"The thistle is a prickly flower, aye, but how it is sweetly worn."

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Love Without Borders- Redemption

This Tuesday I wrapped up 8 weeks of pretty grueling Bible study going through the book of Exodus with the focus of Redemption of the Israelites and how it relates to our current struggles.  I completely impulsively signed up for this one Sunday at the church we had really just started visiting.  Completely weird, like all things in my life, but ultimately shows that God is directing me even when I have no idea what is happening.

I signed up because I knew I was getting married in July (2 mos!) and I thought it would be a good idea to fully clean up the 'small, remaining issues' I had from abortion/abusive marriage/divorce.  HA.  I thought I should just deal with my remaining anxiety and franticness that came because I lived in fear for several years.

That's not why I ended up going.  I'm still figuring out why I ended up going, and that is a process I am sure will continue many more days/weeks/months.  But what I do know is this:  I went because I believed a false gospel.  I believed (probably still do believe most days) that while grace saved me, I was expected to be perfect.  I have completely twisted the verse where Christ says 'be perfect as I am perfect' to mean try try try and slave away.  I've hated myself for every mistake, and have completely missed the truth that I can't be the perfect one.  Instead of falling to my knees in worship thanking Christ for His righteousness, I have daily dethroned him trying to beat myself into impossible perfection.  With every failure big or small, I saw disappointment and expected consequences.  I think I've sort of assumed my marriage/divorce happened because God punished me for having an abortion.

But that's not it at all.  He was there the whole time calling, begging me to come back come back come back.  Softly at first.  And then ever so loudly at the end because that was the only way to get my attention.  The whole time though, he adored me.  He saw me covered and perfect.  I may see tainted and failure, but He doesn't.

He sees me as His child.

That's the thought that started all the change of perspective for me.  I have struggled with how easily I lose my patience with Jude.  He is my atonement child- the child God used to save me from total hate and total inability to comprehend God's love following an abortion.  He is the child God used to save me from an abusive marriage.  He is the child God used to save me from dangerous ends when I thought panic attacks were going to drive me over the edge and life was terrifying.  I have hated myself for every time I've wanted to be alone and Jude was there.  I have hated myself for every time I've hurt his feelings when I overreact to something.  The mistakes I make with Jude have made me despise myself as much as having an abortion ever did.  And I know what a precious atoning gift he is- and I hate that I am as ungrateful as the Israelites in those moments.

But He sees me as His child.  He sees me exhausted day in and day out.  He sees me frantically trying to hold 84,000 spinning plates in the air.  I have put 100% of the responsibility of Jude's everything on myself his entire life.  And God sees that.  He sees me as a child whos exhausted and crying because they are over tired.  And just like I don't get angry at Jude for acting like a tired 4 year old, He doesn't get angry at me for acting like a tired momma.  He just wants me to let him take that burden.  Just like I want Jude to calm himself and let me tuck him in bed.

I have had grace for countless children being angry in my classroom because I knew they had rough home lives and couldn't take much more.  I have had grace for jumpy, moving little bodies because I knew they just didn't have it in them to sit any longer.  But it just never occurred to me that God has that kind of grace for me.  He is so intimately aware of my weaknesses and breaking points.  And He doesn't get mad at me for having them- He just wants me to let Him take over from there.

So I'm learning to turn it over.  I wish that made me the mom I want to be.  But it doesn't.  Last night I got home late.  And Jude was exhausted and crying.  And my brain was so fried I sat through a drive through and completely forgot to roll down the window to order.  So I just sat in the line for no reason basically.  So when I made it back around and he punched the straw through the styrofoam cup, I can't say I handled it right at all.  But Grace was there.  And He knew how tired I was and how hard that can be for me.  And while I wish I had handled it different, for the first time I am able to rest in the fact that His mercies are new every second.  And I can believe He didn't love me any less because of that.  And I believe I'm always forgiven.  And for me, that's pretty huge.

He loves me without borders of perfection.


Tommi Sitton said...

Beautiful post so full of rich, life-giving truths. Thank you for sharing. I can see why Jimmy loves you so much. He is a blessed man.

ThistleAshD said...

oh your comments mean so much to me- so glad to know you are glad Jimmy chose me :)

Claudy Ashlee Francois said...

What a beautiful post! I love how God redeems us...how he takes our brokenness and turns it into something beautiful!!

Kelli Rinehart said...

What a powerful post Ashley !!! So thankful how God is using this church and class in your life. God's grace is truly amazing ! So thankful for God's grace in allowing me to be your mom. I love you !!!

Anonymous said...

I couldn't resist commenting. Very well written!

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