I back out of the drive and I am being sent off by a family waving goodbyes. I glance down, recalling how sweet the weekend was.Dressed in an old pair of worn Levi’s ripped at the knee, a shirt a few sizes too big . I laugh because it doesn’t even belong to me. It would be typical to go out in the soft cotton T that I slept in for the past few days. I’m headed back to the village. Motorway time ahead but Starbucks is required at the rest stop.
The English rain flickers off the windshield, heavy clouds are rolling in. The drive requires me to pass through spaces and places in time that are significant . Memories seep in and drown me out. I remember the alters I built, and I find myself building more. I am remembering previous pages of my life that God wrote with His ink. I remember the chapters clearly.
And well…….the pages keep turning and new chapters are being written and time continues to escape me. The trees are going by at quick speed and I think of how life seems to be going by so fast and wasn’t it just yesterday that I arrived in this country? and now five and a half years down the line….I can’t help but ask the question to God,
“What have I become?”
Any ounce of pride that resided in my heart in that moment was shattered. For I didn’t orchestrate my life to turn out this way. The God who puts the stars in the sky and knows my name, He actually knows my name, and He wrote and ordered my days……well He is the one I blame. He is the one responsible for writing the story of
my life and putting a song in my heart.
“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect.” 1 Corinthians 15:10
And I think of the two times this week that I had to go to , “Accidents and Emergencies” for the tightness in my chest that won’t seem to go away. The first time at midnight, where I was met by a woman in the corner throwing up and swearing into the air and then the police cars bring in a girl covered in blood. Life was too hard for this girl and her wrists take the slashes . Open wounds that cry for help.The officer holds the knife, the same knife that this girl attempted to write the final chapter with. We are all here for different reasons but desire the same outcome. To get better, to be healthy, and to have doctors do whatever they can to make the pain go away. It was messy in there.
And we are all in need of a doctor because we are all sick.
That is life isn’t it though? Messy……and isn’t that what communities that are centered on the Gospel are made up of? Messy and broken people that recognize in order to be healthy and whole, distinctive and set apart, that it doesn’t require just a pop in from time to time on a Sunday morning but a permanent prescription of the antidote that reverses the poison we have swallowed? The lies that we have believed about ourselves? The accusations that have caused us to cripple? The shame that doesn’t allow us to move forward? The belief that we are beyond saving? That we are useless, worthless, aimless and without purpose, function, and meaning? That selfishness wins and that sacrificing and suffering loses?
And well these are the same lies that God is setting straight my heart as I drive. I embrace Jesus as the antidote, as my Savior who turns me around and turns me up side down. He canceled the debt and overturned my punishment. He takes my fractured, fragmented, dislocated heart and life and makes them whole, and in my brokenness He redeems. He speaks into me,
“It’s okay, I have forgiven you, now it’s time for you to forgive yourself.” – and the CROSS is enough. Not just theory but the connection to my heart that had been attached in a somewhat dodgy way prior to this moment. And somehow in the midst of all the destruction and the ruin, He is more than able to use me. It’s all by His grace.
“Nothing can overwhelm me — like grace can overtake me.” AV
The rest stop appears. I pull in and park up. I stand in line eager to order. The coffee grinder is on and the sound of the mixer is louder than any conversation being had. But not louder than His voice in my Head or His love that has gripped my heart. I feel like it’s going to beat out of my chest. In some ways I wish it had, for He would have been made evident to all in the room. I hope in just being in there, that that was enough. The barista hands me my drink. I stroll back to the car and laugh again to myself………she got my name wrong………
and God……He doesn’t.
learning to love again