Joel 3:10 NIV
Let the weakling say, “I am strong!”
I know that I can only boast in what Christ has done, the very thing that I could never do for myself.
It is difficult to capsule today but I will try. It is as if my life only began 18 months ago. Everything is being seen from the devastation and the beauty that has followed. I experienced the best worst day of my life on July 26, 2009 when confronted with my horrific sin. Over the course of weeks, I lost most things dear to me. In November, I turned myself in on charges stemming from my sin. November 8th, my face led off the news locally and continued for several days. My life was in shambles. I was walking in the ashes. I had no concept of up or healthy. A very painful and beautiful process began to take place. I call it the severe mercy and grace of God. He began to tear away years of isolation, deceit, sense of entitlement, abuse, and neglect that had led to pain in my life and the lives of those I love.
I remember that one year ago today, a family who pours into the lives of my sister and her family invited me over for Christmas lunch. I honestly didn’t want to go. I did not know them and was still very gun shy about showing my face in public from the shame and embarrassment of the hurt I had caused. I knocked on the door and was greeted with a hug as if I was the expected guest. Grace was poured over me that day by several people. I even received a gift to my surprise.
I got a phone call from that same lady with the same invitation for this year. I was very excited. I love being around my sister and her family. I don’t have to put on any show. I got the same hug at the front door. I even brought stuffing. I became overwhelmed to the point of tears when I stood outside watching the snow fall, “Thank you Lord for the pain and for your grace. I know that it is your hand that has led me over the last 17 months.” A simple prayer trying to muster the words to express gratitude for a gift that far outweighs them all. I had a moment to catch both the husband and wife away from the rest of the crowd and I wasn’t shy about my thankfulness. “This time a year ago, I was very fragile and the two of you showed me tremendous grace. Thank you,” as tears streamed down my face. The husband looks at me and says, “that is what I am supposed to do.”
We gathered later in the kitchen to say grace. As we took hold of each others hand, he looks at me and says “David, our home would be honored if you would ask the blessing.” I almost cried again (big surprise.) Here is the prayer as best I can remember:
“Oh Lord, for the sake of your beautiful name and for your glory we give thanks. Thank you for friends and family. Thank you for the severe grace in that great exchange where you took on our brokenness giving up your righteousness in order to make us right with God. We ask that you bless this food for your glory. Amen.”
Today, I was able to do several of my favorite things: (stealing the list thing from Jen West, she rocks at list!)
1. sleep in
2. hear one of my favorite pastors (Matt Chandler)
3. Drink hot coffee mid morning with hazelnut creamer
4. talk to several friends and thank them for the grace that God allows them to show me
5. Watch three movies
7. Spend time with family
8. Express my gratitude
9. be quiet
10. fall deep into the assurance that I am loved and pursued passionately by God through grace