Sunday, February 25, 2007

The trouble with grace...

So my son gave me some insight today.

To lay the foundation, he had been struggling with some behaviors & making choices that resulted in me telling him he wouldn't get to go with family friends to an arcade this afternoon. This was heartbreaking because he loves the friends and loves arcade games.

We had the normal efforts at good behavior in attempts to change the decision, the apologies, the last ditch efforts to impress me... but as I sent Julia along to stay with our friends and Eli had to stay with me, it slowly sunk in that he really might not go. This led to anger, crying, etc. etc. We had a number of discussions all morning about the behavior, and he was quite aware of his struggles, so it wasn't unexpected to him, but upsetting, still.

I talked to Eli about the problem with apologies being just for the moment... just to get something you wanted. We talked about doing the right thing for the right reason = because it's right. If you were at Memorial this morning, you will remember the video shown depicting Jesus' trial and crucificion. We also talked about that.

We had already talked alot today about the scene from that movie. But it was funny, because all my lectures and discussions from this day and previous days suddenly took on a new meaning to him in light of that scene.

Me : "Eli, do you remember that scene this morning of what all those people did to Jesus?"

Eli (Still teary and sad) : "Yes."

Me: "In all that you have read of Jesus, can you think of anything He ever did to deserve that kind of treatment?"

Eli: "No."

Me: "That's right. Because He never did. But we have. And He did what He did so that we wouldn't have to recieve such treatment for our wrongs - He took the punishments He didn't deserve so that we would never have to take the ones we did deserve. (There was a long pause as he listened and I tried to formulate my thoughts here...)
Eli... that's why we do what's right. Because of what He did that day. Not because if we do the right thing we'll get to go to an arcade with friends. Not because we might have more people like us if we do. Not even because Mom and Dad tell you to do it. We do it because we love Jesus and what he did that day for us so much.

At this point Eli hugged me, and I hugged him.
And then I whispered in his ear that he could go with his friends to the arcade.

Much to my surprise, he began crying again, harder than he had been up to that point. He said in his teary voice... "Mom, I don't deserve to go."

I quietly responded, "You're right. You don't deserve at all to go, today. But this is what grace is."

Eli then said, even more remorsefully, "I don't want grace. I don't want to hurt you."

I hugged him tightly, and said " I sure understand that. But that's why we love grace."
He was smiling and packing up to go in the next few minutes.... and exceptionally sensitive as he left.


What got me about this conversation is that he voiced at 7 what I still struggle with at times at 32. I've said before that I am a recovering perfectionist. (Not that I was ever that good at being one.) I think I have come along way... but I know exactly how he feels.

Someone once described mercy as not getting what you deserve, and grace meaning that you get something you never deserved. Mercy always seemed a little easier to give and recieve. Grace, by comparison, never makes sense.

The trouble with grace is that you can't really accept it without accepting a lot of truths about yourself. And we spend a good bit of our lives trying to protect ourselves from those truths.

Grace makes us acknowledge what we don't have a right too.
Grace makes us acknowledge what we haven't earned.
Grace makes us admit what we can never live up to.

Grace makes us uncomfortable.

And if we can get over ourselves enough to get past all of that, grace becomes not that which we are uncomfortable with .... but that which we are desperate for and passionate about.

It's sad to admit that there was a time when I scoffed at grace in my heart. I was trying to do everything right - and figured everyone else should too. And if we were giving it our best... we wouldn't really need grace. Grace was for lazy people. But I lied to myself the whole time.

What I realize about grace is what Paul said all along... it doesn't cause us to sin more...if we let it, it frees us to admit what we always knew about ourselves but felt we couldn't let anyone else know. It allows us to live in HIS victory... it frees us from the ups and downs of our own inconsistency. This doesn't cause us to sin more... but fills us with joy and freedom that becomes a bigger motivator in despising sin than our fear ever did.

And as I still journey to understand the depths of that concept... so my son begins.

Thank you, God... for your Grace that is Jesus.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

When cheating is downright cute...

Su - glad you deleted yourself. Maybe we can both write "delayed" on our on foreheads....:-)Glad to catch up!


So each week, my son has spelling words. A new addition to the homework during the second half of school is that he is to write a sentence for each word in prep for the test. This is still a recent addition he's getting used too. And he doesn't always make transitions or changes quickly.

He was close to being done with everything else tonight... and then we reminded him to write his sentences. I copied his words for him, and sat him down at the table with a piece of paper to begin working on it.

His words were:


He was done unusally quick, and when he handed the paper to me, this was what he had come up with:

Do you like me or a fork that was torn, (it was short). I got it for being born.

Jason and I laughed so hard he initally got mad at us until we explained how impressed we were with his creativity. I told him in the future he would have to do it differently, but this time... it was worth it to send it that way. :-)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

A little more catching up!

Oops ! Susan ...come back! I accidently deleted you! :-)

Well - AIM-a-palooza '07 (did I spell that right Tim? ) is official... all Ex Aimers are welcome. So if you're an ex-aimer, and in Tulsa on Friday night of Workshop - plan to come by our house after the keynote speaker. I'll provide the drinks, and apparently the nachos. :-) It will be fun!

