Monday, May 20, 2013

A Wardrobe of Grace (&Giveaway) and the Soli Deo Gloria Party

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sharing our heartbreaks, our joys, and the wisdom from God that sustains us.
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I feel this cracking happening in me -- I realize how much "unhardening" has already taken place as I write the forgiveness chapter in our book.  I realize what amounts of pride consume my heart and how I thought in terms of hierarchy and levels and scales.

But I realize today that I still have quiet a ways to go in the way that I wife, mother, and live.  It is difficult for me to look at a mistake in a way other than some level of failure. I tend to beat myself up about it, shaming myself, lambasting my soul for not knowing better.

I read in  my morning devotional (Jesus Calling)--
"Don't be so hard on yourself."
And my first reaction is, "How can I not be? It could all fall apart."

And there is the lie of pride: "If I can do good, everything will be okay."  The motivation of my heart, I realize, sometimes, pulses with self.  "If I do the best I can, I'll be protecting myself from future pains, catastrophes, discomfort." 

Here's the thing: There are many times I am more comfortable clothed in pharisaical robes than I am with grace.  I like black and white and the color of grace is gray.  I like rules that I can follow with rewards and consequences that are appropriately scaled.  I dislike the unexpected because I am afraid.  "Let's all play it safe. Let's not get in trouble."  (I can see why I am hesitant to break down and have fun -- to what might that lead??)

Oh, but God.  He is cracking me and with each new fissure that emerges, I see and taste and smell freedom.

And I don't fully understand it, but I'm learning to embrace it, welcoming it in my arms with a somewhat awkward hug.  And I realize I can't hold both grace and worldly scales at the same time.  These dual world views conflict too much, weigh too much, and make me go cross-eyed. 

I am reading Beth Moore's Jesus the One and Only and I'm enraptured by the relationship between Jesus and John the Baptist.  Moore writes:
John proclaimed, "prepare the way of the Lord / make straight paths for him" (Luke 3:4).  The original Greek word for "paths" is the word tribos, which means a "beaten pathway." In a personal way God wants us to prepare a path.  Have we made a path for Him to come and do a powerful work in our lives?...I believe God's word to us in, Make a beaten pathway.  Come to Me.  Make it your practice to approach Me over and over and over again, so that when I am ready to pour out a fresh work, the way will be made clear.  (page 57-58)
I love how Moore highlights the humility of John the Baptist, how he wasn't about scales, rewards, or accolades.  He simply made a way for the One who is greater.  The One who made it so that I do not have to pay the ultimate price (death) for my mistakes, my sins.  The One who made it so there would be nothing I could do to justify myself.  The One who made grace happen for me.

What God has been speaking to me through His Word and through this book is this: Jesus is not about following the rules.  Jesus is about love.  And as I reread stories, I take in all the times He forgave.  All the times He healed.  All the times He loved.  I don't want my pride to be a roadblock that prevents God's fresh work in me.

I am making a beaten path, realizing that there are some high stone walls still that God needs to break down from time to time, but that's okay.  Because my failure to always do the right thing keeps me hungry for Him.  Moore writes, "Even if we could get our external lives perfect and under legalistic control, we'd probably rot on the inside with the heinous sin of pride."  No doubt, Beth.  I've been there.  And perhaps, this is why I'm determined to accept my failures, for they make a road with easy access to a wardrobe of grace.

T.R.U.S.T. Question: My biggest weakness is my pride.  But in 2 Corinthians 12:9, Paul writes: "“My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.”  What is an area of weakness for you through which God has revealed His strength?


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*I received two copies of Beth Moore's book, Jesus the One and Only, free of charge, but was not paid to write this review. These are my own opinions of the book.

22 comments :

  1. Oh, those Pharasaical robes -- they can be so comfy it seems, but they're really straitjackets in disguise.

    Love that wardrobe of grace!

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    1. So true, Laura. They are like straightjackets. Great analogy.

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  2. " I like rules that I can follow with rewards and consequences that are appropriately scaled." Yes ma'am! It's like you're living inside my head. And heart.

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    1. So glad I am NOT alone in this journey, Nancy!!

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  3. That passage in II Corinthians 12 about the thorn in the flesh has always been pretty special to me. If I had to choose between being born with 2 whole legs or knowing Jesus, I would choose to keep my limp and walk with Him. I have a daily physical reminder of my weakness that mirrors my heart -- on my own, I am a total mess. I am so glad He is my Help and the Rock on which I stand.

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  4. Your post is a sacred echo for me. Third post on a similar topic. I hear you Lord! Thanks for hosting the giveaway and for your enduring kindness and generosity in this group. Love the drawing, one of my favorite verses.

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  5. YES! I'm so hard on myself, so when I read that very line in Jesus Calling this morning, I felt relieved. Learning these truths is such a process for me. Thanks for your encouragement here.

