Justified

The last few months of my life have been an adjustment to say the least. I moved to a different state. I started a new job. Everything I had left behind and was coming back to was different. At one point it seemed that I was “finding myself” as they say. I was trying new things, meeting new people. I was gaining all this life experience that I had no interest in during medical school. But in all this “finding myself” all I found was that I lost my identity. I lost who I was, and I had no idea how to get back.
Over the last few months I have had wonderful, beautiful experiences, but I also got caught up in the whirlwind until I no longer had a leg to stand on. I compromised some of my standards. I made choices that I’m less than proud of. For the first time in my life I felt like I wasn’t just not right with God, but I was all wrong. I felt like I couldn’t even show Him my face. I knew that I had let Him down, but this time was worse than all the others. For the first time I couldn’t even talk with Him as I went about my day. I felt guilty asking Him for favors or sending up a little prayer. I avoided church on my one Sunday off because all I could think was that I didn’t deserve to be there.

All of these notions were wrong.

And He made sure to show me that.

You know how God protects you when you’re in tune with Him? You know that extra guarding you get when you run under His wing? Well, somehow I still felt that protection, even after running away from Him and betraying Him and disappointing Him. He was trying to make it clear that even though I ended up down this weird path that wasn’t consistent with who I am or who He intends for me to be, He wasn’t just going to give up and let me go. He made it abundantly clear that my mistakes don’t discount His love for me, and they don’t erase the fact that I am His daughter.

So finally I started to get the message, and I made my way to church, where I do belong, because I am a sinner. And that’s where He sealed the deal with the message from Acts that day: 

Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses. (13:38-39)

He has justified me through His love and through His blood. Nothing I try to do on my own can do that. No law gives me that. Only the blood and the love of the Savior can justify me, can purify me, can give me redemption, can make me new once more.

I walked into church that day beaten down, broken, ashamed. I walked out ready to be renewed. And with that I ended up in Abouna’s office pouring out my heart, pouring out my shame and my mistakes. And I walked out redeemed. The thoughts of my shortcomings, the images of my sin, the voice in my head telling me I am worthless and terrible were finally gone. All that was left was the knowledge that I truly had been made pure again.


So here I am, once again, in a coffee shop, trying to put into words my experiences with the hope that maybe one person will read my thoughts and realize that you are royalty. Your Father won’t just leave you when you’re down for the count. He didn’t for me, and I guarantee He won’t for you.

Just remember, no matter what you do He could not love you any more or any less.

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Conversational

A slightly edited version of my journal post while in Nairobi, Kenya.
(For simplicity’s sake, bolded words are the responses I received from God)

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling. – Psalm 46:1-3

Papa, You are supposed to be my refuge and my strength, my help when I am in trouble. Well, I am. I don’t understand what’s going on inside of me, but I need a refuge. I need a safe place. I need to be steadfast no matter what disaster comes my way. There isn’t even a disaster right now, and yet I’m freaking out inside. I don’t know if it’s sleep deprivation, or thinking about leaving this place, or all my uncertainty, but I feel shaken. I need a rock to hold onto. I need a refuge so I can lay my head down in peace.

Papa, I need You to hold me right now like You did six years ago. I need You to calm the storm inside of me, stop the internal tears that are flooding my heart.

Be still, and know that I am God (v. 10)

I don’t know how. I can’t be still. I want to do, and go, and get things going. I want to stay here. I want to be done. I want to know what will happen, where I will be, so I can just be done waiting and wondering and not knowing. I just want to know.

Know that I am God

Then help me. Help me to know this and only this. That is the only way I will be satisfied, the only way I will obtain the peace I so desperately need. I need You to help me, guide me, because I’m so easily distracted. I am a dumb, dumb sheep, and unless You make sure I’m walking the right road, I will get myself lost and, I’m sure, seriously hurt yet again.

The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge (v. 11)
God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn 
(v. 5)

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I know this is a slightly different kind of post that I normally write, but this quiet time was so important to me, and I felt the need to share. God answers. Whether it’s in the next verse or a year later, God answers. Not only did He answer me in the other verses of the psalms, but He answered me because for the first time in months I was able to have a real, honest, full conversation with Him. He made sure that I knew that He is here with me, beside me, inside me.

I pray that we run straight to the arms of our heavenly Father at the first sign of trouble. I pray that He fills you and guides you, dear friend. I pray that we stand firm in the faith and the hope of our salvation.