Because no one wants to be a Judas…

Up until recently, I had no idea that the church could be broken people swapping stories, cocktails, and no longer necessary baby items with one another.

I had no idea that discipleship started with a “How are you?” and “Lets grab a coffee.”

I had no idea that life changing situations started with “It’s ok” and “That’s life! No worries.”

You could ask any of my siblings, my parents, or an annoyed friend, but at a younger age…I knew a lot.

Or at least I thought I did.

As a child, you’d swear embarrassment and irritation told you that you were right and others were wrong (like really…am I the only one who went through this??) BUT…

after two very strong willed children, the grace of a never-ending God, and countless encounters with the American poverty line… knowing it all is really…all gone.

I am more aware then ever that the capacity to learn and grow is endless. I am also miraculously aware that the grace of God covers every lesson, slip up, and mishap along the way. (This is valuable information I could have used at a much younger age.)

But really…looking back at the 9 years of disillusionment, the 7 years of struggle, and the past 6 months of God cutting through to partially cloudy skies… well lets just say I wouldn’t swap any of those time segments.

I would have missed out on the melancholy.

the pain.

the desperation.

the pleading.

seeing my own empty and endless selfish requests.

the humility of knowing…I, in the truth of the perfectness of God, am still a far cry from all Jesus is…

And that at the beginning, middle, and end of every season is the sacrifice of Jesus.

Realizing that in an effort to be (and strive to be) a “successful great follower like Paul” that I turned out like “Judas Iscariot…the betrayer of the Son of God.”

Let’s just say…that changes the game.

Knowing that I look at me, Judas…and God says, “You are like my son….Jesus.”

The wow-factor continues…

It’s only because I am covered by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ that I even have the possibility, the opportunity, to look like Him.

That’s Paul. He realized he in no capacity deserved the honor of presenting the gospel of Jesus. But instead God built the church on  him.

And that’s where we are today.

Imperfect people. Having a cocktail. Sharing the love of Jesus the best way they know how.

Present Parent

There is this catchy little phrase that flitters around social media after a major loss, devastation or deep reflection.

The present is a gift.

Or

The present is called the present because it’s a gift.

You may have also heard,

Busyness is the illusion of success.

No matter the phrasing, I’m sure you’ve heard or read it before.

For some reason, the thought of the two hit in a collision course this week. The thought looked something like this:
If busyness creates the illusion of success… Isn’t busily dealing with my children creating the illusion of good parenting?

The worst part of this is that busyness creates the illusion to the person in action and those surrounding are usually the ones suffering the repercussions.

Creating a sense of shame in another being (aka the dog with his tail in between his legs) is not what God called me to do. In fact, if I have finally been reading the Bible correctly… I believe Jesus calls me to change. Not calls me to change you.

So really, all this scolding, finger wagging, and evil eyes I’ve been shooting away are nothing but joy stealers. As we see from the example of Jesus, lessons can be learned through grace and sacrifice
He gave thanks, He broke himself, and spread the grace of His fully God, fully human self over every human being. Age is not exception… especially a child.

Perhaps I have forgotten that existence in the moment is a treat that I do not deserve. The fact that God withholds His scolding in my life is grace. Maybe it’s about time I give thanks for grace in seemingly hard situations so God can soften and mold hearts to capacities my human mind cannot understand.

By not living grace to my children my actions literally speak death to their joyous carefree spirits.

As I hear the words I feel like the blasphemous Pharisee who knew the truth but arrogantly pointed the finger at the sinner.

You will know the truth, and the truth shall set you free. (John 8:32

Same words. New eyes.

No longer words about rebellious sinners in godless generations…

But the prodigal sons and daughters admitting their arrogant and godless actions and allowing themselves to be loved and saved by a God who already covered them with grace.

The truth about the truth is… Without that grace, I’d be a shell of a venomous woman, wife and mother. But because the truth about Jesus has a pulse to my once blinded eyes, my very existence needs grace lived and acted to survive.

My parenting has to be about unlimited sacrifice because I’m not sure I’d ever catch Jesus thrusting out His nail scarred hands and viciously saying, “See? Look what I did for you! Ungrateful little…”

I must graciously accept the cup given… Even if the sacrifice seems too great.

Let’s face it. Even Jesus asked God if there was another way besides the sacrifice. But when God said no, he cried, he shook, he prayed… And went forward.