So last week I said something dumb. I didn't mean to be unkind, but it came out rather harsh. One regrettable sentence.
It took me three days to forgive myself. Three days! I knew, immediately, that God answered my prayer for forgiveness, but the sense of freedom didn't permeate my mind, much less my heart. I felt like my soul had been drawn and quartered, my joy shackled, my spirit locked away in solitary confinement. About every thirty seconds from the time I woke up until the time I went to bed, I rehashed the incident, re-convicted myself. It was so exhausting that I fell asleep on the couch at 8:30 on Friday night. And slept for eleven hours.
It has been a long time since I've had an experience like that. And the thing is, when I looked to the face of the jailer, I saw myself, and just behind me, the enemy, the Accuser of the Saints, whispering hate into my ear, condemnation and distortion into my thoughts.
In retrospect, I'm grateful for two things. I'm grateful for God's grace, so even when I try, convict, and hang myself, he breathes new life into my spirit and reminds me that I am His. And I haven't the right to condemn one of His children, even myself. As many stones as I throw at the mirror, they will not destroy, because His grace wins. Always. Praise God!
Second, I am so grateful for His patience with me. Out of the whole scenario, I think the thing that God would change was my reaction. He would have me rest fully on His grace from the moment I spoke, onward. He would have me embrace the freedom He provides. It is by His grace that I finally turned the key in my own cell and released myself. And then He restored me again, bandaging the raw places, bathing the wounds, kissing away the tears.
I read in a devotional this morning that we can not disappoint God because to disappoint, you must fail to meet expectations. But, hello, God knows me better than even I do. He knows what to expect and is never surprised when I fail. Sure, He longs for better things for me, but He doesn't have an uninformed standard by which He checks my progress. He just walks with me.
My God, I have no words to capture the depth to which your grace touches me. Me, who doesn't even get it all the time. But the splendor of who you are is in that. In the un-gettable, unchangeable, beauty of your heart, the purity and strength and gentleness of your love, the boundless, relentless grace that emanates from you and falls lavishly upon your children. Overwhelm me again with your grace in every moment.