I was recently challenged in a Bible study to share my version of my salvation story with God and then invite Him to share His version with me. I put it off for a while, but I finally sat down to share it with Him one night last week, and joked, “How long do You have, God?”
I then proceeded to tell Him exactly how I remembered my story:
I was scrolling through Facebook the other day and came across a post talking about abortion. It encouraged people who consider themselves pro-life to show grace to mothers who did choose life, but didn’t do it in a conventional way: the teenage girl who dropped out of high school to have her baby, the married woman who gave her baby up for adoption, the unmarried woman who had a baby with her boyfriend, or the woman using food stamps at the grocery store to support her five children. The writer shared that all of them chose life, yet still get judged by the people who claim to be pro-life because they have a non-traditional lifestyle.
I watch you glance at the clock. Because for now, life runs on time. And your days just don’t seem to have enough. It’s time for a bath and bed, and it’s okay when you feel guilty that you’re glad. I give you just enough energy to make it through the splashes and tantrums. And I hear every word you softly sing over her. I am already answering those prayers for her. Mama, you just wait to see what I do in her life.
Your to-do list is almost complete. And even after all of that, you still come meet me on the couch. I understand that you can barely hold your eyes open, but Mama, my Truth is just the refreshment you need. My Word is the energy you need to love hard tomorrow. And all I need you to do it open it. I’ll do the rest. And I’ll give you rest.
You did more Kingdom work today than you will ever know, sweet Mama.
And you will never know how proud I am of you.
—“Dear Working Mama” by Jessica Satterfield (excerpt)
Three years ago, as a brand new mom in the throes of postpartum depression, I gulped these words down like they were water for my parched soul. Over and over again, I would go back and forth between these words and His Word. My whole life I had been an over-achiever, and it was devastating to not live up to my own expectations.
“Jesus may have said man shall not live by bread alone, but He said nothing about moms living by caffeine alone,” I joked to my husband while sucking down my second cup of coffee after a hectic morning. Icy roads, school delays, and blow-out diapers had not set us off on the right foot. I was frustrated because I was going to be late to work (again), but in the midst of the craziness, I felt a gentle prompting in my spirit to meditate on Nehemiah 8:10:
I have prayed about this post for a while before putting it out into the world.
Since the ruling in New York, I’ve seen a lot of posts about abortion on my social feeds. I’m not going to debate the morality of abortion, because at the end of the day I am pro-life, but I do want to point out that when the crowd was ready to stone the woman, Jesus didn’t join them just because they were on the right side of the issue. Instead, He stood against the crowd and invited them to self-reflect.
The other day I found myself asking my toddler this question after she repeatedly refused to put away her new Christmas toys. Usually, she responds with a sullen, “You are.” But this time she smiled at me and said, “Jesus is!”
It was pretty hard to argue with that logic, so my new parenting motto is: Until Jesus comes back, Mommy’s in charge.
Over the past weekend, I was home with two sick kids during a snowstorm and—I’ll admit it—we watched a lot of movies. I tried fun games, hot chocolate, cookie baking, and dancing around in the living room, but somehow all of that only took two hours, with a very long 46 hours to go. So I just accepted the impending mom guilt and turned on Netflix.
The good news is that God loves using those moments when I’m wallowing in guilt to lay His Words on my heart. This weekend, it was all about the happily ever after. Movie after movie had the implied happily ever after we all know and love… for the good guys. But what about the bad guys?
I’ve heard some women say that their favorite part of a love story is seeing how a man can look at a woman and see the good things in her that she can’t see in herself. It’s appealing to us when someone takes time to get to know the girl behind the mask and falls in love with the crazy, honest version of herself that she’s usually too afraid to show the world. Who wouldn’t want someone who always sees past the mess, knows who we truly are, and loves us for it anyhow?
God looks at us like that every day! He sees through every mask we ever try to put on and loves us despite all our deepest, darkest secrets. He not only sees the potential and purpose in us, He also created it. He is constantly trying to remind us that we are worthy—not because of what we have or have not done, but because of who we are in Christ.
Reading through the Old Testament several years ago, I remember being so confused by what felt like a bipolar God. In Exodus, He responded to the Israelites grumblings in the wilderness with grace over and over again. Then suddenly in Numbers, He responded to the exact same grumblings with curses and serpents. Did He just run out of patience with them? Did He decide after the golden calf that they weren’t good enough for His grace anymore? Did His grace for me also have limits?
Grace in the English language typically means elegance, beauty, or mercy, but in scripture, grace is the foundation of our salvation and redemption. Ephesians 2:8 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith—and this is not from yourselves; it is the gift of God.” Grace is the means that allowed us to be reconciled and restored to righteousness in His sight after the fall. God’s grace is His goodness toward us when we were still sinners and had no reason to expect His favor.
I think sometimes we approach working out the same way we approach grace and Christianity. Too often, the main reason we reach out to God is because we think we messed up somehow. “Oh, I sinned again. I need to pray.”
It’s similar with working out – we do it because we want to fix something. “Oh, I messed up my diet again. I need to work out.”