Fully Accepted

“Growing up, I knew all of God’s standards for my life, but none of his grace.”

That line from my sister’s testimony has haunted me for the last two weeks.

That Sunday that I baptized her, she shared with everyone her journey to God, away from God and then a back again.

We have heard the same story from so many people in our last two years as Lead Pastors.

Men and women trying to live under the thumb of God, trying to measure up and then giving up when they realize there is no way they can do it.

As a preteen I would lay on my bed, my knees pulled into my chest rocking side to side, weeping.

The feeling of falling short, of not being what someone expected. A disappointment. 

I would write verses on my wall to try to live better, more sold out, more on fire.

Deep inside me I’d hear a voice say “you know better”, “I expect more from you”.

_ _ _

“Caleb! What are you doing? You’re the oldest kid, if you do that they will all do it. I expect more out of you.”

Those words slipped off my tongue and hit like a pile of green slime.

The whole weight of everything I felt as an oldest child slung onto him in a jumbled mess of condemnation, guilt and expectation.

I saw it hit him. I watched his eyes droop and his smile fade. The shame. The disappointment. His face crumbled. His heart was crushed.

I tried again. “I’m so sorry. Can you tell me what happened?”

He melted and explained the situation, tears pouring down as he was released from the weight of letting his entire family down.

_ _ _

Those voices. I still hear them.

“You’ve been serving God for twenty five years. Are you still really messing up?”

“After all this time, you think God has grace left for you?”

I have always believed in his grace and held strongly to being saved by grace, but deep down always lived as though I was held to a higher standard.

I read this passage in Romans 8:15-16 from the Passion Translation and it absolutely impacted my heart.

And you did not receive the “spirit of religious duty,” leading you back into the fear of “never being good enough”. But you received the “Spirit of Full Acceptance”, enfolding you into the family of God. And you will never feel orphaned, for as he rises up within us, our spirits join with him in saying the word of tender affection, “Beloved Father”. For the Holy Spirit makes God’s fatherhood real to us as whispers into our inmost being, “You are God’s beloved child!”.

It was like the writer could hear the thoughts in my head. How did he know my fears led back to “never being good enough?”.

To be fully accepted, just as I am? In my nakedness, my shame, my guilt, my shortcomings, my failures…my yelling at my kids just this morning over something ridiculous, out of patience and flailing in exhaustion?

I am enough?

I am…God’s beloved child?

Beloved, meaning dearly loved. Dearly meaning very much.

Monica Jane, the very much loved daughter.

To say it sounds too good to be true is an understatement.

But it is true. Undeniably true. I have been received with full acceptance. No turning back. He’s not handing back my “eternal life” card. There is no double standard. It’s done. In Jesus’ words on the cross:

It. Is. Finished.

YOU are dearly, fiercely, deeply loved. 

Don’t live in the fear of never being good enough. Receive the Spirit of Full Acceptance, that is Jesus Christ our Saviour.

You will find just when you start the long journey back to Him, He’s waiting right beside you.

understandinggrace.jpg

{My sister and my firstborn. Both receiving grace.}

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