My family has had many changes recently. Since November, we have flown to Ethiopia to bring back our 18 month old twins, said goodbye to sweet friends, packed up our lives and memories in Okinawa, Japan, flew from Seattle to Boulder to Virginia and then to Kentucky visiting friends and family, moved to Puerto Rico, and are still waiting for our household goods to land so we can move into our new home. We have lived out of 4 suitcases, 2 pack and plays, 3 car seats, and backpacks for the entire time. I’ve had shingles, we have all been sick in bed, and Barrett started his new job. I wish I could tell you we weathered all this with grace, joy, and peace while trusting in the Lord’s Providence, but that would be a lie.
I’ve been short and mean with my children, I haven’t loved my neighbor as myself and, worst of all, my marriage hit a literal low. Although we vowed for better and for worst, we didn’t know it would look like this: more roommates than romancers, more often disliking each other than liked. I did not enjoy my husband and kids…and sadly, this revealed that my hope and joy were dependent on them rather than Christ! But that is another lesson for another time.
Dear sister, your story might not look exactly like mine, but you know that you have a circumstance, relationship, or depression that has left you like me: crying out to God, begging Him to help because you hate living this hypocritical life of saying you trust Him in all things yet your life was far from showing it. Own it friend. Acknowledge the sin you are holding on to of unforgiveness, jealousy, control, anxiety, or pride that has produced its fruit in your difficult time, leaving you feeling like life is hopeless. Oh sweet sister, you need to acknowledge the weight of this sin. You need to grasp how any one of these sins can push your life into the path of hopelessness. Don’t be afraid; don’t look away. Because it’s right here, when our sin bears down so hard, that the grace Jesus won for you at the cross will restore your hope and lift up your head!
What is this grace? Grace is getting what you don’t deserve. It’s my husband buying me a cupcake on the way home when we still aren’t OK. It’s my kids waking up cheering after I blew up at them the night before. But ultimately, grace is Jesus taking my sins—trying to control my husband and kids, losing my patience, not being kind to my neighbor, being jealous of the life SHE has, and fearing that life isn’t working out the way I planned—and nailing it to the cross. He bore the weight of God’s wrath on Himself for me. For ugly, sometimes unrepentant me! And then, don’t miss this, and THEN, he gave me His righteousness. He made me perfect in God’s eyes. This is grace! When God sees me, He doesn’t see the sin that deserves his wrath, He sees His perfect son and accepts me.
This is our hope! This is the big picture we can’t forget while walking in the son-blocking path in the forest of life. This grace reminds us that we are forgiven and have the hope of heaven! We have Christ forever!
Please don’t misunderstand me that all hardship is caused by personal sin, yet His grace on us should still bring us hope. When everything falls down around us, we know that we are forgiven and righteous because of the grace of Christ. Oh Lord, as we meditate on your grace, may that give us hope in hard times and motivate us to give grace to others.
Your sister in Christ,