I am the wayward child. I've been more the prodigal than the good, obedient one. I still dream of that cigarette, years after putting them down. I drink a glass of wine in the evenings, something some church members would frown upon. I'm not good at prayer, although for many disillusioned years I ardently tried to work it out on my knees, for hours at a time.
I love rock and hip-hop, which makes me an immature Christian at best, on a pathway for hell at worst--I know, because I listened as a child to preachers spew it as they yelled, so much angst inside, so much fear. I was raised by parents who thought that way too. But they feel differently now. They see grace, I think.
All of those things--the type of music I like, my lack of ability to pray well--those are just outward things, mere technicalities that don't really matter.
God is concerned about my heart.
And my heart has been wayward. It so easily strays, looks in the trash for food, instead of dining at the Master's table. I'm a lost child, calloused and dirty from surviving these mean streets.
I peer in, watch through glass windows, wishing I was welcomed out of the cold, into the warmth. But at every turn, it seems I'm met with cold pity and disdain for my dirty ragedness. No one wants to sit with me, dine with me as Jesus did with sinners.
Jesus reclined at the tables of the thief and the pharisee, those so unworthy--he was at home with sinners.
And how thankful I am for that--because this body of death betrays His spirit within, and I am a wretch. There were times I wanted to die, yet He has made me alive--alive to Him. I cling to Him, the only thing that saves, not my Sunday dress, or my attendance, or even my lack of drink or bars visited.
And he let her wash his feet with expensive perfume, such an intimate act--the despised one, the dirty, filthy whore, the one no one wanted to touch, unless he was an unrighteous man, a man rejected, a man condemned, although Jesus said they had the same sinful thoughts, just by looking at her.
And I, this lost child that can never seem to get it right--I think I understand her just a little.
I wonder if they realize we're all just beggars at his table? The ones that judge and condemn--do they really know? The ones that look down from their lofty statuses and talk of never having had a drop their whole life--if they believe it's true--what they preach--why don't they live it?
The ones that in their Sunday suits, scoff at those "new, immature" Christians who don't know any better and go into the bars to minister to those who need Jesus? Do they know Jesus when they scoff at something Jesus himself would have done?
Wasn't Jesus always trying to teach his disciples to exactly mirror him?
They sneer in holy indignation, he will just be dragged down into sin with the rest of them--he hasn't experienced true Christianity--he's on a road to hell by going into those joints.
I submit that when we go to those places Jesus himself would have gone, and we touch the dirty and the unforgiven, the prodigals and the railing-against-God-ones, that is when we are close enough to know His holy breath.
I've really just ceased having the ability to pretend, pretend that I'm a loving, humble Christian who doesn't drink and doesn't ever yell at her kids, and only, and always wears the right-length dress to church.
The great thing about knowing I'm a prodigal, just a beggar at his table? I get to be the one closest to God's heart, the one he calls a party for, the one he cloaks in his robe, the one to receive his ring and his favor, his embrace.
And though I've squandered the inheritance, he looks at me through eyes of grace, laughs a deep, fatherly laugh at my child-confusion, and tells me Child, you can't squander it because it never runs out.
And, ah, I break and the wild, raging rivers of self-hatred and self-doubt and condemnation all damned-up breaks free and His grace works, because I never, ever want to disappoint my Father. I want to always, always be in His embrace, here at his table.
We are all--thieves, beggars, whores, pharisees, and agoraphobic moms who shut themselves up in their rooms--we're all just prodigals trying to find our way home. We've only to realize it and embrace it, to let go of our fears and stop judging.
Let's not cast any stone. Let us help walk one another home.
Celebrating 1,000 gifts--I never thought I would finish the race, but I have done it, and don't plan on ever stopping giving thanks--it helps me rightly see!!!
I'm grateful for a Father that takes me over and over, for campfires outside with my kids and husband, for warm Ghiardelli hot cocoa, for smores melted over a fire, for beautiful pumpkins and mums, for butternut squash baked with brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter, for cool nights that mean cuddling, for my baby saying some new words--hallelujah!
Watch this video and worship with me, friend or Click here to watch on Youtube
Linking with sweet Ann and beautiful others...
Ann, Emily , Laura, Jen, & Michelle.
Linking up with The Nester, and all the other 31-Dayers....This ought to be one wild, brave ride...
Do you struggle with fear of judgement, friend? Does it hold you hostage? What's your story? How has God redeemed it? Have you found grace? Your comments so encourage me. I draw strength from your kind words and knowing you were here. My faith walk is seasoned with the right ingredients when you hang around...
Friends, If you would so kindly click here and go over to my friend, Jennifer's site for a giveaway--her sweet daughter, Lydia, is having a jewelry party to raise money for a school playground for children in Haiti. We know these children and families have been affected by much suffering after the earthquake. This jewelry is hand-made by our sisters in Haiti--Jennifer has been there, met them, hung out with them in their homes--and this is Jennifer's project. By buying one of these beautiful necklaces, you will be helping a Haitian woman work to feed her family, AND you will be helping raise money for children to have a place to play! She is also giving away some jewelry, so hurry on over and share on facebook, twitter, etc for your spot in the giveaway! I'm definitely buying one--I hope you do, too!