Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Taking the Plunge in a Horse Troth!
My life was made new this last weekend, on Palm Sunday. How was this done? Well, at age 38, almost 35 years after I first said yes to the Lord, I re- surrendered my life fully and completely to His unconditional love. Easy right? Um, not so much. That is until I decided I was through running. Sunday night, I was baptized, along side of my youngest Micah. I stepped into the horse troth ( yes you heard me right) eager to let go of the past, of my frailties and insecurities and ready to allow all my grief to be washed away. I surely didn't see it coming last April but when the Lord walked our family through the doors of Thrive in 2011 He put a plan in motion. He cleared the dust, swept out the closets,that is of course after allowing a wrecking ball to collide with the front door of our lives to make a way inside. Everything we had come to know as church was suddenly and pleasantly pleasantly tossed out the window and as a family we began finding our way back home, to a place where He could fulfill His promises and where we could be reminded of who we really are.
As a child I used to sing Jesus loves me every night before I went to bed. I loved the idea of knowing His love for me was so great, so wide in spite of myself. I knew as I laid my head down to sleep Jesus was all I needed, all I wanted. Jesus knew my name personally, held my hand inside of His and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt He was there right beside me. I would sit at His feet, listening to the heart beat of my Father. I wanted to be like Him, to show His love, His gentleness, His grace and perfect acceptance to the world around me. I never doubted His grace and mercy, my suffering did not matter because He was right there walking with me through every tear,every pain and every life threatening moment I endured as a child. Yet as I grew into a woman, as a wife and a mother I somehow lost sight of this very important fact... I was redeemed by the name and grace of Jesus.
Life is not an easy burden, not even for those with the easiest load. Life in general has a way of making the absurd a reality and normal the absurd in our lives. As I grew older my body gave way to failing health,over and over from my diabetes, to the bells palsy to the mini stroke and even the breast cancer I found my body buckling under the stress. I wanted to believe Jesus couldn't let this happen to me, as folks walked in and out of my life, leaving me many times to carry the heavy loads of pain and suffering on my own, judging me. I wanted to to cry out, to scream to the Heavens, where are your people now Lord? In the end I found myself wrapped up in life, trying to be brave, to be everything to everyone and ultimately forgetting that sweet little song I would sing myself to sleep with as a little girl. I had real problems, real issues in a real world. I was all grown up, making my own way, with a wondering heart, far from the cross where I had surrendered my life as a child. His fullness seemed lost to me, not because Jesus had taken His grace away from me, nope what I had done was tied my homemade swing to a whole other tree, in a completely new yard miles and miles from where I knew Him to be. I had picked up my bags and set out on my own way and in my own fear, in my own desire to take the steering wheel had taken a different direction. For such reasons as discontent, disappointment and feeling of abandonment I had lost sight of that one simple song I sang as a child.
Without wanting to I had become the prodigal child. I longed to feel His grace, oh how I longed for His freedom, but I had allowed my life to zig zag, to become deaf to the love with open arms reaching out to me. As the cancer came, my body began fading, my hopes felt as if they were failing. I was weak, weary and felt as if many of God's people had passed me by, as if I was unseen to those I wanted most to connect with, to be part of, to be loved by. I felt unworthy, like a stray cat no one wanted in their house. I became a walking disaster, dissatisfied, in need of something new, keeping my life just out of reach as I watched my whole life being demolished and leveled to the ground. Then breast cancer slammed into my life full throttle sending me spinning into a wall of denial and despair. I had to make a choice: keep my fists clenched or walk towards the arms reaching out to me.
I won't say everything was right as rain immediately because it was far from it. I would fret, over think, under estimate and allow my insecurities to run away with me more nights than I can count. I would toss my heart in the basket and then snatch it right back again. I was so convinced His grace couldn't cover me again or could it? Could He still love me, could He still want me as one of His own? After all, I had been a prodigal child, whether I meant to or not. I had done things my way, and in many ways because of it my life had fallen apart. I can't tell you it was easy allowing God to turn my upside down life upright again, because the truth is it was one of the most painful things I have ever had to submit myself to. Coming back, after being lost in the abyss of never never land was a bit over whelming. Yet grace was His to give, all I had to do was simply embrace it. His love was ready to cover me, and such compassion was waiting on me, pleading with me to accept, no strings attached.
Breast cancer was truly the turning point in my life, and it almost did me in from an emotional point of view. I was weighted down with fear, worry, what if's, consuming me from the inside out, as my soul cried out for a reason for the pain, for some kind of hope, something more than the brave front I desperately tried to portray to the world around me. I started questioning my eternity, where God did or did not fit into my life. He came to me through and into the depths of my own physical disfigurement where I eventually found myself in Him once again. No longer was I just a number in a service or a bench warmer on some random pew in some judgemental church, no, I was being called to action, and it was personal. My fire may had begun to die out, but the spark was still there, all I needed was to allow Him to stoke the flames once again.
I was broken, shattered into more pieces than I can even comprehend but the simple truth is His grace found me, kicking the door down in a radical attempt to jump start my stubborn heart, and began the process of putting me back together again! I called and He answered even when my faith was literally on life support Jesus loved me! He rescued me even when I fought against the current pulling me under. What I know is this: I did not overcome breast cancer, fear, or uncertainty alone. I was never alone, I just had to be willing to lose my soul to a plan bigger than myself. Honestly it wasn't as hard as I wanted to believe it was going to be. It's not like God said, halt sinner you can't go there, nor did He demand I jump through hoops to find refuge in His grace. Like the Jason Gray song, Remind me who I am, " in the loneliest places, when we can't remember what grace is, help me remember I belong to You." God loved me so much He took the time to remind me who I am... I am not weak, rejected, no amount of regrets can keep me from His love, I am not a victim, used or abandoned. No, I am more than that, and the absolute amazing reality is we are all made for more than that, it's just a matter of stepping out in faith! And that is exactly what I did Sunday night, I stepped out in faith and took the plunge in a horse troth!