in the springtime, all the same. His love is faithful & consistent, despite our frequent wandering feet & self forgetfulness.
& his grace abounds. We stand in the middle of the endless waters, & we don’t have to convince the water to jump on our skin, the waves to saturate our clothes. We aren’t a part of the grace making. We’re just receivers, standing waist deep in grace.
& to the one who does not work but believes in him
who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness.
The one who rests in belief & freedom. The one who trusts the cross is enough. The one who does nothing to fix themselves. They are called righteousness. Righteousness. Crazy, yes? That when we do what we are asked to do, which is nothing more than believe, we acquire the name of righteousness.
That’s real love, babe. That’s the be still & know that I am God kind of business. That’s grace. That’s salvation. That’s yours.