I’ve been a bad Christian lately.
Surprised I would admit something like that? I’m certainly not.
The truth is, I’ve been less-than-stellar at being a Christian these days.
In an effort to keep up with my crazy work schedule, social life, and spiritual life…guess what has fallen behind on my list of priorities?
You’ve got it.
A few days ago I woke up and vowed to myself that I would have my morning quiet time before work. I woke up with a new sense of ambition. “THIS is the day. THIS is the morning I will become good at being a Christian again. I won’t miss any more quiet times. I will start journaling more again. I will get up and got to church and not just lazily watch it from my bed on my computer.”
I eagerly opened my prayer journal and looked at the date of my last entry, October 13th.
My heart sank. It had been over a week since I last sat down to spend time with the Lord.
I asked myself, “What happened to me?” I used to be so diligent about waking up before the sun, brewing a fresh pot of coffee, and sitting down in silence to meet with my Savior before I began my day.
Those were the days.
I felt an instant sense of guilt come over my Spirit. How could I let this happen? How did I let my time with Jesus fall on the back burner while I dealt with the many other “appointments” I had with other people, things, and events in life?
How did I let sleeping in become the priority over going to church every Sunday morning? I used to pop out of bed awake and ready for Sunday’s service to begin. It used to be my very favorite day of the week.
How did spending time alone in silence with the Lord start to feel more like a burden than a blessing? How did a MONTH pass by without me writing a blog entry…?
Life happened, my friends.
Life came and took my feet out from under me and whirled me around like a hurricane. Life happened and took my alone time. Took my peace. Took my energy and my health and my passion.
Life happened and I had to get a second job. Life happened and I got really sick. Life happened and by the time the hurricane subsided, I felt like I had lost every bit of strength that I had been desperately clinging onto. I felt like all I wanted to do was lay in bed all day and catch up on the sleep I so desperately needed.
Last week, I was talking to the precious group of freshman girls my best friend and I lead in Boulder about hearing God’s voice. About hearing the whisper of the Holy Spirit amidst the LOUDNESS of every day life, and I was reminded of the very first time I heard from the Lord. The first time that I was finally quiet enough to hear that still, small voice. It was a moment I will NEVER forget.
I was driving home down highway 93 after my heart had been broken…no, shattered into a million pieces by yet another “man” who had promised he would stay.
I was angry with God.
It was the first time I had ever voiced my anger with Him and I literally probably looked like an absolute crazy person just driving down highway 93 screaming through my tears at God.
“Why is this happening AGAIN, GOD?”
“YOU put this person in my life, this is YOUR fault.”
“How am I supposed to do this again? How will I possibly get through this?”
I was so hurt and my heart was breaking and I was angry. Just plain angry.
And suddenly, through my silent sobs I heard Him. Small and still, for sure. But absolutely undeniable. I recognized my sweet Shepard’s voice. Breaking through all the pain and anger with perfect love.
“I will carry you, and I will sustain you.”
Clear as day, I heard the Spirit and my soul was instantly calmed. I felt a peace wash over me like never before. I immediately went home and I wrote the phrase on my mirror and there it stayed until I moved out of the little red brick house.
You see, when you have an encounter like that, you miss it terribly. You crave the realness of the Lord in those moments. You start to think something is wrong when you go through “dry” periods of hearing nothing but empty silence.
And I think if I could sum up how I have been feeling in the past month or so, I would say just that…empty.
Like my God has been silent. Like I haven’t had any real encounters with him for quite some time now. And I have found myself asking, “Where are you?”
Until the other night.
I was worn out and tired from a hard work week. I knew I needed to spend time with God but I could not seem to muster up the energy to move, let alone open my bible. But it was laying on my bed and it was taunting me..I swear it was taunting me to open it up. I kept looking over at it and then getting back on Facebook for another ten minutes of wasted time.
Finally, I willed myself to open it up. I am currently studying Isaiah and I opened it up to the next chapter, chapter 46 and immediately my eyes saw the verse, “I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”
My eyes welled with tears as I realized He never left. He was DEEPLY and intimately involved in my every day life. He sees me. He hears me. I am LOVED.
He knew exactly what I needed to hear that day. That day when I was too tired to move. When the hurricane called Life had knocked me over and scraped me up. When I felt like I could not take another step. He met me right where I was and drowned me in His ocean of Grace.
And the thing is, I felt SO undeserving. I had been such a bad Christian! I hadn’t been spending time with Him like I should. I hadn’t been reading the word every day. I hadn’t even been going to Church on Sundays!
How could he still love me like this?
Oh, but He does! His Grace is sufficient. In that moment, that became not only a phrase I heard in Church or in fancy Christian jargon, or as the caption on one of my Instagram posts.
It became my reality.
His Grace covered me in that moment. Refreshed my soul. Brought my Spirit back to life. My Father loved me so much in that moment. He spoke right to my tired and aching soul… “I’m here. I see you. I haven’t left you. Come back to me.”
The Lord completely wrecked me that night. Stirred up my soul and left me asking, “How? How do I deserve this unconditional love? This doesn’t make any sense. I’ve done NOTHING to earn this.”
But that is what Grace is.
So, fellow Christian… can you relate to this? I have a feeling deep down in my heart that this message is for so many of you who also feel this way. Feel like you keep failing Him over and over again. Feel like you don’t deserve His love and Grace?
Well, let me tell you that is A LIE.
And you’re right. It doesn’t make sense. But neither does a perfect, sinless man hanging lifeless on a cross covered with the blood that PAID our ransom.
It is all mysterious. I do not think I will ever make sense of Grace.
Of how I can be a really bad Christian and still be LAVISHED by his love each and every day?
It doesn’t make sense, but my goodness am I grateful for the gift.