This is Day 2 of my 31 days of writing series called "Confessions of a Road Kill Christian" If you haven't read Day 1 you can click here first. I am linking up with #write31days.
I had an idea of what this blog series would look like. I had my outline written, neatly in rows, but in this moment that plan doesn't feel right. I would throw the paper in the trash, but we both know I'd be fishing it out again in a matter of minutes because, well you know, I am eventually going to loose my train of thought and I might need it. So I'm just going to sit here, and share my story. In the process I'm going to remind my heart of how Big and Amazing God is. How his faithfulness towards me has been breathtaking and how I can count on him to be faithful in my now. So here we go...
I was raised in a Christian family. A good Christian family. You might know what one of those looks like: we were the typical first ones there every time the door opened and the last ones to leave. My parents served. They tithed, and taught us to tithe even from the dimes my dad gave my sisters and me for picking up pine cones in the yard before he mowed. We were an ordinary family, with junk of our own, but when I look back at those early years I think it would be somebody's idea of an ideal childhood. So I don't especially blame my parents for how I picked up my weird ideas. Kids are weird. They make up crazy ideas. But along the way I picked up some seriously damaged ideas about what it means to be a Christian.
I noticed in the churches I went to that there were levels in the social stratosphere of the church:
- the leaders: untouchable, impeccable, unquestionable.
- the servers: the faithful ones doing the work week in and week out.
- the members: the cogs in the machine, who showed up, filled the pews and were necessary to the functioning of the church.
- the bench warmers: those second-rate, why-do-they-even-bother-calling-themselves-Christians? who drifted in and out of church, coming irregularly, and obviously didn't have their lives together like we do.
I believed there was an "us" and a "them" I believed I was part of the elite group of Christians. And here is the biggest lie of them all: I believed God loved me more because of what I did.
The short version of a really long story is that eventually: that was me. I was the barely making it through the week bench-warmer. My kids were the ones running into the mens bathroom, because they knew I wouldn't run in after them. I was the snot-nosed mother down at the front week after week, receiving prayer because I had come completely undone. I had nothing to offer anyone. I did't commit, I could barely make it in the doors. My faith had started to flat-line.
But in that season I discovered something, really quiet and deep and beautiful. God still loved me.
I wish I was a painter so I could paint those words huge and in beautiful colors - God still loved me. Even when I was an indisputable mess. Even though my Monday through Saturday wasn't looking too great. Even though I had nothing but brokenness to offer. He still loved me. He still hung onto me. He refused to let me go.
It has felt excruciating. Not in the dramatic-life-circumstances kind of way, but in the normal, everyday, bone-crushing, soul-sucking monotony. The other day my sister called it the static-hold kind of hard. Because in a static hold even a small weight becomes unbearable after awhile. That has been me this year. In a static hold that has looked like a husband working long hours and three almost-teenage girls (which isn't quite as bad as you might think but still definitely had it's moments), two busy boys and mess, mostly in my heart, but it's still under the kitchen table too. It is in this messy, exhausted place that I need to remember who God has been to me and what He has taught me. I need to hold onto the truth that He still loves me (even on my bad days) with a love that will not let me go. Continue to Day 3