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Thursday, April 2, 2015

the writing on the wall


I couldn’t get them out of my mind.  Over and over, minute by minute, day after day.  These thoughts, this movie reel of all the things.  The things I wasn’t good at, the things I had done wrong, my weaknesses, my sin…the ways I had failed and thought I had failed.  

I was putting on my mascara for goodness sakes—what was wrong with me?  “I’m not…I should have…I can’t believe I…I’m so…too much…not enough…”  They were all I could think about.  They were heavy.  They were persistent.

 I sensed a nudge to write them down.  So I wrote--things that are embarrassing to admit now, but these were my chains.  Pages. I was plagued with these thoughts.  As I skimmed the paper I had just filled I saw it—I was being accused. 

Then a moment I will never forget.  Words I had read days before were brought into my mind just as timely as a drop of rain on a drought-ridden land.

But now He has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation

…Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.  For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh,

Imagine my delight reading these words—without blemish…free from accusation…no condemnation…set me free…what the law was powerless to do, God did…in order that the righteous requirements might be fully met in us.  Really?  No accusation?  No condemnation?  None?  Not even one?  Not even one.  I was not condemned, but set free.   Set free?  Completely free?  Yes, completely.  

I had been living under the accusations, believing that they were an accurate commentary on my life.  But they weren’t the truth about me at all.  The truth would have set me free, not locked me up. 

The accuser was my enemy and fed me this mixtape of self-focus and despair, making me paralyzed and hopeless.  He does that doesn’t he? He is never short supply of past sins, regrets, and misinterpretations of others’ thoughts and actions toward us. He glories in our inward focus and abhors when our eyes are lifted. He causes us to question God and His heart for us, painting all of life a dark shade of grey, trying to convince us that that’s life’s actual color.    

But these words, these life-giving words that began seeping in, were acquitting me.  No, not just acquitting me, they were exposing the mess that was my mind and shining the light on all that my Jesus did.  He took it all.  Were some of these true?  Sure, some were, but in Christ I was no longer identified, labeled, or even guilty for them.  In Christ, I possessed the perfect righteousness that was His.  It was unfair, really—this trade He made.  He took all of my weaknesses and sins—accurate or perceived, large or small, and traded all of Himself for it.  He traded the accuser's words that were bringing death for His freedom-words of life. He was condemned so I could be set free.  That’s hard to get, but in this moment, I got it.  He wasn’t just loosening the chains, giving me room to move around in them, He was cutting them into pieces giving complete freedom.

I’m not sure why living in this freedom feels like such a fight.  My mind drifts to accusations like these often, but this cycle of redemption brings sweet intimacy:  I see the mess, even live in it for a time—He reminds me of the cross, that He’s the chain breaker—the words that give life remind me that in Him I’m not accused—He draws me close—I live in freedom and awe.  I’m free.  And I am undone. Because He is undoing me.  This is truth, this is the truth we live in and invite others to enjoy.  He alone gives freedom and life. 

After posting my sharpie walls on instagram a few days ago, I decided to share with you the story of these walls.

I guess I didn't actually give you a 'how to' because the how to is: 
Paint your walls,
write whatever you want on them with a large sharpie.  The end. 

But as my 8 year old sat on the top of the potty (this is in an itty bitty potty room),  with Bible in hand, reading Romans 8 to me as I teetered on a stool and wrote, I asked God to write these words on my heart and the heart of everyone who entered this little room.  And I think He is.

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