in the blooming - the end of chapter 2...{the grace series}

Sunday, May 12, 2013

the irises bloomed while we were gone -

tall and violet and graceful.

the girls caterpillars bloomed too - they busted out of their cocoons in the middle of the night, while it was quiet and dark and no one to witness it and their orange painted wings stretched strong in the early morning light.

they were going to release them - after the charlotte's web fair was done and after they had popcorn and snow cones and their skin turned rosy-red in the hot may sun.

they would open up that clear plastic lid and just let them flutter away...

there's one painted lady who seems to be more robust then the rest. the girls have named this one hoppy. she beats her wings and flies against the netting, bouncing off of it and landing on her back.

but she flutters and beats those wings until she is literally hopping, until she gets enough air under her so that she can flip over and once again fly.

it makes them all laugh,

but hoppy?  she makes me want to cheer.

she doesn't do it gracefully, this learning to fly and strengthening her wings. she's clumsy and seems to always been running into another butterfly or two on her way,

but she doesn't give up, and maybe that's why i watch her.

we've been away, been loved on and taken care of and hidden away in a cabin in the mountains and green.

i've held lyla's hand as she whispers it quietly,

mama, it's so quiet here - my ears really like it.

we've been away and i've watched as my older three wrestle with the slowing down, with getting used to bugs and being outside for 14 hours a day and sleeping in the unfamiliar and new.

and as i walked through that garden gate everyday for almost a week, as i stood underneath stars so bright in the blackest sky,

as i woke up to a mountain rain pounding on the roof above me,

i've realized i need to rethink grace.

it's kind of hoppy-ish, if you will.

but here's the thing, sometimes we need to keep bouncing off of what has hemmed us in before we can become strong enough to fly.

grace is something to wrestle with - simple in concept, yes, but hard to grasp in the actual living out.

tony and i, we've talked a lot in this past week - of Jesus and christianity and living radically and completely surrendered lives to Him.

we've talked of what that means to live contrary to the pull of the culture around us - to walk instead under the pull of Christ's Lordship over our lives.

and to be honest, there is that small voice that whispers...

we are going to be odd.

and that's when i find it, near the end of chapter 2 that i read these words,

character refers to who you are. reputation refers to who people think
you are. i generally care more about who people think i am than who i really am.
but Jesus was not a person trying to keep a good reputation in tact. during His life
on earth, he never tried to explain Himself for the sake of His reputation.

He breaks all social etiquette in relation to people. He
acknowledges no barriers or human divisions. there is no
category of sinners He isolates Himself from.
simply stated, Jesus is a miserable failure at
meeting religious people's expectations of Him...

...though He was without sin, there were still those who questioned His
reputation. knowing there were people who disagreed, even hated Him, didn't 
cause Him to change one thing He did. He wasn't working to maintain a good
reputation. he was walking in dependence on His Father. Jesus didn't value what people
thought; He valued people, period.

our pastor, he spoke on the assurance of salvation this morning - how it's all curled up in 1 john; we can know that we are His through the way we love each other...

and i have failed.

deeply and horribly and in soul-shattering ways.

but i heard it as i stood folding laundry while the washing machine hummed, as elyse fitzpatrick spoke about justification and everything that it means;

it's not only as if i had never sinned...

but being justified is living as if i had always obeyed.

Christ's grace is shocking and soothing and it covers over all the places that i fail...

He valued people, not what they thought about Him or His ministry or the decisions He made. and Jesus calls me and you to live like that too.

reputation can be a carefully crafted place that keeps you safe, that makes you look good - but it keeps you unknown.

we can't love well when we are hiding, when we don't live authentically, with vulnerability - really, when we are placing the idol of self in front of those around us.

it's only when we place Jesus first, when we choose Him over a mask that keeps us safe, it's then that we find grace,

that we learn to love,

and that being good dulls in comparison of being like Christ...

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. philippians 3:7-11