Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My Moment

Everyone has one of those moments. A moment that defines your life: “Before Mom died…”; “After I found out I had cancer…”; Before the house fire…”. It is a moment that splits your life in two. Before…and after.

My moment…I was a Christian, 22 years old, single, almost finished with college, and 5 ½ months pregnant. My on-again, off-again boyfriend had just left for what I knew would be the last time. It was over. I sat on my parents’ couch in the quickly-fading evening light and cried out to God. It wasn’t a “help me, Lord” prayer. It was “I DON’T WANT TO DO IT THIS WAY!!! THIS IS SO UNFAIR! WHY ARE YOU MAKING ME DO THIS WITHOUT HIM? YOU COULD CHANGE THINGS IF YOU REALLY WANTED TO!” Even now, I can hear my hoarse, tear-soaked voice screaming in an empty house. I was a Christian. I had gone before my church and asked forgiveness of my sins (notice I did not say repented because that implies a turning away from sin). I had asked God to make that relationship work. And there I sat. Alone. Angry. Completely unable to turn the tide of what my life was now.

The next couple of months were excruciating. Sometimes it took all my strength just to get up in the morning. I learned what true repentance was. I read about David and could almost hear him as he cried: 

“Generous in love—God, give grace! Huge in mercy—wipe out my bad record.
   Scrub away my guilt,
      soak out my sins in your laundry.
   I know how bad I've been;
      my sins are staring me down.
 You're the One I've violated, and you've seen
      it all, seen the full extent of my evil.
   You have all the facts before you;
      whatever you decide about me is fair.
   I've been out of step with you for a long time,
      in the wrong since before I was born.
   What you're after is truth from the inside out.
      Enter me, then; conceive a new, true life.”  Psalm 51: 1-6 (The Message translation)

I learned was it was like to be totally dependent on God just to put one foot in front of the other. I would leave my room ready to face the day, only to end up back face down on my bed in a puddle of tears half an hour later. Slowly, I began to feel alive again. When Caleb was born in March, just shy of 4 months since my world changed, I glimpsed a pure picture of true grace and sweet mercy. Here was this beautiful, perfect being given to me…ME?! I, who deserved death, who deserved punishment, guilty of turning my back on God, rightfully accused by my very own hand; God was placing into my arms this precious gift? It is the single most humbling, undeserving moment I have ever experienced. It was truly unmerited favor from the Creator of the universe

Don’t get me wrong. It was not all peaches and cream. I was a single parent with a full time job. I was up every night with ear infections, 3am feedings, catching up on chores not done during the day. But looking back, I see God carrying me every step. He gave me wonderful parents and sweet siblings who bent over backwards to help. He gave me a devoted grandmother who asked if she could be an honorary grandmother (instead of a great-grandmother) in place of the one who was missing in Caleb’s life. He gave me a loving aunt and uncle who thought the world revolved around Caleb from the moment they saw him. I had extended family, friends, church family. With all of these blessings, I finished college and provided for Caleb everything he needed and so much more. I was able to counsel several unwed, pregnant young women in my job as an OB-GYN office manager. I could look them straight in the eye and tell them that they could do it, that I knew what they were going through. And I could tell them about the One who had carried me.

Fast forward 4 years as I repeated wedding vows to one of my best friends in the world. Caleb had a dad. I had a Christian husband. I had a new stepson. A year and half later, I would have a new baby daughter. My cup truly runneth over. So why did God save me? Why did he bless me as He did? Why didn’t He work things out the way I had planned? Why didn’t He crush me with His righteous anger as I deserved? Simple, yet so very complex. So He would be glorified. A song by Jeremy Camp says, “We will overcome, by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony, everyone overcome.” (“Overcome”, 2010). Only by the blood of the Lamb, that allowed me to have this testimony, am I able to sit here victorious. I didn’t get to this point in my life by pulling myself up by my bootstraps. I didn’t pick myself up, dust myself off, grit my teeth, or any other inspiring phrase you care to insert. I fell. I crawled. I begged for mercy. And my Lord gave it.

No matter where you are in your life, by your own hand or by circumstances around you, God is bigger than your situation. God will be glorified. “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of Earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”

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