It’s been a while. Quite a bit has happened in the past year-ish; I’ve learned some from it and get the feeling there is a whole lot more waiting to be discovered from this experience.
I want to be raw and glaringly honest. I took a break from my faith a while back. It was an internal rebellion rather than external, but rebellion all the same. I returned much changed from my prodigal experience. I am far worse than I used to be, by my old standards and measurements. I do less, curse more, and question more. By my old mentality, I have strayed from the path that leads to righteousness.
But friends, I am becoming whole in the ways of grace. The impure motives and incentives that used to fuel my walk have been extinguished. Loving Jesus is not about becoming good or climbing a metaphorical ladder to purity in the Christian life. My piety and goodness were poisoned with striving and a need to display that I could defeat my demons and mend my brokenness through sheer will-power and inner-strength. My soul was left completely dilapidated, having given more than I ever had to offer, indebted, and hopelessly circling round my own striving.
But now, those impurities have been burned away; all that’s left is the deep anguish of my soul and, hallelujah, I can finally be real – I am broken, too.
But grace came. And I was able to be me. Just me. No added actions to bolster my reputation. Bare and raw and naked and alone Jess. Lacking and not enough and too much. But grace and grace abundant saw me, accepted me, and thus allowed me to be free. No, I’m not better than I was, but I have internalized now that my creator loves me for who I am, and sometimes, despite who I am. I feel so intimately and utterly known and loved by Jesus I no longer constantly feel the need to perform. I feel as if I can genuinely love others, rather than doing it as an obligatory action.
Sorrow. Pain. Brokenness. Those things will be our constant companions in this world. But I choose, rather than to put on my brave face, to lean deeper into the Immanuel’s grace. His grace that sees the darkness in me and accepts me anyway. His reconciling grace. His redeeming grace. His healing grace. His paradoxical grace. Hallelujah.