Dusty... I'm a loser, and have been out of the blogging pocket for two weeks so I'm just now catching up - including getting informed on your nomination. Sorry! ( And thanks for the title...)
We may have to talk more about that....

I've spent the last two weeks taking a disaster preparedness course in my extra time... and it was , humbling, intimidating, interesting and fun! So I'm up to speed now.. if any of you have acts of terrorism, natural disasters, earthquakes, need triaged ( sorry - can't do CPR but I can write "Immediate" ,"Delayed" ,or "Dead" on your forehead for sorting purposes...) - or all of the above, I'm your girl. :-) Our final test in a couple of weeks is a four hour disaster simulation drill complete with victims, fake injuries, etc. .
In all seriousness, an emergency at church the other day drove home the need for even basic skills to be a part of how we serve people... which I lack in areas, and I'm hoping (in a conservative sense of 'hope') that this will be made useful at the right time....

On a funny Julia note....

We were leaving the house on Saturday to go to lunch and return a borrowed car to a friend on the way. I had asked Jason not to forget me so I wouldn't get lost, but somewhere in the conversation we also discussed needing to fill up the borrowed car with gas... which he went on ahead of us to do. So when I came out and got in the car, I said out loud to my mom who was with us, "Oh - I guess Jason went ahead a left me. Well, I think I can get there."

Julia pipes up with her opinion from the backseat. "Daddy made a bad choice."

I said, "Jules, I don't think Daddy made a bad choice - we just didn't communicate clearly to each other, and so we got mixed up. It's okay."

Julia repeated herself. "Daddy made a bad choice." I explained again that this wasn't a bad choice... just a misunderstanding. At which point she corrected me as well by saying:

"No - Ms. Patti at school told us about the ten commandments. And one of them says "Don't leave your wife."

Now, I might just have to use that interpretation again sometime.....

Friday, February 16, 2007

Vocabulary Lessons

Julia, early this morning, informs me of the following:

"Mom - I know what 'Ahhhmen' means. " (Not sure where she heard it pronounced like that, but....)

Me - "Yeah? What." (Thinking of the few definitions I have heard before and wondering which she heard and from where.)

Julia "It means AAAmen."


By a lucky fluke I could successfully sign into my blog this morning. Haven't had time or luck previously.. so hopefully I will be back in to post some more later!

Monday, February 05, 2007

The Cross - What's "in" it for you?

I still intend, when time allows, to post some more on Asperger's. In the mean time, however, I wanted to share a small part in the book "Velvet Elvis" by Rob Bell.
This book challenges me...- a good challenge. I love this quote and thought if I wasn't going to post anything new, I'd at least give you a taste of what I'm reading in the absence of writing!

"To say that salvation is holistic is to acknowledge that there are many dimensions to living in harmony with God. In one sense, salvation is a legal transaction. Humans are guilty because of our sin, and God is the judge who has to deal with our sin because He is holy and any act of sin goes against His core nature. He has to deal with it. Enter Jesus, who dies on the cross in our place. Jesus gets what we deserve; we get what Jesus deserved.
For Jesus, however, salvation is far more. It includes this understanding, but it is far more comprehensive - it is a way of life. ....

When we understand salvation from a legal-transaction perspective, then the point of the cross becomes what it has done for us. There is the once-and-for-all work of Jesus dying on the cross for our sins and saying, "It is finished." Nothing more to be offered and nothing more to be sacrificed. All has been forgiven. But let's also use a slightly different phrase: the work of the cross in us. ....There is the ongoing need to return to the cross to be reminded of our brokeness and dependence on God. There is the healing we need from the cross every single day.

Which leads to forgiveness. The point of the cross isn't forgiveness. Forgiveness leads to something much bigger; restoration. God isn't just interested in the covering over of our sins; God wants to make us into the people we were originally created to be. It is not just the removal of what's being held against us; it is God pulling us into the poeple He originally had in mind when He made us. ...The goal here isn't simply to not sin. Our purpose is to increase the shalom in this world, which is why approaches to the Christian faith that deal solely with not sinning always fail. They aim at the wrong thing. It is not about what you don't do. The point is becoming more and more the kind of people God had in mind when we were first created.

It is one thing to be forgiven; it is another to become more and more and more and more the person God made you to be."


Are there any areas in your life in which you have just settled for "not sinning"?

Is there unwholeness in you that you don't let Him at because you unconsciously relegated Him to handling the 'sin' issue, and with that out of the way, you told yourself the rest was on your own plate to deal with?

Do you ever have a hard time letting God be sovereign over all of you - not just your salvation?

Rob Bell ends the section with this powerful quote:

"It is one thing to be saved.... It is another to be healed. It is possible to be saved and miserable. It is possible to be saved and not be a healthy, whole, life-giving person. It is possible for the cross to have done something for a person but not in them."

- One thing I am thankful for and dependent on this week is that the cross continues to deliver ...not just a covering of my guilt, but a changing of me.