a life in review
There's a whole lot reflecting going on in the blogosphere this week. The majority of people are assessing and good-byeing 2005. I briefly entertained the idea of jumping on that bandwagon and giving you my year in review. But then I thought, Why stop there?
So here, in a nutshell, is a life in review.
I knew He was there before I knew what to call Him. In deep pockets of memory, I hold visions that are hard to put to words; fleeting moments when I first heard those whispers, first understood that Something I couldn't see or place knew me, and was calling my name.
Normal didn't live in my home, or even stop to visit. I existed--for the most part--in a whirlwind of drunken outbursts and stormy encounters. I switched homes and states and fathers, observed the late sixties and early seventies, said good bye to Father Two and a home in the South, scowled when my mother traded in Father Three for a motorcycle, love beads and go-go boots, and kept reaching for the owner of that nameless voice. A street girl my mother befriended moved into my bedroom and brought me my first glimpse of God. Through her witness, I met Him on Thanksgiving night, the year I turned twelve, just as the clock reached midnight.
We attended a church that wasn't much interested in things of God. I joined a carnal youth group, where flesh was enthroned and Jesus was allowed nothing more than a brief reference or two once a year at the annual youth retreat. My flickering faith barely survived those malnourished years.
I entered high school, and though everything on the outside looked pristine--I played tennis, joined the debate team, honor society, and girls club--to a knowing eye, I was just another sheep so starved you could count my ribs. No God-life flowed through me. His hand was ever-extended to take mine, but I was too busy looking for love with skin on it to bother accepting that divine invitation.
At graduation, I stood at a podium and addressed my class of 400+, then threw my hat to the sky with the rest of my peers and asked God to give me my privacy while I turned and ran head-on into rebellion. He said no. While I was busy sinning, I'd catch glimpses of Him from a distance, watching me, waiting. The sight never failed to unsettle me.
It wasn't until I turned twenty--after enduring two years of stark ugliness--that I gave up and reached, finally, for that outstretched hand. And when I did, I discovered that everything I'd ever looked for in skin-covered form had been waiting for me in His touch. I began to walk. I began to understand God's heart in the pages of a book that had been there all along, waiting for my eyes. I began to fall in love with the Savior who had watched me so patiently and never stopped whispering, even when I'd been desperate to ignore the sound.
We didn't walk into the sunset. That part is yet to come. Instead, I made mistake after mistake. I willfully sinned. I can't even count the number of dreadful mistakes I've made since I placed my hand in His. And yet ... He has never once made me pay. Whenever I come to Him with my head down and my heart heavy, He lifts my chin with a tender touch and reminds me of the length of His love. He has never denied forgiveness. He has never once demanded a pound of flesh for my infractions. Though I could easily rival Paul as the "chief of sinners"--and I mean that down to my toes--I've never received any other response from God but kindness. Despite my lengthy list of faults, He has poured repeated blessings on me, covered my flaws and errors and blatant sins, opened the door of Grace wide and beckoned me--time after time and again--to come inside and warm myself. When I have least deserved it, He's held me close and calmed my heart and bandaged all my self-inflicted wounds. And all that without a single angry or disappointed word. It seems His rebuke, His disgust, His wrath was all spent on Jesus.
So there you have my life in review. I am a sinner saved by grace--loved, held, protected, encouraged, nurtured. I have failed God a hundred thousand times this year, and the year before, and the years before that. But He's never failed me once. Not once.
Here's to a new year. May God have His place of honor in our lives; may He be glorified in all we do.