Past Fault

Last week I listened to June Hunt’s testimony on my cherished Focus on the Family (free) app.  I really appreciated her delivery as well as her content.  God has healed her from many hurts and made her into a beautiful believer.  She had been deeply hurt by her stepfather and, until God changed her heart, wanted to hurt him in return.  Mercifully, God changed her.  He changed her desires, her priorities, and her behaviors.  She said that in her relationship with her stepfather, God helped her “see past his fault to his need.”

Since hearing that phrase, it’s been continuously rolling around in my head.  Maybe it’s because my vision stops at fault with some people in my life.  There are those, thankfully few, with whom every interaction hurts, disrupts, and derails my thinking to a destructive kind of “fault cataloging”.  Maybe its because all of us are so needy.  Maybe it’s because hurtful people may have the deepest needs of all.  I don’t know but for me, there is something about being continuously hurt by the same person that makes it hard to see past their faults.  Even as I write that, it disgusts me that it’s true but it is.  I guess that’s why June Hunt’s quote hit me so hard.  Even in repeatedly hurtful situations, could God allow me to see past that person’s fault to their need?

This past Sunday at church was Communion Sunday, always a treasured day to me.  Our morning had been particularly hard at our house and I was extra aware of both my deep sin and my deep need for forgiveness. Communion is such an odd thing because 2 opposites, my utter sin and Christ’s absolute righteousness, meet in the perfect union.  I bring zero to the table; Christ brings all.  The beautiful, mysterious exchange occurs and Christ gives me His righteousness.  He sees past my fault to my need.

When Christ looked at the depth of my sin and chose to take it upon Himself in a punishing death, He saw past my fault and addressed my need.  When He daily shows His grace and mercy to me, He sees past my fault and meets my need.  When He hears and answers my multitude of prayers, He sees past my fault to my need.  As I think of Him, I find that all of His interactions with me are this way and I’m so grateful.

In praying that God would make me resemble Him in this way, He seems to be giving me opportunities to learn it.  Again this week, I’ve had new hurts from familiar sources.  I’ve found that seeing past a person’s fault to a person’s need is not a one time change of mind but a thousand small decisions to see that person differently.  It reminds me of 2 things, first, my constant dependence upon God and second, His constant pardoning of me.  In response, I worship with the lyrics of one of my favorite songs, “How deep the Father’s love for us, how vast beyond all measure that He would give His only Son to make a wretch His treasure.”

Lord, thank you for consistently seeing past my fault to my need and being the End of all my needs.  Help me to compassionately see others in this same way, praying for them and loving them like you love me.  Thank you for making this wretch your treasure.  I love you.  Amen

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Coincidences

Yesterday at church, our pastor taught on the book of Esther and all the “coincidences” in the book.  There is such an intricate series of events that happen for Esther to become Queen and thus save the Jewish people from destruction.  All of it points to the hand of God, even though He is never even named in the book.  It got me thinking about all the “coincidences” in my life – events that seem random at the time but were actually God moving in me and around me.

I met my husband, Andrew, when I was 14.  We were both singers and in a school of 3000 kids, we got introduced by our choir teacher.  We were pretty immediately smitten and spent most of our high school days very happily together.  He was a year older than me in school and as he went off to college, I decided (in my immaturity and stupidity) that we needed a break, so that’s what we did.  He told me that he still loved me and that we would never be just friends.  If we were going to talk, we would be together..so we did not even talk for the following year and a half.  During that time, I went off to school at Auburn.  I dated another guy and that relationship turned out to be toxic.  When we broke up, I was fairly certain that I never wanted to date again.  That same year, I was asked to be the girl worship leader at a 3 week Campus Crusade Summer Project.  The guy worship leader would be from Ole Miss and the rest of the team would be from other schools around the SEC.  I agreed and went to the Project a week early for rehearsals.  Unbeknownst to me, the guy worship leader was Andrew!  What a coincidence!    For 4 weeks of that summer, we worked closely on worship, and discovered that our hearts were still knit together.  We didn’t get back together as a couple for several more months but there was no denying God’s hand in reuniting us that summer.  We’ve never been apart since.

