I showed up at the church without my computer, without my notes, without my Bible. That's bad news when you are the teacher.
For a moment, I calculated the minutes it would take me to get home and back, how long I would need to set up the tablecloths and candles. Could I leave a note and somebody could set up for me? I contemplated the headspace I would be in having frantically sped home, constantly on the lookout for the police sirens in my rearview mirror. No, I decide. I cannot have a peaceful spirit, an inviting spirit, trying to sprint back home.
I think back to those early morning hours. I had risen early to finish preparing for my class. The spring break with the kids had taken up so much of my time and clearly I was underprepared. All the while, as I added, rearranged, prayed, read, I felt like God was whispering, Stop working.
So tired, but I pressed on. And when I finally heeded the words of God, I still felt the need to write my blog post for Soli Deo Gloria. But, I had run out of words. My heart was a well run dry. Suddenly struck by the rays of sunshine against the darkening sky, I penned this:
Today is a day to be completely dependent on the grace of God. I'm off to teach about Jonah, about cultivating grace, this morning. What better way to teach than to be actively living it -- stretching fully to the face of God, abandoning self-reliance, relinquishing the image that I've tried to hard to uphold in the past that I have it all together.
I didn't know, but God did, just how those words would work their way from being words on the computer screen to a tangible act in this girl's life. On the way to church, He gave me a picture of a vase moving closer and closer to the end of the table. You are the vase. And then, I watch it shatter to the floor. Broken into a million pieces. I arrive at the church, I search the car, finding none of the tools on which I rely on to help me as I teach, and I shatter.
I am broken. The vase in millions of shards of glass. I have none of my earthly tools, and yet, the greatest tool has never left me. I teach my class, my best one yet, I'm told, about Jonah and how He repents for making idols while He is in the belly of that big fish. And I stand in front of my class and I spill out my own confessions of idolatry. Yes, I say the biggest idol in my life...the thing that stands between me and God...is myself.
Nowhere was that in my notes. Only God can bring such things to my attention with such grace. In the safety of my church, surrounded by women who not only love me, but who are willing to nod their heads in understanding, can I come face to face with myself. In a moment of rawness, there He was, a healing balm. In a moment of brokenness, there He was sweeping up the pieces, an unkind word never reaching my ears. In a moment of feeling out of control, un-put together, He wove His message together with an intricate pattern of unmerited grace.
I still stand shattered. Not shattered because of leaving behind a computer, but shattered because I've been chasing after things He thinks unimportant. I've gotten away from doing things His way. And so, shattered as I am, I can reflect. And heal. And put things back the way He had first intended them to be. All with unmerited grace.
I pray for you that you run into a need for grace today. I pray that you would stand there and let it wash over you, cleansing you from all the other voices that tell you that you don't need it or don't deserve it or that it doesn't exist. I pray that the lies that you can and should and need to do it all and be it all are cut off from the contours of your heart. I pray that you would stand awash in His love, in His mercy, in His grace this day. Yes, this day.