“Grace is smashing a calculator, and using all the broken buttons and pieces to make a mosaic. Grace isn’t about having a second chance; grace is having so many chances that you could use them through all eternity and never come up empty. It’s when you finally realize that the other shoe isn’t going to drop, ever. It’s the moment you feel as precious and handmade as every star, when you feel, finally, at home for the very first time. Grace is when you finally stop keeping score and when you realize that God never was, that his game is a different one entirely. Grace is when the silence is so complete that you can hear your own heartbeat, and right within your ribs, God’s beating heart, too.” –Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet
God says, “I know you’re going to let me down. But I’m going to love you anyway.”
This last week I have just constantly been overwhelmed and in awe of the Lord’s faithfulness.
There have been so many times that I didn’t deserve His mercy, yet He gave it anyway. So many times that I was undeserving of His love, yet He poured it on me endlessly.
My entire life is a testament to his grace.
My entire life is a collection of times that I should have been beaten by the enemy’s strength but my God said “no, I am stronger. And you are worthy.”
Writing this brings tears to my eyes because it wasn’t even three years ago that I was living for the world, hurting my heart in ways that I didn’t even know. Giving myself away to boys who didn’t love me. Making friends with the people who could only give me fun for the night. Making choices that didn’t reflect who I was at my core.
And the Lord never stopped fighting for me. He fought until I was broken, ashamed, guilty, and on my knees with my hands open, whispering, “I can’t do this anymore. God, I need you.” He met me in my place of hurt and walked through the fire with me. He carried me until I was strong enough in Him to stand on His love and truth.
He didn’t say, “wait until you get your life together and then you can come follow me.” He didn’t say, “you’re too broken; I can’t fix you.” He said, “give me the pieces of your life. Give me the pieces of your heart. I want It all. I want everything that you are, exactly as you are. Just follow me. I am bigger than your shame and I am bigger than your hurt and I love you. So, follow me.”
And I didn’t deserve any of it. But in His eyes, I was blameless. I was spotless.
I was the prodigal son.
I ran away from my home in the Kingdom of God. I ran to a distant land and lived a wild life until I was empty. I ran because I wanted to be known — loved — by people. I didn’t realize that I was leaving love itself and I was searching for it everywhere except the place where love flourished.
Shame is one of the enemy’s greatest tools. He uses it to warp our minds and to keep us feeling unworthy of the Lord because how could we possibly measure up to the perfect son. But the irony is that God knew we would never be perfect. And that is exactly why he sent Jesus.
When I came to my senses and home to my Father, I came home shamefully. I came home to His Kingdom with my head down. But the Lord lifted my chin, giving me worth in Him and restoring my dignity in Him.
So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
The father of the prodigal son had every reason to shut him out but he said, “you’re my child and I love you.” His father ran to cover him just like the Lord runs to cover us, to protect us, and to hold us.
The father was waiting for his son to return home and the Lord will always wait for our return to Him. He will wait and he will seek us out with love and compassion in his heart, begging for us to receive him.
I was the prodigal son.
I am so undeserving of the grace that God lavishes upon me again and again. He restored me and he will restore everyone who lays their life at the foot of the cross.
In the dark times, the Lord is there speaking light. In the uncertainty, the Lord is there with the certainty of His promises. In life’s battles, He is our mighty warrior (Jeremiah 20:11).
So, as daughters of the King, we say amen because our God is so good and so faithful. He is in the business of making all things new.
-Kaity Bryant // @kaitybryant