As a kid, I thought that God was this gigantic figure in a glowing white robe, white hair with a massive white beard, holding a giant, golden, pitch fork. He was totally focused on me and my screw ups because he was waiting to zap me with that big ole pitch fork when I stepped over the line of rightness. Wrong…..
When I was about 25, I learned about a loving God that I could access through my church and my performance. I truly believed that I could erase my past by just being good enough and doing churchy things with churchy people. Wrong again…..
When I was 31, I found out that churchy things and churchy people can turn on you in the blink of an eye.
When I was 33, I found out that you can give all things religiously organized the cold shoulder, but not God.
When I was 40 ish , I learned this:
Your walk with God is not like a suit you put on and take off. It’s more like skin. It occurs with every physical step you take. He is with you when you stub your toe and cuss and when you hit your knees to pray. It happens while you sin. It happens while your confused, when you feel less than everyone else, when you feel great and when you don’t. He sticks when you are partying with your friends and when you are pretending to be something you are not. When you have an aha moment, He is the reason. When He said He would never leave you nor forsake you… That is exactly, literally what He meant. Your walk with Him just occurs simply because you know Him.
I am not sure the exact moment when I started to believe that there was a separation between me and God’s love for me, but it did occur. I spent half my life expectancy in terror of a love I did not believe I would ever be good enough to obtain. I believed it to my bones. It was subconscious. It was like breathing. I became an actor on a stage, trying to perfect my acting skills in order to be enough to qualify for His love and the love of His people. I stayed awake nights trying to figure out how to fit into a world and a church that had no place for me. Some how I did not know the difference between Grace and performance. And all the while , that second skin, that Jesus was with me.
That second skin was not panicking. It was not concerned that I was going totally the wrong way, because even if I didn’t know He was there, He did. He knew about my broken-ness, the lies I believed and the lies I told my self. He knew I was not less than….. that I possessed a range of gifts, talents, beautiful attributes and brains along with my shortcomings. He knew that I was on a journey that was not complete and that all of those things would come full circle to full fill this plan he had. He knew because He had already Gone to the bank, paid off my spiritual mortgage and put the proof of purchase in His pocket, just in case anyone tried to foreclose. He took care of my spiritual insurance premiums because He knew that natural, man-made and self-made disasters had, were and would continue to occur in my life.
This was His plan. He drew up blue prints. He knew what had to occur to complete it. He knew about my brokenness and knew what had to be done to fix it. He stayed to oversee this plan himself. He is a perfectionist you know- if you want something done right…….
I still find myself wondering if I will ever fit into this world, if my past, my depression, my dark memories will ever find that place of peace in me. I wonder sometimes if He is there. I wonder in the middle of the night if He can chase away the monsters. I wonder. But the sun comes up and when it does I am immediately reminded that His presence is there- no matter how I feel, no matter what is wrong with my body, no matter how my mind sees my life. He whispers to me through my husband, my children, my radio, my family and my friends that His love for me is not a matter of my will and performance, but His. As a friend of mine recently and eloquently said..” You can’t out will God.”