Monday, March 29, 2010

Bad Monday, Good Friday

The Sunday before last Jason and I were asked to serve communion at our church along with some other young couples. We said yes with little hesitation, pleased that we could help do our part as a member in this seemingly small way. In the few days leading up to it very little thought was given to what we would be doing other than what would be worn (people were going to be looking at me!), who would be willing to watch Cora when we were up front (thanks, Nana), and lots of prayers that I would not have to hold the tray with the little cups of grape juice in them, as "clumsy" and "dropper" could very well be a part of my given name.

Sunday morning came, I dressed in my Sunday best, and off we went. When we reached the designated meeting spot, we were told that we were, in fact, in charge of the trays of juice. (Dear Jesus, You're funny.)

Jason and I were assigned to the least populated section of church (which leads me to believe Pastor Steve knew on some level who he was dealing with), and off we went. The serving itself ended up going off without a hitch, and before I knew it we were standing in the front of church, waiting for our own bread and "wine" to be given to us. It was at this moment that I was (figuratively) knocked upside the head by a realization so concrete that it almost (literally) took the breath right out of me.

You see, I was not a "good girl" growing up, in many senses of the word. I liked my social life and I didn't like rules, which was not a very productive combination. For many years I lived according only to getting what I wanted, how I wanted it, with little regard to the impact it would have on those around me. I was at the center of my universe, and expected to be at the center of everyone else's as well. I was still friendly, still kind (as long as you didn't try to give me a curfew), and still church-going. But I was not good.

And standing there in the front of church, the only thought that kept crashing in unrelenting waves through my mind was, "I am not worthy. I am not worthy. I am not worthy". And I have never been so right about anything in my entire life.

I had not earned in any sense of the word the right to serve anybody the blood of Christ. Who was I, to be serving this precious drink to Jesus' beloved's? Who was I, to be a part of this holy, this sacred, this ancient rite? I was nobody, and that simple truth brought me lower than I had ever gone before.

But the funny thing was, I welcomed that feeling. I wanted more of it. I wanted my whole being to be so overcome with how undeserving I was that I could almost refuse this food and drink before me. Because only then would I understand what I was really a part of in that moment.

And that's where my mind is at now, as we step into the beginning of this most important week in a believer's year. I find myself wanting desperately to know my sin. I want to recognize how unworthy I am. I want to be thrown into the depths of my depravity, and kept there day after day until this Sunday, when the knowledge of Christ's sacrifice for me will be the one thing that can rise me back up.

I want to know how low I should go, so I can see how high He will take me.

Dear Lord in heaven,
I pray this day for brokenness. I pray for unfiltered knowledge of my sin. I pray for the clarity to see the awfulness of my ways, and know there is nothing I can do to make myself worthy of Your love, much less Your life.

Convict me, Lord, in every word, every thought, every deed. Show me how every breath I breathe is somehow tainted with the wickedness of this world, and the sin in my heart. Help me to recognize that without You I would be nothing. Without You I would be doomed to being a lost soul, in this lost body, aimlessly roaming in this lost world.

Do not shield me from the pain of Your sacrifice. I want to ache when I think of Your beaten body carrying Your own cross up the mountain, I want to feel physically ill when I imagine the moment the nails were driven through Your holy, yet human hands. I want to weep when I picture You hanging there, struggling to breathe, waiting for death to finally take You. I want to be driven to my knees knowing that You went through all that for me.

I am not worthy. I am not worthy. I am not worthy.

Break me, Lord. Break me, so that I can have full knowledge of Your love for me, Your grace in response to my sin, and the holes in Your hands that can heal the holes in my heart.

Make this week a hard one. Make it hurt at every turn. Make it unbearable. And then remind me that You did it all so that You could make me Yours.

I'm looking forward to it.

I love You, Lord.

In Your most precious, holy, sacrificial name,

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Blind Shall See

Dear Friends,
It seems to strange to be writing on this site once more. It feels as if a lifetime has gone by since I found myself staring at this once very familiar screen. At this point I don't even know what I am supposed to say, I just feel the Spirit urging me here, and so I will obey.

I have been intentionally absent from this blog for the past six weeks or so. To make a long story short, I unknowingly was giving Satan a huge foothold into my soul with this blog. He was using the circumstances in my life, and this very convenient outlet, to bring me down to depths so deep I completely lost the person I used to be. He did it so slowly I never even noticed. He did it so deceptively I never even doubted that I was still walking with Christ. He did it with so much purpose, so much planning, and so much hatred for me and my Jesus. And I never saw him coming. Never sensed him near until it was too late, and the pit I was in had consumed me.

He had an angle on every facet of me. He turned the grief I was feeling from losing my father into something evil, and selfish, and dishonest. He made all the wonderful things in my life seem as if they didn't matter, as if they didn't count, and as if I was entitled to them. He turned all my blessings into burdens. He made me blame others and blame God for all that I didn't have, and turn a blind eye to all that I did. Because of him, I lost out on so many opportunities to share the Good News because I was so lost in the bad.

And it took a long time, but I'm on to him now. I see him now for what he is, and I see where he is. Or more importantly, where he is not going to be anymore.

Namely, smack dab in the center of my heart.

Tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of my Dad's death. Every part of me right now is straining against writing about how painful this is, how much I miss him, how this last year has been beyond difficult for my family and myself. But I am going to resist, because I know now that that is the devil at work in my life.

Yes, I miss my Dad. Yes, not a day goes by where I do not long to have him here again. Yes, I still do not understand why he was taken from us so soon, and so quickly. But that cannot be my focus anymore.

Tomorrow my Dad is going to be the guest of honor at a party planned especially for him. Tomorrow he is the "birthday boy", and will be celebrating one year of life at his Father's side. Tomorrow his perfect body will enjoy a perfect day in a perfect place. Tomorrow marks one more year closer to the day when we will spend eternity along with him, dancing and singing before the great I Am.

So tomorrow I will make a conscious choice to keep Satan at a distance when he is going to be using all of his power to turn this day into a day of mourning, and weeping, and blaming, and sorrow. Tomorrow I vow to take a stand against him, let him know that I recognize his advances, and gleefully cast him back into the shadows where he belongs.

Tomorrow, along with missing my father I will celebrate my father, and rejoice wholeheartedly in the fact that I will be seeing him again. In heaven. With my Jesus. For the rest of all time.

Take that, Satan.

You are welcome here no more.

Dear Lord in heaven,
I pray this day thankful for sight. Thankful for eyes that can identify an enemy, but more so for eyes that can still find You. I lost sight of You there for a long time. The only visions I had of You were clouded with doubt, and skepticism, and distance. I admit, Lord, that I fell away from You willingly. The devil did find a foothold in my life, but it was me that didn't try to fight him off. I was lazy, Lord, and he jumped at the chance to expound on my lackadaisical approach to my relationship with You. I am reminded now how vigilant I need to be in response to how determined he always will be. He is determined to not let me see You. Determined to make me think that I am in good standing with You, even when my devotional life is nearly nonexistent. Determined to undermine how much I need You in every, single area of my life.

It speaks volumes to me, Lord, that I can spend this night, the eve of the first anniversary of my Dad's death, focused more on righting what is wrong between You and I then mourning the loss of my beloved father.

And it brings warm feelings of happiness and contentment realizing that this is just as my Dad would want it to be.

I love You, Lord. I love my father, I surely will be shedding tears for him in the days to come, but it is only You I will seek, only You I will strive to see.

Please tell him "Happy Birthday" from his family. We'll surely be celebrating too.

In Your Name I pray,