Friday, January 10, 2014

Letter To Self: You Shall Not Perish

Dear You,

 Yeah, you. You with the brave word KNOWN tattooed on your heart for the year. You with the new commitment to sink deep into the Word and speak in tongues not your own. You who thought maybe John 3:16 might be an easy place to start.

I watched you this week. I know you found out it wasn't. You found out that familiar isn't the same thing as easy with the Word of God. I watched Love pierce deep in a dark place. Say a hard thing to you.

Because you, daughter of the King, child of Light, lover of Love, you've had a pretty messy year. A good one in so many ways. You counted more than 1000 gifts. Marked them out in pen. But even still, you were dogged by the darkness of anxiety more than ever before, felt the pain of loss open fresh old wounds, trusted and mistrusted yourself for the trusting then felt the guilt of unfounded mistrust. In the Word this week, you heard it. The hard word from Love itself. You have been living like you are perishing. Instead of living this:

You who lay down your life to help others believe, you have forgotten to believe yourself. Forgotten to live knowing no one is relying on your heroics to save the day, and that the dark villain chasing you has already been defeated by the only Superpower. You forgot that at the beginning of it all He WAS. And at the end, He will be. And right now, He is.

You have spent your days swirled in the dark mist of discontent, the bitter sting of hope dashed. And you have refused to believe in eternal life. Day after day, you lived like you were perishing, like any minute now, it was all going to fall apart.

You lived, dear one, in fear. In that unspoken and lonely fear of failure who is your worst enemy yet long-time companion. You courted her a bit this year, invited her in for coffee one too many times. And she wooed with quiet accusation. Made you believe you not only needed to fear the possibility of failing but that you had already failed, that you were a failure.

That the dishes left in the sink overnight said more about you that a God who put on skin to save you. That lack of routine and continuity and kids who went to bed too late and didn't do as much school as they should have said more about you than the miraculous fact that the God of the Universe trusted you enough to put eternity in your hands in the form of people who are His. That your body's betrayal, its inability to cup life safely in its womb, its bleeding out of hope said more about you than the Blood He shed so that your pain matters for something.

That the to-do list without the check marks and the so many days you made no lists whatsoever because you didn't care any more mattered more than the fact that it is done in eternity. That what people thought about you and their approval of your work made you who you were more than the knitting He did in your mother's womb.

You ran and raced within from the menacing threats, from mortal peril, from perishing, so many days. And more often than not, you still felt you had not run fast enough, that the darkness had caught you. But:

And as you have dug back in over the last month, heard Him say, "I know. Come out of hiding, sweet one. You are known. You are loved. Even with, even if, and even when. You are loved. And there is mercy and there is grace and there is light enough for all your dark battles. I put on skin for just this reason. So you would know. I laid my head in the meanness and cold of your cruel world so you would know. I held out my hands and embraced the tears of the woman who wept at my feet and the one who his at the well and the one who banged pots and pans in the kitchen in frustration so that you would know. I became incarnate in the womb of a woman that you would know. From the inside from forever until never-ending glory shines, I have known you. In the beginning, I WAS. And because I lived, I live in you. And you do not have to perish, only believe."

I hear the question forming before you ask. And I know that you know that you already know. All you have to believe is this one little thing: it doesn't matter if you are enough because He is. It doesn't matter what you know because you are known. It does't matter what you do, because it has already been done. So just live and breathe grateful. Keep counting. Live in the embrace of His Word.

You have chosen well, sweet soul sister. This is your year to remember that you are known. And to believe. And to live like you have eternal life in you. Because you are not in peril. You shall not perish, dear. So live in the light. Let it shine on your darkest places and let them be known. Because you cannot fail at what has already been won. And you cannot perish when you know you will live forever. So live lavishly and love long and let it go. He's got you. 

Velvet Ashes: encouragement for women serving overseas
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