I’m trying to imagine what it would be like to be Luke Skywalker, and be told that this man who you must go up against, betrayed and killed your father. And then to learn that he actually is your father.
I can’t. I can’t imagine being told this. The rush of emotions and anger that would flood me seem insurmountable.
So, I’m attempting to step into Luke’s shoes. Could I forgive this man who left my sister and I orphans? Could I forgive this man who killed my mother because of his lack of self-control? The man who killed my mentor? Who because of his pride, ego, and lust for revenge & power killed multitude of others?
The world would say that Luke had every right to not forgive his father. It would be said that Luke deserved to hold a grudge against him, to even seek revenge against him. The world says we are entitled to being unforgiving when wrong has been done to us.
However, we don’t operate the way the world does. We live the way Jesus did. We live in the skin of grace and forgiveness.
So… we chose to forgive. We daily seek God to help us live this out.
If Jesus can bear the sin of the world (yours & mine included) and still offer forgiveness to us & those who whipped and drove nails into His hands & feet, I think we can do the same. After all, we have the power of the Holy Spirit which is greater than the Dark Side [cookies & all 😉 ].
Honestly, some days I don’t feel a maddening sense of love for my husband. Please don’t misunderstand me, I love him every day around the world and back and to the furthest reaches of the heavens and back elebinty billion times. But there always isn’t a rush of love that bowls me over like a Weeble in the hands of an excited toddler.
But some mornings when I wake up, the growth of my love for him seems tangible. When my heart feels as if the love inside will cause it to explode.
Moments in time experienced, that I tuck away. I secret them away in my heart.
Today is one of those days. Where work beckons, but my heart would rather be knitted next to his. When his picture stirs up sappy, deep feelings and I realize I love him more than mere words could express and that the love I felt yesterday was miniscule compared to what I feel for him today.
When I learned that this week’s Never Beyond topic was Mike Tyson my first question of myself was, “What am I ever going to write about Mike Tyson?” But I quickly realized how much he reminds me of Peter, even with the exception of severing an opponent’s ear.
Mike Tyson, a man who has done it all and had it all – and lost it all. From rape to drugs. Infidelity to throwing punches outside the ring.
A man with a quick temper. Stubborn. Slow to think of the consequences of his actions. A man who has lost his plethora of financial well-being and his daughter to accidental death.
When I see the parallelisms between Mike Tyson and Peter I realize that Iron Mike is never beyond the second chances of God’s grace and mercy. If Peter – a man who also had a quick temper, was stubborn, slow to think, and denied the fact that he even knew Jesus – was specifically given a second chance and that second chance reaffirmed, how much more is a man like Mike Tyson worthy of a second chance not only by God, but by mankind?
And this gives me hope.
I have the
privilege honor of being of at Moe’s place of residence – Beta Christian – today.
Moe has a weekly series called Usual Suspects in which he takes a closer look at Biblical figures, through an often quirky lens. Through the series, I believe he strips away the facade we often ascribe to Biblical persons and makes them more relate-able to us living in the 21st century (22nd if God’s continued to tarry & you stumble upon this in the year 3011).
You can read my post on the demonic of Gerasenes here: “Naked: Memoir of a Formally Demon Possessed Man“
I remember ten years ago in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on NYC, DC, & the plane that went down in Pennsylvania, struggling with the fact that Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden not only still had chances to accept Christ but that God’s saving grace was extended to them. These men, who were master minds behind the murder of 1000’s of men and women were extended the same grace without deviation that I was and am.
Even – or perhaps especially as Christians we are much more likely accept seeing God’s saving grace given to those who are only moderately bad. The person who drank to much or stole, but not to the murderer of 1000’s or baby killers. After all, God wouldn’t save someone that killed their child – would He?
In the days that followed the verdict of Casey Anthony’s trial, I struggled once again. I’ve been meditating on Grace this year. Joining with over a hundred other bloggers & tweeters who are focusing on One Word during the year. My word is Grace. I’ve been forced to look at others through this lens. Through the lens that God sees them.
Whether or not Casey did kill her child is now between her and God. A jury found her not guilty – and whether you believe they simply passed their judgement in a flippant manner so they could go on their scheduled vacations or if they passed fair judgement for what they truly believed, God is still sovereign.
And in His sovereignty, He can and will extend grace to her. In His eyes you and I are just as guilty as she is.
So, I say it again…it’s a difficult place to be when you realize that God’s grace is extended to everybody. Not only to the perfect or the moderately bad, but to those who may or may not have committed murder. To the rapist and the sexual abuser. To those we write off and pass our own human judgement against because we in our fractured context of grace deem them unworthy of it.
The fact remains, Casey, just like you and just like me and just like Osama Bin Laden, was created in God’s image. He loves her no differently than he loves you, and until she breathes her last she is worthy of God’s grace and salvation.
