Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Letters to my daughters: on grace

Dear Precious Daughters,
I can't start writing to you until I explain where we have been. 

I have always loved God, as long as I can remember. I have always been hungry for truth. Even as a child, when I would hear truth, it felt like taking a long drink of water when I'm thirsty. I am also a very driven person. I love to accomplish things, to think about and solve problems, at my worst I am compelled to impress people. So I set about to impress God. 

Heh. That doesn't go so well. As soon as I'd start to feel like I had it all together, something out of my control would happen and I was suddenly a mess. I would go from pride to despair and back to pride every few days. In the midst of that pattern, Nick and I, hungry to know more of God, started listening to Andrew Wommack's teachings online. There were several reasons we were drawn to him. His style is mellow and calm, not showy. He says things in plain language, black and white. He has an obvious love for God. And he gives away all his talks for free. We had absolutely no money to spend, but since we could listen for free, we did. Daughters, no person has every answer about God. Andrew is just a man. But, he understands that God loves us and that when Jesus died on the cross, God's anger toward us was over. God sees us as righteous, just like Jesus. That truth, which seemed way too good to be true, changed our lives when Hannah and Audrey were babies. 

Suddenly, I didn't have to perform for God anymore. The guilt and shame that I had carried my whole life was gone for the first time, most of the time. But we were still painfully insecure. I still felt like I was messing up parenting, like I was a failure as a homemaker. 

It's been recent that I think I've finally come across an understanding of God that brings me peace and courage and confidence. I am already forgiven and the mistakes I make are covered by the blood of Jesus. But Jesus gave everything He had, He laid down His life for me. His forgiveness is the beginning, not the end of the story. I wasn't forgiven so I can sit on my couch playing on my iPhone for the rest of my life. I was invited into a grand adventure that is only made possible BECAUSE I'm forgiven. My obedience to God's word and the leading He gives me by His Holy Spirit, that obedience brings about His promises and His blessings in my life. I don't have to earn His favor, but I do have to follow His leading in order to have His best in my life. 

When I started living my life that way, doing the right thing even when I didn't feel like it, disciplining myself to clean the house, follow a regular routine, get up early to read my Bible, exercise, etc, all of a sudden my sense that I was a failure LEFT! But it wasn't me impressing God anymore, it was me living by His Spirit. And so far, living this way is sustainable. I don't crash and burn every few days as long as I stay full of who He is and what He's doing. It gives me hope for every area of life. Our home is probably happier than it's ever been. It took me eight years to go through that process, and I fully intend to continue growing and becoming more the woman God wants me to be. I don't want to miss out on anything He has for me. I want all of Him. 

Daughters, God is the perfect Father, and He thinks you are lovely in every way. He adores you. You can trust Him. His forgiveness makes it possible for you to live an incredible life, full of fulfilled dreams and deep joy. Things will be hard, because that creates character in us, so we become a deep well instead of staying shallow. But you can do it. Lean on Him with everything you have. Choose to have an obedient heart. Do what he tells you to do, no matter the cost. You'll never regret it because what He gives in return for your sacrifice makes your sacrifice seem insignificant in comparison.

I love you!

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