Flesh Pierced. Paper Torn.

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I grab a pen and a pile of paper. I am going to write down my sins, one by one. One piece of paper for each sin.

I close my eyes. I should pause in prayer before I begin this seemingly impossible task. Instead of opening my eyes after I pray, they stay glued shut. This IS impossible. So I imagine…

I imagine picking up the pen and writing on the first paper: Today, I lost my temper with my kids.
Then, the second: As a little girl, I was jealous of my pretty friend.
The third: Yesterday, I wished I had a bigger house.
The fourth: Sunday, I blamed my husband for things that were my responsibility.

I quickly realize, there aren’t enough hours to compile every hidden sin. So my mental scribbles become one or two big words on each paper:
                                                   Wanting More.
                                                   Ignoring God.
                                                  Ugly Words.

My mind runs out of paper. But just as well; paper could no longer hold the weight of the words. I imagine writing the rest on huge stones:
                                                   Envy.
                                                  Disobedience.
                                                 Complacency.
                                                 Laziness.
                                                 Arrogance.
                                                Selfishness.

I can’t do this anymore. I imagine my desk covered with papers. They are falling onto the floor, pressing up against the walls and pouring out the windows like an avalanche. The huge stones have shattered my mirrors and cracked the tile floors.

My heart feels heavy under the weight of all the words; under the weight of all my sin. But God shouts through the condemnation:

‘And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.‘ -Colossians 2:13-14

My eyes feel as if they will never open again. I can’t miss what God is about to show me.

A man is coming. He is collecting my papers…one by one.

A man is coming. He lifts the heavy stones and carries them on his back.

There is something else on his back too.

A cross.

He leaves my house. He goes to my neighbors and does the same thing. They have a collection of papers and stones… just like me.

There are a few neighbors who don’t want him to clean out their house. They sit atop their stones grasping their mass of papers and weep.

It breaks my heart. I know it breaks His more.

Now the man begins his climb up the hill. I know the story. You know the story. He carries his cross. I imagine him carrying the heavy stones and every single piece of paper with it’s scribble of black sin, too. He doesn’t drop one. Not a single one.

He grips my written sin as the soldiers hammer the first nail through his hand. Flesh is pierced; paper is torn.
My selfishness: Nailed to the cross.
My arrogance: Nailed to the cross.
My apathy: Nailed to the cross.
Blood flows, drenching the papers in his hand, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against me.

I watch every single sin of my life, being nailed to the cross.
He took it all away, having nailed it to the cross.
He took it all away.
He took it all away.
He took it all away.
Amen.
And what of the stones? The only stone I see is the one that was rolled away.

Breathing in the Unknown

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I kept banging around the bowl trying to corner him, “Seriously fish! Trust me!”

Talking to my blue fish has become the norm these days. He’s the kind of guy who’d never leave dirty socks on the floor. And, he never asks things like, Mommy, why do you laugh like a seal? He’s such a gentleman.

Each week he graciously swims into my net to be transferred to clean water.

But, yesterday! He gave the biggest attitude. He wouldn’t get into the net and it wasn’t funny! If he didn’t want this water, he was welcome to the toilet I’d scrubbed earlier.

I crashed my net against the glass again, “I don’t want you to get sick!”.

My heart winced. I was on the verge of being sick too…spiritually sick. I knew it, and God was getting my attention. I was all bent out of shape over this fish not letting me save it from poop water, as I defiantly swam in my own.

I recently expected God to move in a certain way in my life…and he didn’t. I was heartbroken.

I’d rather be submerged in disappointment, then be transferred into God’s perspective of my circumstances. I was over it. Over praying. Over crying. Over…whelmed.

Still, here was God, trying to rescue me, “Seriously child! Trust me. I don’t want you to get sick!”

God’s love has never failed me. He’s carried me like, a Father carries a son, out of every Egypt and wilderness I’ve faced. Why was I banging my head against the bowl trying to escape rescue?

If I enter into God’s saving net, He’ll raise me up into a pocket of air called the unknown.

Let’s be honest, breathing in the unknown, can hurt.

I got that stubborn fish in the net, he wriggled in desperation, gasping, until I plopped him safely in clean water. When we’re scooped up into God’s purposes, we don’t have to mimic a suffocating fish. If it feels like we can’t breathe, it’s because we’re choking on lies.

Here is the truth: God isn’t going to flush us down the toilet.

We can enter into the unknown, clinging confidently to the known.

We know our God is good!

Abandoning the mire and surrendering to hope, elevates us to a new atmosphere. Like those who train to climb Mt. Everest, it will stretch and challenge the lungs of our faith. The air is thin and burns our chest.

Yet, our Father teaches us a new way to breathe. Instead of gasping on lies, we deeply inhale his promises.

One by one-

He loves us. He lifts us higher.

He fights for us. We grow stronger.

He’s with us. We have peace.

Our mighty God will always deliver us to a place of hope and beauty.

“There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.” -Deuteronomy 1:30-31