I just had this penance conversation with the vandals, our 3 and 5-year-old sons.
Me: CHARLIE?!?! What happened to your lip??!
Charlie: Sam punched me in da face.
Charlie: It’s ok mommy, herms had enuf of me.
Sam: ya… I told herms to stop.
Charlie: ya… herms told me a bunch of times to knock it off.
Fair enough… I guess.
This is how I lived. In the belief, I deserved some harsh treatment for my wicked ways. And by the world’s standards, I look like a very good girl.
I adopted babies, fostered babies, ran meals to shut-ins and new mommies. I have homeschooled, and not homeschooled, ate organic spinach and only cussed on Tuesdays.
My lists of good, bad and ugly kept me on the treadmill of trying to accomplish the impossible work of the Cross.
If success breeds success and I fail constantly… what time will a train going 90 mph arrive in Decatur?
The math doesn’t work.
There is no logic.
There is no sense to be made of the message of the Cross and what I deserve.
But instead of thanking God for the gift of His son and accepting my inheritance as saved, delivered and redeemed, I have tirelessly attempted to fit a square peg in a round hole.
To earn the gift of the crucifixion of my Lord; Yes, to earn this blood sacrifice by my good deeds.
It shies in comparison, but for a moment imagine that someone you dearly love came to you and said, “I worked all year and saved my money and I paid off your mortgage because I love you.”
And you said:
- What do I owe you?
- I can’t accept this gift, I will work to pay off your mortgage.
- Well, I did (insert good deed) for you so now I guess we are even.
Now, change that scenario, you just worked and saved and scrimped to buy your child a new car. You hand them the keys and they say:
- What do I owe you?
- I will work really hard to pay you back.
- Well, I mowed the lawn, this is the least you can do for me.
I promised to be candid, so I now imagine myself standing at the foot of the Cross. And Jesus says, “You are blameless… I love you this much.” And I have the audacity to say, “Well yeah sure, but not if I…”
Have a glass of wine.
Run a red light.
Gossip about one of the room-mothers.
Yell at my kids.
Charge a pair of shoes on my Khol’s card.
And you might argue, well those are little sins. Really, there are degrees? Might I propose, a crime against children or an affair with my neighbor might bring to light the reality that He doesn’t fully dwell in me?
Or that my nature ignored that which was beneficial to my faith walk and did what it pleased.
But… isn’t that the same thing as donuts and wine?
Well, you argue, “Donuts and wine don’t destroy lives or marriages…”
Gluttony could cost me my life.
Wine could cost me my marriage, career, life, and limb.
What do I deserve?
The natural consequences of my folly are earned.
The gift of my redemption was free.
As I ponder these truths I am forced to face the reality of years wasted believing God was out to get me. That He was continually mad – that I had to prove myself worthy of the Cross.
If this were true… why the horrific murder of His boy? Still, I want to be better. I want to do better.
I want to be better not to earn that which was gifted… but to honor He who gave.
Today I am different. Today I am free to know He adores me. He delights in me and my accomplishments. He favors me as daughter.
If He is for me… Dear Jesus, if He is for me… I am fully His.
Nothing can change that. I am better for Him not to earn daughtership but to revel in my inheritance. Daddy’s girl, spoiled rotten, held, adored, cared for, protected, and taught by my Father in Heaven.
That which I certainly do not deserve, cannot earn or finagle.
The ultimate gift of royalty.
“Herms” told me a bunch of times… the difference is – now I believe.
May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained. Love, Jami
1 Corinthians 10:23 Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial.
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