A number of years ago, I was sitting in my bedroom and having a wonderful quiet time. The Lord really encouraged me and I felt that I was set for my day--feeling spiritual. I walked out of my bedroom into the hallway that went to the kitchen by way of my living room. There, amongst all of my best "stuff"--my breakables, were my two boys having a pillow fight with gusto. They hit some button I didn't even know I had. I went ballistic. I started giving them the lecture of their life and started spewing all over them--they didn't know what was coming--and I am sure that some of it had been stored just waiting to come out. Poor unsuspecting creatures.
And then when it was over, I was as shocked as they were! How could I have just had a quiet time with the Lord and then without 60 seconds gone by, I was acting out in ugly frustrated anger. Then of course, guilt and remorse pointed the ugly finger of inadequacy at me! How can you dare to speak and write books on motherhood? I can't believe you made such a big deal out of nothing! You have probably scarred the boys for life--and all the other accusing voices that have become so familiar at times.
I have met so many women in the past weeks who carry all sorts of guilt on their shoulders. And many feel they have failed so much there is no return. But God is always the God of second chances. I was contemplating this on the way home from the airport the other day, that God's glory is revealed in the lives of people who make mistakes and have regrets.
Abraham lied about Sarah being his wife and was going to let her have an affair with a foreign king!
Noah got drunk. Moses killed a man. And lost his temper just after being in the presence of God on the mountain getting the ten commandments and then threw them on the ground.
David committed adultery and then had his love's husband killed in battle.
Rahab was a harlot. Peter denied Jesus after living with Him as His best friend for 3 years. Paul was killing the followers of Jesus.
Paul said, "Wretched man that I am. I do the very things I do not wish to do." Romans 7--the end
This is why living in the grace of God is so very important. Romans 8:1, "There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Romans 8: "Nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus."
"It is by grace you have been saved, and that not of yourself, it is a gift of God." Ephesians 2
The older I get and the more I see how prone I am to stumble, the more humble I have had to become and the more dear my salvation and Christ's grace is. I love Him more and more because I better know how fallen I am, and yet He still loves me, works through me, patiently waits for me as I little by little grow up.
Many years ago, I was speaking to thousands of people at a conference where another very prominent Christian leader was speaking. (Please do not try to figure out who I mean--I don't even think you could guess-it was a million years ago!)
We had a close mutual friend who had wanted us to meet. This speaker had tried to find me and I had tried to find her--but we had both been speaking all day.
So at the end of my day, with baby Joy in arms and Sarah at my side (I wanted Sarah to meet a really godly woman), I waited for this woman to be through with her speaking and stood in line with the rest of the women. When I finally got up to talk to her, she was very impatient with me and short to Sarah. Sarah said, "I thought you said she was supposed to be godly." and had her teenage feelings hurt. Of course we were both very tired.
At first blush, I was tempted to be critical of this woman. But then I realized how very much I had been encouraged by one of her books. So, I made an effort to go back home and to get out one of her books again.
Since that time, I have been very grateful that it happened. I still think she was a woman of great wisdom and integrity and really walked with the Lord. But, I saw that even she got tired and made mistakes--somehow seeing this woman in her fragility helped me to give grace to myself when I failed my own expectations. I know this woman is a great woman of God and yet, she walked in His grace, too.
How comforting her life has been to me--the treasure of God in these fragile human vessels and still He allows us, in spite of our failures, to love and serve Him. And He loves us so much.
It is why Peter said, "Love covers a multitude of sin." and "Love is a perfect bond of unity."
And Jesus said, "Judge not lest ye be judged."
So, lest you be tempted to disqualify yourself, walk in His light--the light of His forgiveness, grace, redemption, freedom from guilt. And practice extending this grace to those who also need it--first yourself, then your husband, your children, your family, your friends, your enemies,...
You have to make a choice to live in His presence where love and forgiveness dwell. You must not take on the accusations of other people. You repent of your sin and failings as it happens and then accept His forgiveness and grace--live there, cultivate comfort and familiarity there--He will renew and He can cover over our faults and weaknesses--even as it takes a toddler a very long time to grow into mature adulthood, ou maturity will not come overnight--it will require patience.
When you practice grace and thankfulness for God's love and grace, you sow into your own life a great character that will serve to bring lives to others the rest of your life.
Remember today! No condemnation today. Live in His loving grace and celebrate life with your loved ones who will flourish in His love and grace.
Off to pack for California--leaving in a few hours. Would so appreciate your prayers for my children and Clay and me in the midst of this week. Looking so forward to seeing so many of you.