Monday, June 11, 2007

Fall to grace, part 10

For the whole story, read this, beginning with Part 1. The condensed version can be found in Part 6.

As, in desperation, I devoured God's Word, it began to sink in as never before.

Subject: Ignore my previously morose missive!!!
Date: 1/26/99 15:38

It's finally starting to sink in! I re-read Galatians (by the end of all this, maybe I'll have it memorized) and it suddenly struck me that I'm sitting around crying over the leeks back in Egypt instead of rejoicing over the manna falling from Heaven and the glory right in front of me.

Then I read Philippians. It's all there in chapter 3!!! I felt almost like Corrie ten Boom must have felt when she was in prison and the Word of God seemed so fresh, so timely, that it seemed as if the ink shouldn't be dry.

Falling? I was never falling. I was in the Father's arms the whole time.
Now I'm crying again, but it's joy this time. (Not sure if it's giddiness yet, though.) Here I'm made things so hard, and the real answer has been there the whole time. Mike, I don't know what else to say. Words seem so...mundane.


Subject: Words seem so mundane, but that won't stop me from typing a bunch of them
Date: 1/26/99 16:19

Hope you're reading these emails in order, or they won't make any sense.

When I was busy hurling myself off precipices, why didn't you suggest I read the book of Galatians? You did? You mean I read it and never noticed the part at the very end where it says, "And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them..." Or what about right before then, where Paul says that neither circumcision or uncircumcision avails anything in Christ, that the important thing is that we're a new creation? How could I have not seen the hope and glory in all that? Why was I so intent on clutching my filthy little rags around me and then crying that God had so graciously removed them?

Mike, this is glorious.

And now I can even laugh at how dense I've been. Here I've been going around saying that if my children turn out to be any better than axe-murderers, it will be all God's grace, but I've somehow missed that message for myself. Or at least I've never plumbed the depths of it. And now I'm starting to taste it...and it is so incredible and so sweet.

Have I ever told you about my Opa? When he was a young married guy, he was really struggling with all sorts of stuff. He simply couldn't be the strong man of God that my grandmother wanted in a husband. Just one symptom of that---and a big bone of contention between them---was that he was horribly addicted to cigarettes. Well, he used to describe how God took him from Romans 7 to Romans 8. It was such a dramatic change that his customers (he was a butcher) commented on how different he was. He memorized Romans 8; if I close my eyes, I can still hear him quoting it in German. I thought I understood what he meant when he would tell me this story, but I realize now I had only the vaguest inkling.

I knew God's grace was amazing, but I had no idea that it was this amazing! You should have at least tried to tell me. Oh, you did try? You mean that's what you've been going on about all this time?

Well, if someone as dense as me could finally start to get it, there's lots of hope for all the Gothardites and Ezzoites out there!

Excuse me. It stopped raining and I have to go out and dance in the streets.


Subject: Just thought of something else!
Date: 1/26/99 16:33

There's this nifty chorus I learned decades ago:

Do this and live, the Law commands
But gives me neither feet nor hands.
A better way His grace doth bring
It bids me fly and gives me wings!

When I was a little kid, we found a bird who'd fallen out of his nest, a tiny falcon. One of the ways we helped teach him to fly---really soar, rather than just take short little flights between stuff---was to throw him up in the air as high as we could. My older brother would form him into a ball and throw him up, up and I'd watch him start to plummet back to earth, with his body still curled into a ball. I was always afraid he'd just smack the ground and die, but then he'd stretch out his wings, come out of the free fall, and soar off!

That's how I feel now. God showed me that He gave me wings a long time ago, and He's finally teaching me how to use them.

And now I'm crying again!


  1. Jen, I was going to wait to post this "installment", but I wanted you to be able to read it ASAP.

    God, in His grace, will bring you to a place of joy you never thought possible.

  2. << Jen, I was going to wait to post this "installment", but I wanted you to be able to read it ASAP. God, in His grace, will bring you to a place of joy you never thought possible. >>

    Jen can tell you I've been telling her the exact same things I told you, Rebecca. There is no short-cut. There is no way to "lessen the pain" in the process. There really is light at the end of the tunnel, but I can't describe it for you; you'll have to experience it for yourself. And when you do -- well, you already know the rest.

    Letting go of self-effort and resting in Jesus are not cliches. They are active pursuits and they can be exhausting at first, like exercising muscles that are flabby from years of disuse. But I just keep repeating: HIS yoke is easy and HIS burden is light.

    And I keep asking folk: If your burden is not easy and light, then is it HIS burden? Is it HIS yoke? Do you believe what he said?

  3. Ah, but Mike --- so often we want to pick up burdens that aren't ours. Or we want to place those burdens on each other.

    One thing that I've just realized is that I am trying to carry the burden of having to solve all the Church's issues --- or at least be able to articulate problems and solutions in a cohesive sort of way, so that I have it all figured out. As if I could do any of that!

    But it's not my burden. It is Jesus Who will somehow miraculously manage to clean up the Church so that we will be a beautiful and spotless Bride.

    You know what? I couldn't do that if I tried.

    And you know what else? It is not my burden to try to fix myself, to give myself peace, to give myself courage, to give myself more love, to give myself healing, to give myself anything. All this stuff I've been going through? It's yet another reminder that I need a Savior, that I need my Precious Friend. I can't be my own savior. I'm not God.

    It's all grace. Still. Always. Forever.

  4. Rebecca, I came here tonight anxious about what I'd find. Would it be depressing or would I find hope? Thanks for speeding this up on my behalf and giving me hope tonight. I'm sure my friends here told you how distressed I was about reading your story.

    It was the timing of it all for me. It was God's timing today, but it was simply overwhelming to me. I was writing an article for my blog which shreds patriarchy. As I looked up every verse and studied it in context, it was as if God was ripping that away from me, too, verse by verse. There were hundreds altogether, and combined with all your chapters from yesterday and today, I just lost it. But it was God's timing for me to go through this today.

    I keep wondering how much more there is for God to take away. I think I have to get to point where I am spiritually stripped naked before I can begin to understand grace. I think it's time to read Galatians - again.

    Thanks for the story of the baby bird. That was a good picture for me. And thanks again for giving me hope tonight. Maybe I can sleep tonight.

  5. Jen, Galatians became somewhat like a lifeline to me.

    Having everything stripped away is painful to be sure --- but the best thing is that it forces us to cling to Jesus. We are no longer so distracted, nor are we relying on our filthy rags. Instead, we are able to know that He is sufficient, that He alone both saves and sanctifies, that He is gracious, that He is loving, that He is all we need.

    It may not seem like it now, but this crisis and pain is very much worth it --- and it's not just the joy that awaits you, it is knowing Christ as you've never known Him before.

  6. This is what Paul said about that Old Testament Law (Torah, means instructions)

    Romans 7:12 12 Wherefore the law (Torah) is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.

    2 Timothy 3:16-17 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

    He wasn't talking about the New Testament, it hadn't been written and canonized.

    If you want greater appreciation of God's plan and desires for us see the following link.

    You can copy and paste to your address line if you need.

    Ephesians 2:12 12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the COVENANTS of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:

    Ephesians 2:19 19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

    The only covenants are with and through Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob (Israel).

    We've been grafted in,

    Romans 11:17 17 ¶ And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;