A few years ago, unannounced, grace found me. It changed my life. The perfectionism and striving and people pleasing and not-enough-ness that I once struggled with, simply vanished. Where the pain had been I found peace. Bliss and love showed up. I was suddenly in awe of a God who loved me in the midst of my total hot mess, broken, worst, self. I saw things that had been taken from me slowly start to be restored. Things were changing for the better.
I was given things that I never even dreamed would be possible for my life. I had never given much thought to a place to live or a car to drive or stable church community, but suddenly I had all of those things. My life had been so nomadic, gypsy-like for most of adulthood. Traveling from one place to the next to the next. Involved in ministry and missions. There's so much about that season I loved, and my heart for the nations and for people and God fit right in, but as I look back it's also easy to see it as running. Running away from pain, from myself. Running toward something that I didn't know I was looking for: love. Staying hadn't even been an option. Then grace came, God came. God brought stability into my life because that's what he does. He sees what we need and he loves to meet those needs.
Grace brought me home to God, to myself, and this loving, full-of-grace God was so different from the God I used to know that I wasn't even sure it was God. This God was kind and gentle and full of love and joy. The God I'd know before was angry and expected perfection and never showed love. I knew this "new" God was real, the true God, I knew it was truth. What I didn't know was that the next years would be filled with de-constructing the wrong version of God that had been there and filling my mind with a completely different God than the one I'd known in my history of church and ministry.
God healed me, but as I started getting more involved in church again, all those wrong mindsets came back. The striving, the people pleasing, the I'm-not-lovable thoughts. I knew I had an encounter with God that was real and changed my life, but the dichotomy of beliefs kept showing up. Under the old mindset, I had to be perfect to be lovable, I had to get everything right, I had to do what other people wanted me to do. I believed that if I just did all the right things, then I'd be loved. Under the new mindset, I was already loved. I was already chosen. I didn't have to do anything to earn love.
I wasn't quite sure how to function that way. Loved, I mean. The gap between the fear-based mindset and the love-based one seemed huge, and these days, I see it closing slowly. Too slow for my liking, but progress brings hope. The fear is leaving, and love is coming in, because GRACE. Some days it still feels like the grand canyon and I wonder if I'll ever get to the other side. Some days I miss it all together. Other days, I know grace is bringing me home.
Each and every day, it's choosing to stay in grace, because only grace can fill that gap, only grace can keep me close.
Grace will always, always bring us home.