I woke up feeling defeated. I hadn’t been very obedient to spend time with Jesus in a while. We got “busy” and I felt distant. My husband put it so well as he sat down to do his quiet time for the first time in a while, “That awkward moment when you have to approach someone you feel a little distant from or feel you’ve let down.”
He was right, the greater the distance and time, the busier I got, the more awkward I felt approaching my Heavenly Father. The ways I had failed as a daughter of His, the ways I failed as a mother, as a worker, as a spouse, all started rolling in. I had missed the mark in every way possible and I felt unworthy.
The truth is, we are never worthy, and thank God for sending His Son to bear that weight for us! If we were actually worthy, any person on the planet except for Jesus, then He would have died for nothing. Grace as a free gift is completely and utterly incomprehensible to me as a human. My love waivers. My love is so conditional and my happiness circumstantial. I simply cannot fathom a God of the universe that sent His Son to pay my price now and for always. Pastor Joby often says, why is it that we understand the Gospel when we first get saved, but after that we forget what the Gospel means and move on to working for our salvation? Baffling.
As I woke up feeling distant, reminded of all the ways I’m a failure, disobedient, snapped at my child, didn’t get the house clean, and wasn’t as much in prayer for my husband for a really big deal in his life as I should have been, I was reminded that we have 365 Days of Grace. 365 Days in a year and 365 new chances. THANK YOU, LORD, FOR GRACE! Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave this God I love. Oh how I can relate so much to that line. Even when I know the Truth I wander off and forget it every single day. I forget that His love and faithfulness to us, as His children, is not dependent upon my faithfulness or my performance. Not ever. And wow, does that bring me so much peace.
His kindness leads us to repentance. I think sometimes God sends us reminders of this by blessing us when we feel at our worst. Times when I feel I most do not deserve blessings from God is often when He does something amazing and I’m reminded that I don’t have to run and hide from Him, but because I’m a failure at pretty much everything without Him, it should cause me to run TO Him in my mess and not away. He doesn’t want to scold me, He doesn’t want to condemn me. All He wants is for me to Abide in Him because He knows as a good, good Dad, that’s where we find real life, real peace and non-circumstantial joy. His grace is sufficient and how dare we diminish the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross. I have to preach this to myself everyday when I feel defeated, or when I mess up, which is often.
He’s a good Dad and wants to give good gifts to his children. I don’t know how you guys feel about dads, but I love looking at Him as my good Father. I had a great dad and so seeing God as a perfect Father with a perfect love gives me a lot of comfort and reminds me to stop listening to the lies. And if you had a crappy dad, it should give you great peace too because God is the only Father you need and He loves you more than you can fathom. In times where I am disobedient, just as a good dad would do, He disciplines us, not because he’s mean, vengeful or wants us to suffer, but because we are His children and He knows what is much better for us. As a mom, I can relate to this so well. It’s mostly in those moments where Kennedy is screaming and throwing a fit because she wants an old tupperware of steak from a week ago instead of the buttery pancakes I’m making for her. I’m sure God looks at us like, “Seriously? Don’t you know how much I love you and how much I want an abundant life for you? Stop holding on to those things that lead to destruction and accept the abundant, purposeful life I have for you.” And in those times of discipline (which is often – apparently Daniel and I need a lot of sharpening) I look back in hindsight and can see how much He was protecting me from going off a cliff. What felt like annoying discipline and not freedom, was actually a Good Father leading me to something so much better.
He never changes. We live in an ever-changing world. Our world is broken and so are the people. Heck, I change every single day. My feelings about things change, my mind changes, I might as well be nicknamed “Fickle-McGee” because of how much I change. But what an amazing blessing and peace of mind to know the God of the Universe never changes. He always stays the same no matter what we do. His character always remains in tact and fickle is something completely opposite of Him. And as a fickle women, the fact that God, who controls all things, always stays the same gives me great comfort.
His love isn’t conditional. His love doesn’t waver and He never looks at you with disappointment. I have heard the analogy that most of us feel like God constantly looks at us with a simmering aggravation and disappointment because we just can’t get this thing right. If I’m honest, even though I know this isn’t true, I probably feel like this more often than not. I get in a great routine of waking early and spending time with Him, I’m really nailing this being a Christian thing and then, BAM! Life happens and my husband is sick, my kid is sick and then I’m sick so I’m back to being a failure at all the things I want to do but just can’t make happen. I really mean to be more intentional, to love my neighbors better, to spend time ministering to others but then the rhythms of my life get jacked up and I’m all off-kilter. But, I can rest in this fact: God’s love for me isn’t conditional. It doesn’t waiver or change, and He doesn’t love me any more or any less based on my performance that day or that week. God’s faithfulness to me stays the same whether or not I “do” all the right things. His grace is sufficient and His love is unlike any other love we can fathom as humans. So in those moments I feel like a failure, the whispers of the enemy get in my head and make me feel distant and unworthy, I can remind myself that He loves me the same today, yesterday and for all time, and He is never disappointed in me because when He sees me He sees Jesus, and Jesus said, “It is finished.”
Jesus paid the price now and forever, so that free gift I received carries on now for all of my past, present and future failures. ALL OF THEM. I can wake up each new day, run into His arms of grace and have a close, intimate relationship with Him. I can boast in the fact that I pretty much suck (sorry mom, she hates that word) without Him. So instead of letting distance grow between us, I can run, not timidly walk, but run to Him with full confidence of His unchanging grace and love for me.
I’ll leave you with a lyric from a song my husband played over and over again this morning (it was only annoying on the 5th repeat) as he was reminded of his 365 Days of Grace (with a tear in his eye I might add – sorry baby, it’s just true, men can cry every once in a while):
“Old things have passed away, your love has stayed the same, your constant grace remains the cornerstone.” Amen.
So instead of being down on yourself for your failures or beating yourself up for not performing the way you think you should, settle in to His arms of grace that are new every. single. morning.