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Grace (re)Discovered

Updated: Jan 18

I promised to write this in my newsletter. But where do I start!?

I think I’ll just jump into the middle.

If you’ve been raised in any form of solid Christianity that preaches the redeeming power of Jesus’ death and resurrection to give the world the door to forgiveness of anything you’ve done or thought that was less than holy, then you’ve probably heard and truly believe this statement:

There is absolutely nothing you have done or will ever do that can make Jesus love you less. He gave himself for you when you were at your worst.

And, in my history with the church, we call that the definition of grace. Receiving something we don’t deserve in any way. And NOT receiving what we DO deserve for our wrongdoings.

This is so true!

But can I get really core honest with you?

I was a really good girl. I would listen to this and think, “So why am I so full of guilt? I’ve repented of every thought and every wrong thing I can think of! I’ve loved Jesus since I was eleven years old and spent my life trying to live for Him and share him with others. Why am I stuck in deep depression when I have everything anyone could ever ask for? My God is good. My husband loves me. My kids love me and more importantly, they love Jesus. I have an amazing career as an artist in a workspace full of the best people on the planet. I’ve been miraculously healed from cancer, been on missionary trips all over the world, had incredible jobs in the workforce, and somehow I seem to walk in favor… but I’m still depressed and have been lonely since my earliest memory.

I learned it is possible to be thankful and happy, yet depressed and lonely all at the same time.

“What? Just what.”

That became my prayer. “What?”

Out of words. Out of questions. Out of ideas. Out of bread from the wonderful heritage I’ve had.

A few years ago, my friend Margaret and I sat on the couch in our family room talking about the story of the Prodigal Son. Margaret and I are two people who couldn’t be more different in our life experience, but are the same in our walk with Jesus. We are like two sides of a coin. It’s the same coin, but depending on which side you look at, you would describe our life imprints completely differently.

Margaret identified with the prodigal son. I identified with the “good boy” who stayed home and did all the things right. Earlier that week, we had both heard the phrase, “God wants to celebrate you. He wants to throw a party over you.” We both agreed that the rebellion of one and the pride of the other had separated them from the Father who loved them and who wanted relationship WITH him.

And over the years, I began to learn that the parable - in my opinion - is misnamed. It is not about the prodigal son. It is about the Patient Father.

Are you still here? Wow. Thanks for bearing with me.

I’m trying to convert a 7 year journey into a blog post. But Jesus heard my cry. He has gently led me to his heart by stages. As I cried out, He began to show me His Father’s heart. And he began to transform my own heart to be able to receive that love.

Fast forward through some trauma, launching kids, becoming a caregiver, starting a new career and I found myself spent and confused as I began a 16 session program called, “Be Transformed” by John Robin Murphy from Rock House Center Counseling.

My amazing journey is something I’ll be writing about in the future, just so I remember it, but it was there in my counselor Patti’s office that the penny dropped.

Chapter by chapter, we began to peel off one lie after another. They were stuck to me and wrapped around me like graveclothes around Lazarus. But one lie covered my eyes and it was this: “I am responsible somehow for how much Jesus can love me.”

While it is completely true that nothing I have ever done can make Jesus love me less, the perfectionist performer I had been needed to also know this: