How I Keep it Real With Jesus & Lessons Learned from Malia and Sasha, the Obama Kids
One of my prayers today:
Sometimes I feel like You have forgotten about me…like I am just a waste of breath...like I am a ghost…like my life has been put on pause while I watch from the background the lives of those around me still rolling. I feel irrelevant in Your plan, and I wonder if You or anyone remembers that I am still here. I wonder what to do and what You want from me. I wonder what it looks like to move forward in a plan I never made and never wanted. I feel guilty because deep within me I know that I am blessed far beyond anything I deserve, and I know that I have all that I need to experience the most abundant joy that supersedes circumstance. And I have even tasted that joy and I truly know that nothing has or will ever compare. But today it eludes me. It is hard for me to remember that life is far more than what I can see because what I see is bleak. It is bleak for me and it is incredibly more bleak for many others who are suffering from torture, abuse, poverty, sickness, broken relationships, abandonment, loneliness, fear, depression, and other forms of pain, grief, and loss. As I lose perspective on eternity, my sinful pride stings with the knowledge that, by the world’s standards, I am a failure. I decided to walk away from a promising career to pursue a family. Many years later, I am still childless. I wonder what I am supposed to do now. I fear I will never have a child and I wonder whether my husband and I will be okay with that. Are we still a family? Am I less of a woman? Are we less human? I am at my all time highest weight and cannot imagine that my husband finds me attractive anymore. I have still not mastered an ordered home. My pride sickens me, and yet it doesn’t sicken me enough. The sad truth is that some of my worldly failure is also a result of sin—I have failed You. I am still selfish and lazy and undisciplined with my time and resources—time and resources that are a gift from You and that could be spent at Your feet and serving those around me in Your honor. I have wanted to change, and I have begged for change. It also eludes me.
Where are you, God, and what would You say to me? I know that I am a speck of dust in the presence of the Only Majestic, Awesome, God, Wise, Loving, Righteous, Just, Creator of the World. And yet your Word tells me I am Yours. It tells me that Jesus died for this speck of dust--that you have loved and sacrificed for and redeemed this speck of dust. It tells me that I am no longer your enemy but your friend and even your child and heir. It tells me that I won’t always be broken like I am and that one day my brokenness will no longer hinder me from seeing you and being fully satisfied in you. But for now, I don’t get it and I can’t see it.
I confess I hesitated to post this blog. It exposes me. It exposes that I still believe lies and I still struggle to believe the truth of God’s promises. It exposes my pride. It exposes that I still search for ultimate significance and satisfaction in things that can never deliver. It exposes my failure to live as I ought considering all that God has given me. It exposes my confusion. It exposes my pain. It exposes my doubt. It exposes my raw emotion toward God. To many I will look the fool. Some will judge me or think poorly of me. Some will think I am being dramatic or a downer. Some will think I am unstable. Some won't be able to relate. Some will think I just need a dose of optimism or "happy thoughts". Some never think of such things. Some won't really care. Some will be uncomfortable with me and won’t know what to say or do. Some will doubt my faith in God. Some will think I am not fit for formal ministry with my husband. Everyone will see that I am broken and a mess and a sinner. But in the spirit of my last post, I just want to be real, sincere, true, and honest about who I am, even if it is ugly and messy. I want to care more about what God thinks of me than about what others think. I want to encourage others. Maybe it will encourage even one person who can relate to where I am at, whether they are a Christian or a non-Christian. Most of all, I pray that any exposure of who I am—with my many, many warts and all—will show the world what a GRACIOUS, MERCIFUL, KIND, LOVING God who would stoop down to love me—not in some generic universal way, but in a personal way. Because Jesus is my Lord who took my sins upon Himself and was crucified because of them, I have been acquitted and I am free. I am free to be in relationship with a Perfectly Holy God who because of His Perfect Righteousness cannot tolerate sin. Light cannot live with darkness. What is pristine cannot co-mingle with mud and remain pristine. My sin and failure has corrupted me, but because Jesus paid for ALL of my sin (past, present, and future), my slate is washed clean before my God. Because of what Jesus did for me, God is no longer this distant King, but He is my Father the King.
By illustration, I am now like Malia and Sasha who are the daughters of President Obama. The world calls him “Mr. President”. The world stands back, showing deference and respect for the prestigious office of President of the United States of America. While Malia and Sasha also show Barack Obama the respect and deference due to him as their father and president, they also run into his arms. They have access to the President that the rest of the world doesn’t. As a loving father, President Obama delights in their hugs and kisses, and eagerly invites them to share their true hearts—hopes, dreams, sorrows, struggles, and even failures—with him. He wants to know them, bless them, and help them. That is a good father’s heart. Our God is the Best Father. He is better than any earthly father. For all who acknowledge their sin and need of saving, for all who trust in Jesus’ work on the cross, and for all who submit to Jesus as Lord and first in their life, we have this kind of access to God Our Father. It is freely available to any who would come to Him.
And so I pour my heart out to my God. I tell him where I truly am, even though in His Omnipotence and Infinite Wisdom, He already knows. He still wants to hear from me. And talking to Him comforts me because I know that He is there and I know that He cares. His Word always reminds me of who He is and what He has done and how much He loves. Because of this, even as I write the last sentence of this post, my heart is not the same as when I wrote the first.
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! 2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, 3 who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, 4 who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, 5 who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's. 6 The LORD works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed. 7 He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel. 8 The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. 9 He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. 10 He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; 12 as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. 13 As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him. 14 For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust. 15 As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; 16 for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more. 17 But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children's children, 18 to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments. 19 The LORD has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all. 20 Bless the LORD, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, obeying the voice of his word! 21 Bless the LORD, all his hosts, his ministers, who do his will! 22 Bless the LORD, all his works, in all places of his dominion. Bless the LORD, O my soul!
Luke 12 “I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. 5 But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! 6 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. 7 Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.
12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit………. 18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
1 Peter 5 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.