His grace dawns with muted pinks and yellows and vibrant reds. It pours over me like waves. It reaches to the very depths of me and renews. With each inhale of breath, His graces are new.
Counting His graces and gifts in my life.
0011 Forgiveness and understanding when I’ve yelled & cursed, as my hormones make me feel as though I’ve lost my mind.
0012 Laughter late into night.
0013 Sharing a pretzel & conversation with my best friend.
0014 His hand on me when he knows I need it.
0015 Pancakes at midnight.
0016 The tears that fell when He overwhelmed me with His never ending faithfulness.
0017 Emails that bring tears of joy and gratitude.
0018 Extra days off with my beloved.
0019 The hope that when goodbyes are said, hello will follow soon.
0020 An email from a friend that shows God’s amazing grace in the friendship He created.
Long journeys tend to lead to exhaustion. It’s a natural effect. We grow weary and start to take for granted the journey itself and the the vehicle that is carrying us. Whether that be a physical journey in a car or a spiritual one in which God takes us.
Shawn and I have a been on a long journey for the last several years. One in which God has taken what we were and not only redefined but recreated. Needless to say it’s been long and honestly very exhausting at times.
When God takes your heart and completely changes it into something different – something more like Him, weariness sets in. You begin to wonder when the stretching, tearing, purging will end. You forget that it is his faithfulness that is leading you.
You forget that His faithfulness is carrying and holding you through those incredibly hard times.
I was wrecked by the reminder of this faithfulness yesterday. A reminder that was like a wrecking ball to my weariness, my forgetfulness, and my lack of belief that He is speaking into us.
It was this day of all days that God intentionally took my tear streaked face in His hands and reassured me with great assurance that throughout these last several years He’s never allowed
me us to walk alone. He’s never once left us to fend for ourselves.
In our darkest moments, and in our most tear stained He was faithfully was there.
It amazes me.
This breath that fills and empties hand crafted lungs. Grace that extends this journey to another day rather than being caught up to heaven. And the mirror of this, in that this same grace that will capture me up rather than continuing to live in this decaying shell.
These prayers that raise as a beautiful fragrance. Grace to seek and ask and be heard.
It amazes me.
These people. The ones who gather round. Those I’ve met and some I probably never will. The grace of community to lift up, hold up, and walk along side. That ask the hard questions and don’t let you off with flippant answers.
It amazes me.
Discipline. His merciful grace that doesn’t allow me to stay in sin. His desire to see me grow to be more like Him.
And this grace…
this grace that gives me longing to know it. wear it. breathe it. ….
One of my big struggles is recognizing my worth. My worth in my husband’s eyes and in God’s. This stems from a difficult childhood. Those skeletons that rattle their words of “if you weren’t worth it in their eyes what makes you think you’re worth it now?”
It is a very hard thing to get over.
My favorite passage in the Bible is Psalm 139 for this reason. It is truth I must hold onto. But it’s easy to believe what the enemy wants me to hear.
Yesterday I was on my way home from work. Traffic was heavy due to two car accidents on the opposite side of the freeway. As I practiced patience and my best effort at keeping the 3 second rule between me and the car in front of me, God’s voice thundered through the car. A song I’ve listened to countless times hit me, and within seconds my eyes filled with tears and I spent the rest of my drive meditating on these words:
As I thought on this phrase all I could think was, if God knows each star by its name and placed it in its precise location by that name….how much MORE does He do that for me?
He created me. He knit me inside my mother’s womb – with a propensity for running into doors, introverted, ten fingers & ten toes, and occasionally naturally curly/wavy hair.
He calls me by name. A name known before He whispered the stars to their places.
“i think it’s too easy to rush through life packing and moving and working and sleeping and forget about the importance of breathing in His grace. it’s all around us, you know.” – Elora
I’m not sure why it took me so long to think of this. I’ve been trying to inundate myself in grace and its concepts. Pulling it over my face like a veil and wrapping it around my body and heart like a a shawl. Living and breathing it.
If I want to steep myself in grace, it makes sense that I keep record of them. My only regret is I didn’t start the beginning of the year.
0001 His head on my arm in the mornings before he has to leave for work.
0002 The continuous desire and need to read through the Bible.
0003 Chatting with friends online who “get” us.
0004 His thinking I’m beautiful when I’m not feeling it.
0005 Feeling rain on my hand as I drive with my arm out the window.
0006 Anticipation of what God is doing.
0007 Husband’s calm to my storms. His balance to my imbalance.
0008 Reveling in the power of thunder and finding hope in it.
0009 Getting lost in a story, whether a book or movie.
0010 God whisper to you elements of grace in the most unexpected places.
Prudence is a 30-something writer who lives in Arizona with her husband Shawn and their chihuahuas Lengua and Zeus. She writes her life, her experiences and her crawl back to hope. Eventually, she hopes to visit India – a place that’s captured her heart without ever stepping foot on the soil.