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  6. I used to be really hard on myself. I am better now, but still need to be vigilant. I just love the daily devotions in Jesus Calling. They just always seem so appropriate for where I am. I love Beth Moore's writing too, and am doing one of her studies with my ladies group.

    I have had walls that needed breaking down: in this season, walls of fear and of wondering about next steps. A friend in another group reminded me of the book, The Prayer of Jabez, by Bruce Wilkinson. I have been praying that prayer: for God to bless me indeed, to enlarge my territory, for his hand to be with me, to keep me from evil and to not cause pain. I have been brought to my knees by this prayer & Wilkinson's writing, and have been amazed—as always—by God's grace, provision, and bringing me to where he wants me to be.

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  7. Great post...i get this...in the beginning i felt like a blind woman who could not see....i took challenging baby steps..steps that led me way out of my comfort zone...but with each step i could breath a little deeper...a little easier...leaving behind the world of black and white .....shedding my old robe....finding a new robe....full of color....wrapped in Grace...
    Thanks for your honest here....the book sounds great.

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  8. Just what I needed to read tonight. Thank you!!

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  9. Oh, my, I feel like I'm reading about myself here. My weakness is pride also, and I am desperate to be set free from those sly chains. Thanks for the honest hope here. This line will stick long-- "grace is grey".. so true, that's what makes it hard to receive and to give, isn't it? And love? I'm begging Christ for more of His love pulsing through me- I wish I loved like Him.

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  10. We're a lot alike. I know I have some faulty thought patterns that keep me bound. I know I tend to be way harder on myself than God is on me--than I am on anyone else. It's hard for me, though, to identify those patterns because they are so "normal" for me. That's why it's vital to renew our minds in the Word and Truth of God. It's the only path to freedom.

    Walking it with you, friend. :)

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  11. I love this! Love the beaten path. Love the not beating ourselves up for failures - love the love - just loving!!! I'm learning that - learning to live, too, with people who aren't there yet - who see sin as failure, who don't understand loving through - learning about that, too!

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  12. oh my dear Jen, we are so alike. we do this same thing: it could all fall apart. because I have to carry everything all on me, every little mistake is my fault.

    He is the One and Only, though, and I am learning to let Him reign and me sit at His feet like Mary and just...inhale.

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  13. I am harder on myself than on anyone else. How prideful. Leaning into His grace and beating that *straight* path.

    Oh, and this need to be please everyone, to be enough--He's teaching me that He is more than enough.

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  14. So. twins. separated. at. birth!! And walking parallel lessons, too. How I appreciate your words!! Hugs to you, Michelle

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  15. "Grace is in the gray"such truth. Like Sandra said, I'm harder on myself than anyone else could ever be. I need to start giving myself grace and stopping beating myself up when I'm not perfect or better than I think I should be. Beautiful, honest post Jen.

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  16. Dear Jen
    Yes, you are right. We were created to love God and to live in constant fellowship with Him. It always brings joy to my heart when I think about us becoming one with our Lord when we are made spiritually alive from Above.
    Blessings and thanks for always being our gracious hostess
    Mia

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  17. Dear Jen,
    Joining you on that awkward hug with grace...so very true...Thank you for showing us your beaten path to Jesus :)

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  18. My favorite part is that last line by Beth - even if we were perfect on the outside, we'd rot with pride from the inside. How true! That makes me feel better about just letting go. This also reminds me of a cute conversation I had in the car with my six year old after church on Sunday. He asked about sin, and we discussed how Jesus has been the only perfect person on Earth. He nodded and said seriously, "Nobody is perfect . . . not even Granddaddy." It was like a solemn realization. And even though it made me chuckle, it's been good for me to think about this week: Nobody is perfect, and we're not supposed to be. Only Jesus.

    PS I'm not linking up this week but will be back next week :)

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  19. I'd say my biggest problem is rebellion but everything else comes under rebellion, eh? I'd love to break down and have fun but then the work wouldn't get done. Dang. I miss Dave.

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  20. My answer to this week's TRUST ?:
    *** One area of weakness for me is my feelings of being inadequate, not good enough. Just tonight, God had me read Psalm 3, reminding me that He is my Strength, the Lifter of my head. I even prayed it on my blog tonight as "Your Word from My Heart". The HUGE reminder of Who He is and who I am not took me back a step, keeping in perspective our relationship. He is my All and I am His. I don't need to prove anything because I am really nothing without Him. So proving anything is nothing to Him. He wants me and I am good enough. He made me His way and He said, "She is good." I will reread this Psalm and many others to help me through this weakness. Writing this tonight is helping me see my errors and weaknesses and His Strength.
    May we grow in Him with each step.

    Loving each of you, my sisters!!

    and ... Caring through Christ, ~ linda

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