You have my word

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Tag: you have my word

I will not be beautiful for someone else

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I am tired. I am broken violets in a vase that hasn’t had water for days. I am cut at the base of a very long stem – growing bent under the weight of others’ sins carried on the wind. How do you grow up when you cannot see the sun? Cannot feel the heat on your leaves? No warmth in the day? No moon at night?

I die. My roots growing further into the earth trying to bury my alive. When I am hiding perhaps I’ll survive. Only dirt is seen by the naked eye, but I…

I grow silently beneath the soil. I wrap all my limbs around rocks that told me I couldn’t and hold them so tightly. They anchor me. I tell them my secrets hoping my stories will bounce back with an echo of truth I don’t already know. I am only a seed below.

Scattered. Like dust. Shattered. Like someone just put me here and expected me to be something beautiful. Something for show. A feature in a building they call home.

It’s a house made of aging bones and hollow noises and records that play on too-loud speakers because why fix a thing that isn’t completely broken? Yet. It’s only a little out of shape. The music is still in time. In time.

In time. My heart no longer beats in time to the right rhythm. Broken violets in a thirsty vase asking for questions to be asked. Why keep them if they’re dead? What if they rot?

I’m not saying they’re entirely ineffectual – I’m a conversation starter at least. What will they speak about with a flowerless mantlepiece? Will they even miss me?

Not planted or picked for display. Just somewhere. A seed. Growing my own way and looking for the light.

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Undeserved suffering | 500 Words on Grace

Compassion: a deep awareness of, and a feeling of sympathy towards, someone else’s suffering with a deep urge and urgency to alleviate the suffering. The prefix “com-” means “together with, in unity, equality”; “passion” originally comes from the Latin word “passiō” which means “suffering.”

Yes, I realise I’m meant to be writing about grace; I am, I’m just painting the picture before I colour in the lines. Here goes: sometimes truth skips the head altogether and rips straight into the heart. A few weeks ago I found myself floored by four words in a message from a friend: “Cause God has compassion.” Almighty God feels our suffering completely and wants to, with everything He is, alleviate our pain. He did.

Take our sin for example: we screwed up (actually, we do all the time) and God sent Jesus – Emmanuel, God with us. Jesus being completely man, completely equal with us, He experienced our suffering in all its fullness – temptation, sorrow, rejection, mockery, loneliness. His alleviation, then, of our suffering was dying on the cross. He took our pain as undeserved suffering upon himself. Compassion.

It goes further than that. God intended that all our suffering be alleviated through Him in some way (and subsequently through Jesus and the Holy Spirit too). If I need healing, He is Healer – that’s alleviation. If I need provision, He is Jehovah Jireh – provider – and gives me what I need. If I am alone, I can know He is with me. If I need _____ (insert suffering), He is _____. Compassion. He knows our pain intimately and gives us a way out.

It perplexed me then when I thought of Psalm 145:8 and Joel 2:13 and Exodus 34:6 when it speaks of God as being “gracious and compassionate”. The grace comes before the compassion. Why? Grace: to be given what is undeserved. God gives us what we do not deserve: salvation, forgiveness, continued provision, comfort…. We so easily fall short of His goodness; there is no way we could ever earn anything He gives us and yet He gives it anyway. Gracious.

Gracious” comes first – giving what we don’t deserve; “compassionate” follows what we’ve been given – knowing our suffering completely with a deep desire to alleviate our pain. God gives us what we need before we have met our suffering. Because He is out of space and time, He provides for us in a way that may not make sense until we’re face-to-face with our hurt and dejection and trauma and wrestling. He goes before us.

“Cause God has compassion.” Gracious God, completely compassionate. Every heart ache I’ve ever felt, He has felt completely. Any pain and longing and desperation I’ve felt, He has known completely. He, God, has presented alleviation for all of it – in whatever form it comes. He suffers with us (undeservedly), and leads us to His grace where we find solace and strength and solutions and salvation and safety.

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I write today’s 500 Words on Grace. If you’re here you’ll find out about me as you read. Check me out on Facebook and Twitter too.

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Next post: Double You (cubed)

the grace anatomy | 500 Words on Grace

“You’re a douchebag, but I’m going to let it pass this time!”

That’s a pretty strong statement and I don’t know how people feel about the douchebag word [so I’ll say it again, just in case] but to me that sums up grace. You do not deserve this. But because of who I am I am going to give it to you anyway.

And with that the kingdom of God is summed up – take everything you know and feel and what feels fair and right and just and throw it on its head. In My Kingdom the last shall by first and those of you taking the top seat for yourself? Well, my friend [and you remain my friend, this is nothing personal, you see] you will be eating crumbs on the floor with the dog… had you taken the lowly seat to begin with, who knows but you may have been elevated to sit at my right hand in the master seat… in My Kingdom the worker who has worked for an hour gets the same wages as the one who has worked for 12 hours in the blazing sun. “Not fair!” you say? But it’s my money, I will do as I please.

In My Kingdom those who are seen as “the least of these” get to engage in fine wine and dine at your expense. In My Kingdom power is wrested away from the enemy not by a show of greater power [which I could easily do, I have legions of angels itching to show up and do some damage, yo!] but by a bruised, broken and bloody man hanging from a wooden beam. In My Kingdom victory occasionally looks very much like defeat [but for never than more than three days!].

Which should be good news to you. Because you’re a douchebag [told you!] but I’m going to let it pass this time!

‘For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by work, so that no one can boast. For we are christ’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.’ [Ephesians 2.8-10]

The bottom line for me is the free and undeservedness of the grace as well as the tension that gets brought in by the fact that although it is freely offered, the moment i grab hold of it, it becomes the most costly thing because the response to receiving grace is the response to Jesus call  of ‘if you choose to follow Me, you must deny yourself, take up your cross daily and follow Me.’ [Luke 9.23]

To receive grace means to willingly die. To self. To my dreams. My selfish ways of doing things. Any potential that I suspect lies in me.

But completely worth it, when in exchange I get the Holy Spirit living in me… and life to the absolute fullest!

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Brett Fish AndersonMy good (cyberspace) friend, Brett Fish, kicks off 500 Words on Grace. He sows graciously into the lives of others at The Simple Weigh and lives to live like Christ. He writes here, and you can follow him on Twitter here.

 

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Next post: Grace is about more than not washing your face

Never mind the Music | Guest post for Eating Neon Yogurt

Today, I get to write over at a blog with the most ridiculously awesome name: Eating Neon Yogurt. Kirsten LaBlanc writes openly and sincerely, and I’m grateful to be sharing words in her space today.

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There’s a scene in the movie called The King’s Speech where Colin Firth (a Prince at the time) goes to see a speech therapist. Upon sitting down at the start of the session, he remains quiet. The therapist then says, “I believe that when speaking with a prince, one waits for the prince to choose a topic.” To which the prince responds, “Waiting for me to commence a conversation… one can wait a rather long wait.”

I feel a similar way. I was asked to tell my story on this beautiful blogging space. When writing one’s story, one can write a rather long write. I have reels and reels of memory footage to draw from; I have mental commentaries that would drive any sane person out of their tree. I don’t have many still frames in my mind because no experience is entirely static – always moving, always changing depending on our how our perspective is morphed as we walk forward. So what is my story?