I let it go. All afternoon, I kept letting them go — the snide remarks and surly comments. I offer grace to this child, so much like me.  I let it go again, until this last straw, then I let go.

I broke down or let it break me down. Either way, I’m down.

Oh, what to do when the heaviness of your mistake and the careless spilling out of your words seems too much to bear?  For the evidence is plain to the eyes of anyone peaking in. It could not be more clear to me — the mess that I still am. It seems I’ve come far and long and hard. I am happy on my way, and maybe I forget too soon. I forget too easily when things go well. In tripping over my own lack of control and flailing words I remember —

I stumble in my own strength.

My righteousness is still as filthy rags, and no amount of my own scrubbing can wash it clean. I remember now. I run to the cross where the blood flowed freely, where grace still flows freely, where His love was proved. How can the greatest act of injustice, so horrific, red stained, body of our Lord, bloody beaten and bruised, make me white as snow? While the Man all God was despised and rejected, He remained silent for my sin of not being able to. The greatest act of love — He finished it for my transgression.

I almost want to shout the confession loud, and from here I do. I still lose my way, my temper. I still feel like I have failed beyond reproach. I have to preach grace again, to myself. I have to speak the self-sermon loud and not discard as useless the price He paid for me. Me, who should be walking by the Spirit. I still find myself in the flesh.

For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. 

Romans 7:18-19

And this brings me low. Still there is no condemnation. I am clothed in His righteousness. It’s almost too much for me to bear. He bears it all for me. Still. Even after all these years I should know. I should talk differently. I should walk differently. And still, He never gives up on me, even when the job of transformation gets messy.

How do I go lower? I am not low enough. The sorrow is so heavy. It is a Godly sorrow that is not validated by tears flowing, but by heart-change which can only happen by the meeting of a Holy Presence shining light on my sin, and by choosing repentance. He grants me repentance as a gift. I repent. I turn around. I have let this anger and frustration take me down a road where I find myself in the middle of wrong. On the way my words caused damage that only God’s grace and mercy can redeem and restore.

This is the reason that He gave His life. “They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Mark 2:17.

How do I walk in a manner worthy of the call? Only by the grace He provides. Only by the mercy I receive, and only in the measure that I offer it. And to this child I offered a contradiction — a wrong example of what grace and mercy really are. My words bring shame, and with it a sense of failure and defectiveness. So, to this child, I weep sorry.

“I don’t know how.”
 Weeps the child now. “I will try and be better.”

 Oh no, child! Don’t let me lead you to that place where you will never measure up, never be good enough. It’s a prison. “It is not perfect that He looks for.” I say aloud to her, but it’s for me to remember. It’s not perfect that I should look for.

This is the message I fail to convey this day. It’s the message I live that they will hear much loader than any words I say. But still, this is what I want this child and all the children to know. I pray, by grace, I will live it.

What you are not — He is.

It’s Christ’s performance on the cross that was good enough.

There is freedom in GRACE — 
in learning to live without

the fear of losing love and acceptance

if the job of transformation gets too messy. <— Tweetable, eh?

It was a perfect sacrifice

by a perfect person

to perfect some very

imperfect people.

By that single offering,

He did everything

that needed to be done

for everyone. 

Hebrews 10:14 MSG

My children, please don’t believe me if my life message tells you otherwise.

But always believe His Word. It is truth. Always.