Life comes at me in themes. A year ago I found myself broken, tired, a mess. I had forgotten how to rely on God to restore my heart. God offered my heart a refill and a I placed my hand over the cup, told him I’ve got this and sent him on his way. I thought someone else may need the portion more. I had forgotten that God’s grace is limitless, that there is more then enough, that I am unable to refill my own heart.
This post is sponsored by Family Christian.
Years ago I had “Be Still” plastered everywhere. It was on the front of my day planner. It was the welcome screen on my cell phone. It was scratched across my college notes and the screen savor on my desktop. 15 years ago as I struggled with leaving the past behind me I needed the constant reminder to rest in God’s grace.
Last year I was in need of a crash course refresher to just be still, to rest in God’s goodness. I’ve spent the last twelve months resting in grace, struggling through my doubts, and wondering what lies ahead. I’ve laid out plans, God said no. I tried again and he diverted them. I thought I was done with the church, he threw me back into ministry. I thought I could hide behind dusty texts and words. Instead, words have become my release and I struggle publicly through scripture, theology, and culture norms.
I was once told in ministry you must have a soft heart and the hide of a rhino. My hide is no thicker then it was and there are walls that still need to be broken in order to reach my heart. I’m getting there.
Perhaps, BE STILL is a life motto I will have to learn over and over again. In God’s grace he doesn’t give up on me. He doesn’t overwhelm us with our imperfections. At a Bible Study on post this week it was mentioned that God does not attack us with a sledge hammer. He comes at us gently with a chisel, slowly working at our imperfections.
I’m beginning to see a new theme. A movie, a book, and the remnants I am still holding tightly to collide. God speaks through the moments.
The girls and I finally got around to watching “Into the Woods.” It’s the journey of a wish, of striving to find satisfaction in a dream. And then the realization that the dream was not what was needed. There are repercussions of abandoning all in pursuit. There is a coming of age and an awareness that satisfaction does not come from fulfilling our desires. Life is not simple. It is not a simple when I achieve this then this will occur. There is a moment when grief overtakes them all and the young boy declares his wish for vengeance. In the midst of his own grief the Baker guides him towards forgiveness. There is always a back story we don’t know, we don’t understand. Our stories intersect briefly. Life is messy. People make mistakes. It’s never just simple.Life is messy. People make mistakes. It's never just simple. Click To Tweet
Then I tuck the kids into bed amidst tears and questions of death and grief. Perhaps their tender hearts were to young for this movie, or perhaps this is one of those moments in their life that will stick and keep their hearts soft.
I crawl into bed and pull out a book.
I don’t often pick my books. They come to me. Family Christian sent me this one,
, in exchange for an honest review.
Unoffendable: How Just One Change Can Make All of Life Better
Occasionally you read a book that changes you. I tend to have conversations with my books. I verbally agree or voice my arguments as if the author can hear me. I chicken scratch notes and questions in the margins. Occasionally you read a book that breaks down your walls and reaches your heart. Occasionally you are left silent, highlighting word after word, tears falling without even realizing it. Occasionally you sit convicted.
Phillip Yancey’s “The Jesus I Never Knew” was a game changer for me. It forced me to the feet of Christ. It helped me see his love and grace despite things not going my way. I let go of my anger and it reignited my faith. It brought me to the realization of how limited my view of God was, how boxed in I had made him. It shed light on my desire to control the creator of the universe.
I am a slow learner.
7 years later it was time for a new lesson. 7 years of struggling through accepting God’s grace in my own life and trusting him enough to say “your will not mine” it was time for a lesson not on receiving grace but on extending grace.
Brant Hansen tackles righteous anger, offense and vengeance. He points out that those belong to God-not us- we have no right to it. As Christians “we should be the most refreshingly unoffendable people on a planet that seems to spin on an axis of offense.”
When I lost my way (once again), I had forgotten who I was in Christ and why I was doing ministry. I needed stillness to revisit God’s grace in my own life. I needed a slap in the face from this book to remind me that grace isn’t just for me. In fact, when I allow God to refill my cup he does so to overflowing in the presence of my enemies. He calls me to love my enemies. So who better to share the overflowing abundance of grace with!
when I allow God to refill my cup he does so to overflowing in the presence of my enemies Click To Tweet
I’m left rethinking relationships I’ve let go. Perhaps I was wrong.
If you find yourself frustrated by the world, overwhelmed by the news of riots and martyrs, believing your anger is justified and useful towards change then please read just one book this year. Read Unoffendable and come back so we can talk.
A big thank you to Family Christian for sending me this book and sponsoring a $25 Gift Certificate Giveaway.