May 4, 2016

a busy season / blessing the hard ones

Its a busy season in the Winn household, I'm tired. Anyone who has moved knows how much work it entails, its not just the buying of the supplies, the packing, the details of where to live, selling a house, renting a house, etc. it's also the emotional piece. Its hard for B to watch her room get packed away for strangers to come traipsing through, its hard to say goodbye to beloved friends who are like family, its hard to leave a home because, it was your home. As someone who has been on a quest for home for years, and who is passionate about making my surroundings home, this is hard for me. As eager as I am to get to my real home, I've poured my blood, sweat, and tears into our cottage here and there is a part of me that is sad to see it go. Our house officially went on the market yesterday, so that means its been a flurry of cleaning, home repairs (aka: money disappearing), realtor meetings, photographer/drone photos, runs to good will, etc.. Its just a lot. In addition to this, I nanny a couple days a week, we've had company in town from Waco, my mom flies in tomorrow, open houses this weekend, etc. -all good things, just a lot. Sorry, don't want to complain, this is minor in the grand scheme, but it also helps to explain my quiet little blog. :)

In the midst of all of this God continues to work on my heart and bring peace, and remind me of what really matters in this life and of the person He wants me to be. There have been a couple poignant things that have left a mark and as I've stated numerous times, when something strikes me I share it here b/c you never know what someone else might need to hear. My pastor (who I can now quit referring to as being my "Waco pastor" b/c..well, we kinda live there now :) has really challenged me lately by his example and I want to share those instances here. Shortly before we moved from Waco my pastor (and his family) moved into a house across the street from ours, it was SO great having them as neighbors and I was so sad to move so soon after this came to be. Well, as anyone who lives on our street in Waco knows, its spotty. To be fair, Waco is pretty spotty but our old street is definitely spotty. All that to say, several friends of ours who live(d) on our street, have been broken into. This is a sad reality of Waco, there is a lot of poverty, and break ins are not uncommon in certain areas. No one wants to hurt anybody (generally speaking), most breaks ins happen during the day when the home owners are obviously gone, and electronics and jewelry are stolen, and it is typically just items stolen, no damage done to the house. Well, about a week ago my pastor was broken into, big sigh. I hate that this happened to their family, no one ever deserves to be broken into and to be violated in that way (speaking from experience {not in Waco}) and they joined the ranks of that brokenness. I say all of this to get to the point of Josh's response. Josh posted on facebook a letter to the people who broke into his home, he said how sorry he was that they were in a place to do that and he wondered if they also had 4 kids like he did and if they were desperate for a way to support them? He explained that he contributes to the world's brokenness himself and that he too needs forgiveness. He explained that as a pastor he often preaches love and forgiveness but that he has often wondered if he is full of shit, as it's one thing to teach obedience and another to act on it. He thanked them for giving him the chance to essentially put his money where is mouth is. He goes on to say that he is tasked with forgiving something small like stealing, but how hard life is for many people who really know suffering, and how he has been taught by people who really suffer that with great suffering comes great grace. He goes on to say that the more he thinks about them (the thieves) the more compassion he feels for them, and he goes on to remind them that they are loved by God and they are fearfully and wonderfully made and that although it is doubtful they will ever read his post, its important to bless them because that matters.

WHOA right?! I'm not sure how you can encounter something like that and not have it change you. If you know Josh like I do, you know he isn't trying to be all "look how good I am," but rather, he is trying to really live out the gospel he preaches each week. He is putting his money where is mouth is, he is choosing to be better because that is what Jesus calls us to do. Whether you've been in church your whole life or not, we've all heard the "love your enemies" bit, right? But you know the part where it says to pray for those who persecute you? To bless them? Man, talk about taking it to another level! HOLY COW THIS CHRISTIAN LIFE STUFF IS NO JOKE! I tried this recently, I tried to pray for and bless someone who has really hurt me, it was really, really hard. I was talking with the Lord about it and trying to be really honest and transparent with where my heart was and the reality of if the person I was praying for knew how much she was really loved by Jesus and if that really penetrated her heart, it would change her-it would heal her. You see, hurt people -hurt people, and I know this person is really hurting, that isn't even a question, but when you set aside your hurt for a minute and actually bless your enemy - something transformative happens. You begin to see them more as God sees them, and not how you do. God doesn't love this person any less than he loves me, I'm just as much a sinner in my own right, and that is a hard truth to ignore. Forgiving your enemies is surely one thing, praying for them and actually praying blessing for them, I assure you is entirely another. Man, its hard.

I recently had someone say to me "Man, you're a better person than I am!" in reference to me doing something to better understand someone who has hurt me, and it made me pause, because the real truth is, I'm not better (even though I like to think that I am). I remember 15 years ago during our small group when I was talking passionately about grace and my friend said something like "I guess I've just thought about grace being so important for the 'really bad sinners' (I'm paraphrasing here) so I've never thought of it so much as it applies to me" and I remember saying "We ARE those really bad sinners, we are the worst ones and that is the point!" The truth is, sin is sin and we are no better and no worse than anyone else and Jesus died just as much for me as he did the murderer and the thief. When you have that "aha" moment where you realize you are no better, and you're just as messed up as "the worst" that is when you realize what grace really is, and the words "to whom much is given, much is expected" start to really resonate. Those who have been forgiven much, need to forgive much. I have been forgiven much, so I have no choice but to forgive much -that is grace of which I have been freely given and I need to freely extend. And its really, really hard. But this is the gospel message, folks, this is the good news that Jesus came with and for and it is life changing. When people tell me they know there is no God I almost just have to laugh -these things don't.just.happen. People don't forgive wrongdoers and bless them just because -that is God work, and it's as real as the air we breathe. xo

1 comment:

Robin said...

I don't even know how to tell you how much I appreciate this blog.