What if we didn’t both sing in High School?  And if I hadn’t known him before my toxic relationship, I’m pretty sure I’d still be single from swearing off dating forever!  What if one of us didn’t attend Campus Crusade at our separate schools?  What if 2 other people were asked to lead worship that summer?  The “what-if’s”could go on and on, especially since this is such a small part of our story.  I just love thinking about it because it shows God’s faithfulness and His intimacy in the details of our lives.

I treasure the book of Deuteronomy in the Old Testament.  I’ve learned a vast amount from it.  One of its repeated themes is to “remember well”.  It’s all over the book.  God is constantly reminding His people to remember all that He has done in their lives.  They were to remember how God brought them out of slavery, remember how they crossed through a sea on dry land because He parted the water, remember how He fed them and led them in the desert, and remember how neither their shoes nor their clothes wore out for 40 years.  I love that message to “remember”.  It seems like the more prominent message of the world is to forget…forget the past and live for today.  Well, I’ve found that if I forget the past, I can’t live for today.  Remembering God’s work in my past increases my faith today.  I’m so encouraged and strengthened by His faithful, consistent work in my life.  When I question His presence in my day, it’s the remembering that strengthens my faith.  The “coincidences” are worth remembering, writing down, repeating, and reflecting upon.  They point me to the hand of my mighty God who works ALL THINGS to the GOOD of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).  What is the good He is working all things towards?…the good mercy of being conformed to the likeness of His Son, Jesus (Romans 8:29).

Thank you Lord for working all things, both hard and easy, to make me more like Jesus.  I love you.  Amen

 

Sticky Note Covered Glasses

We love sticky notes around here.  In fact, I have a ridiculous amount of them in my “inventory” (in case of emergency, I guess?).  One morning last week, D took a fresh pad of sticky notes, the big kind with nice lines, and began to work diligently at our kitchen table.  His system was… color/scribble on a page, tear it off, put it of our refrigerator door – until the entire pad was gone. From as high as he could reach on down, it was only scribbled sticky notes.  When I stopped to really to take it all in, I asked him if he could explain it to me.  He said, “These are love notes to daddy.  Remind me to tell him about them when he gets home.”  So later that night, when my hubby got home, D did not need reminding.  He immediately took his daddy by the hand and led him to our fridge.  D pointed to each one and “read” them to him.  “Daddy, this one says you’re tall.  This one says you’re nice.  This one says it was fun to play baseball with you yesterday.”  I was reminded of Jesus’s young mom, Mary in Luke 2:19 when she “treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.”  This was a moment made for treasuring and pondering in my heart.

And since then, I’ve done so much pondering about this whole scene.  The sticky notes are still on my fridge and may be forever.   Staring at them so often during the day, I felt like there was some spiritual principle for me to learn but I wasn’t getting it.  At the same time, I’d been internally struggling with a relationship in my life in which I felt so wrongly judged, misunderstood, and hurt.  The feelings were deep and disturbing and made me question some things about who I am.  So between this and the sticky notes, my brain space was quite occupied (please don’t be startled by my little amount of brain space).  Slowly, as I opened and walked by that fridge countless times each day, those love notes somehow started to redefine me.  They were becoming such a part of me by the innocent and precious love they communicated, that I started to smile and feel love each time I saw them.  So I wondered, what if I was defined by all the sticky notes God wrote about me?  What if I saw the world through sticky note covered glasses?  Sticky notes that say truths from God’s Word such as, “You are loved” (John 3:16), “You are forgiven” (Psalm 103), “You are Mine” (Isaiah 43), “You are safe” (Isaiah 43), “You are fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139) and on and on.  Wouldn’t it give the misjudgments of others so much less power?  Wouldn’t I be ok no matter what my circumstances are?

Lord, thank you for being so clear about the way you feel about Your children.  Thank you for loving us at a depth that I cannot humanly fathom.  Thank you for using your love to heal my hurts and motivate me to love.  Train my eyes to see myself and your world only through your Truth.  Thank you good Father.  Amen