“Define yourself radically as one beloved by God. This is the true self. Every other identity is illusion.” Brennan Manning

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Stepping in the tube

July 3, 2013 Gotta share what God's doing in me. OK, so I've been afraid of God for a long time. I knew He could see right through my masks, and I knew I was in big trouble and I thought He was going to nail me. I believed my acceptance depended on my performance and I just couldn't fix myself and get it together. And so I've been running from God, but He has been chasing me. I knew He was chasing me and I was afraid because I knew I couldn't really hide all my mistakes and failures from Him. I knew I had tried to be a Christian and do all the right things, but I just didn't add up and I didn't deserve His mercy so I kept trying harder and harder and falling in all kinds of ditches, trusting the wrong things and people, turning to food for comfort (more shame), and kept getting hurt and stained and more desperate to be found and loved.

So I dared to open up to a few people, still very cautious, worried it could all turn on me. But I had to do something cause I felt like I was dying and no one knew it and I was so hurt and torn up and angry and lost and afraid and lonely inside. And I didn't even know who I was. But last night Jesus found me while I was so lost and afraid. And He held me still shaking. And I didn't fight it, just let Him love me. And He is kind, not harsh. And I let Him see my mess but He didn't scold me but gave me grace and forgiveness and love. And His love is changing me like I never could. And it hurts in a good way. And I feel loved. And my fears are becoming less. It's true I am still a sinner full of mess and sins too numerous, but He is breaking down my walls of pride and self sufficiency and washing me and showing me grace and kindness. His love changes everything.

But I still feel hesitant to trust completely, afraid it's too good to be true and that the rules might change and that God will turn His back on me. And so I'm asking Jesus to show me His love and help me to trust Him and not fear. So today, I'm at my in-law's lake house and we took my boys tubing (in a really big safe tube). My 3 year old was excited and jumped right on the tube with my husband. But my 5 year old really was too afraid even though he really wanted to get in. We encouraged him, but he couldn't find the courage and so he watched with me in the boat. After watching for a few minutes, he found an ounce of courage and he told me he wanted in the tube. This time he was determined even though he was still very much afraid as he stepped in.

He sat down, hands griping the handles tight, eyes wide with fear as the boat started off slowly. He saw the waves and felt the tube rock, and tears just started rolling down his cheeks. His daddy whispered gently in his ear, “You can do this buddy. You're going to be all right. You are very brave. I am with you. I got you.” His daddy knew the driver would go slow and easy and that he was safe. But the tears continued to roll. He didn't try to stop them and he didn't ask to get off; he just sat there and cried with his daddy whispering courage in his ear. And after a long time, he began to loosen his grip, he looked beyond the waves at his daddy who was cheering for him the whole time and he gave him a knuckles. Then, he smiled and waved at me. He was free. His daddy's love and encouragement helped him see past the waves. And he began to trust and he was able to enjoy the ride with a smile on his face. All the while, his little brother was standing on the tube, both arms flung in the air, unafraid and free.

This was so good for me to watch. For some, like my 3 year old, trust is easy. But, for others it's hard and their may be bad memories of the past to overcome or just more hesitation. The struggle of my 5 year old is the same as mine. I fear stepping in the tube even though I want to get in so bad and be free and have fun. And after just watching other people ride the waves, I determine to step in. But I go in afraid, still looking at the waves and not trusting they won't hurt me, but my Daddy is whispering in my ear, “I love you. You are safe with me.” And slowly I begin to trust and I loosen my grip and my eyes turn to Him and He smiles at me and I am changed. And I am free. And all the waves that looked so terrible are not as scary because my Daddy is with me and He is not going to hurt me. He loves me.

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