Today was a bad day. A hard day. Mabel is being extremely needy. I'm not sure how to take care of her 'special needs' without in turn enabling her to be more high needs. The good news is that she finally prefers me over anyone else. I thought that may never happen. It's pretty special.
There are so many valuable life lessons that I have learned over this last year. It has been really hard letting the Lord chip away at me, break me down and then refine me to a place of hunger for Him once more. But in the midst of it all, I have grown and I am forever thankful for that.
I never thought that I struggled with 'working' for the Lord rather than just depending on His grace. But in a sense, we all do. For instance, I really felt like that by acting 'better' I was being a better Christian. For instance, we have some new friends that have come into our lives this year and have blessed us greatly with their friendship and love for our children. Before this year I would have made absolutely sure that I was the 'perfect looking Christian' to them each and every time they came to this house. I would, of course, be myself but clothed in Christian talk and appearance. Don't get me wrong. We should be set apart! We should be aware of how we are portraying ourselves to others. But I was consumed with making sure that I did these things and did them 'right' so that they would walk away knowing Jesus more. But the Lord has slowly taught me this year that it doesn't matter how 'good' I am. If they are going to come to know Him, they just are. If they aren't; well then they aren't. More than anything, God has humbled me. I have learned that I can help guide someone to the knowing of God but their salvation has nothing to do with me. It's not based on my talk, appearance or act. God has taught me that it's not about me Not at all.
And I only say this because for a person like me, even though I didn't think so, this was a hard lesson to learn.
I feel like I'm falling short on what I'm trying to say in this.
But I realized last night that there are times that I feel like I should apologize to people for things I say or ways I may act because it isn't 'perfectly Christian.' But there is a freedom in me now that lets me know that none of us truly are perfect anyway. Other Christians give us the idea that we are supposed to be perfect, act perfect, appear perfect in order to better lead others to Christ. And again, in a sense I think it's extremely vital and important. But in another sense, I believe people just want to see authenticity.
And more than anything that is how I'm living this year.
It was hard for me knowing that we were going to get to know these new friends during a time when I didn't feel much like my old self at all. They will never know the image of that old Ramee. But they know this Ramee and this girl is at a much deeper, much stronger, much more grace-based place with the Lord than my old self ever thought of being. I don't need to apologize or make excuses for things I may say that aren't correct or perfect because my prayer is that the Lord can still reveal Himself in me, even through my imperfections.
God confirmed this to me today as the kids and I studied the fruits of the spirit. Where did I get this idea anyway? This idea of having to try to be good enough for God or for people? The Word clearly tells us that if we are in God and He is in us, then we will bear much fruit. (John 15:5)
As I went back through the fruits, it was made even more clear to me.
Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Gentleness. Self Control.
I don't have to try. He's in me. I'm in Him.
I will bear these things and others will either see that or they won't but my only responsibility is to remain faithful to God and He will help do the rest. He will reveal Himself.
I play very little part in it all.
...and that frees me...
Because His grace really is enough.
Again, this may not make sense to so many of you. It may seem like ramblings but for me--it has been a huge part of growth this year. More than anything I want the people in my life to recognize Jesus in all I say, do, breathe and think. More than anything I want the people in my life to experience Him in the ways that I do each and every day. It's a vibrant, ferocious, passionate dance between Him and I--and it is beautiful.
Because He is perfect and I don't have to be.
Does that free you today?