“As Is”

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I once heard someone say that God takes us “as is”.

Recently I was looking to replace my oven and I visited the ReStore to see if I could find a used one. The only one I found said “As-Is” and I immediately thought, “Nope.”  I have enough trouble with brand-new appliances, I’m certainly not going to purchase an “as-is” used one.

It is super easy to assume that an as-is anything is going to be greatly flawed, likely to break-down, and maybe even prove a useless purchase. Goodness knows, I’ve bought enough things at yard sales, thrift stores, and consignment shops to know the risks.

So when I heard that God takes me “as is,” I thought, “Isn’t that a bit risky?”

After all, I know all my malfunctioning parts. I know that I’m low on energy production and can tend to fizzle and spark when worked too hard. Sometimes I work quite well, other times not so much.  Oh my goodness! I’m my dishwasher.

Thankfully I love a God who takes risks, because if He didn’t there would be no way I’d get to be called His child!

I remember the moment I read Romans 5:6 for the first time…I don’t mean it was the first time I read it, but as my AP Literature students would say,  it was the first time I “read-read” it. (That means that you actually read it, you didn’t just say you read it when you actually skimmed it.)

“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.” Romans 5:6

And I remember underlining “at just the right time” with my blue pen. What a God way to do things. Not a moment too soon, not a moment too late. Just the right time. Love it.

Then I see two things about me that I can absolutely confirm…powerless and ungodly. That was me before Jesus…and when I don’t keep my focus on Him that’s how I can still sometimes feel.

What I love about that little gem of a verse is a beautiful reminder that at my worst, God still chose me. At my worst, Jesus still loved me enough to die for me. To DIE for me. Sometimes that just hits me like a ton of bricks.

Jesus took me as-is and made me His.

He didn’t get me inspected, require me to show him how well I worked, test out my skills, require a warranty agreement, have me sign a contract of promises. He didn’t ask me to do one little thing before He died for me.

He deemed me worth it before I even knew Him…before I loved him. And my worth? My worth is because He loves me.

“The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that  he swore to your fathers.” Deuteronomy 7:6-8

Amazing. The Lord set his love on us and chose us because He loves us. It’s a bit nutty. He loves us because He loves us. Which kind of makes sense because He is love, but still I love you because I love you seems a weird thing to say…but it’s true. God loves me because He made me to love…He just loves me.

It’s like how I feel about my children. I love them because they are. I love them because I was made to love them.

God loves me because I’m His child…He wasn’t made to love me, I was made to be loved by Him.  

Loved As Is.

Me and all my stuff…my storage unit of stuff.

Believe me, I am not a bargain. No end to my issues, fears, anxious thinking, and bad habits. I’m no longer bright and shiny, if I ever was, and I’m rather temperamental especially when exhausted and weary.

And yet God shows up and says, “She’s the one I want! Wrap her up! I’m taking her home!”

Wrap me up in Christ’s righteousness and make me your own, Lord!

I’m so glad it isn’t about me. (How funny that there are so many times in life I want things to be about me and this time, not so much!) It isn’t about being worthy of love…it is simply about being loved.

Simply about being His child…chosen, loved, precious..as is.

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!  1 John 3:1a

Repeat Offender…Me

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Isn’t it just the way…when you start talking a lot about something, it becomes something big in your life?  Even if it already was a big thing.

I’ve been really blessed to share a lot about my story lately.  And a big part of my story is forgiveness.  I can’t overemphasis its importance in my life.

Apparently, God doesn’t want me to forget it…forgiveness for me and forgiveness for others.

Today I woke up feeling such a burden to pray…to ask for forgiveness.  I have struggled with many things over the past several years.  I seem to continually struggle with the same dumb things over and over and over again.  I do the same thing repeatedly and feel like God must be getting tired of my requests for forgiveness.  I don’t understand how He couldn’t weary of me.  And yet, I know that He never tires of my repentance even if it is for the same repeated offense.

I wonder…

Do I offer that kind of forgiveness…ever? 

There are 5 other people in my family.  Five people to forgive and be forgiven by.  What do I teach my children about forgiveness?

I know they know that it’s important.  But what about when it’s a repeated offense?  I don’t think I’ve taught that one well.

I have a child that tends toward lying.  Absolutely heartbreaking.  This child, who I’ll call Repeat Offender, is quick to ask forgiveness when there’s no way around it.  A few days ago Repeat Offender said, “I’m sorry Mom. Please forgive me.”  And I said, “Yeah, I forgive you, but seriously how many times are you gonna do this?  It’s kinda hard to believe your repentance is real when I know you are just gonna do it again.”

Did I seriously say that to my child?

I mean I know it’s a valid question to some degree…but not a valid SPOKEN question to a child!  I said out loud to Repeat Offender what I pray God never says to me, an absolute repeat offender.  At 40-something (ahem) I find myself still struggling with so much I thought I’d be past by now.  I’m so disappointed with myself. 

How could I deny forgiveness to anyone?  I need so much of it myself.

The Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him?  As many as seven times?’  Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.”  Matthew 18:21-22

I’m so Peter. 

“So Jesus, let’s be serious here.  How many times do I really need to forgive someone?  You know when they keep doing the same thing over and over, it’s like 7 times right?  That’s pretty generous.”

And Jesus, He just basically says, “As many times as it takes.”

Drat.  Really?  Because sometimes that is sooooo difficult.  I mentioned Repeat Offender, but seriously, my ex-husband challenges me the most.  The residual of his original offense makes forgiveness a constant battle.  I keep having to practice forgiveness.  I keep having to say, “I forgive” even when I KNOW that tomorrow there is likely going to be another thing to forgive. 

 And yet, that’s me too.  Like Peter, Repeat Offender, and my ex-husband, I need to receive a healthy dose of forgiveness daily.  I think I’m realizing I also need to offer it. 

I’m so thankful that God isn’t like me.  I’m so glad He keeps no record of wrong.

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.  As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.  Psalm 103:11-13

That measurement…as far as the east is from the west…that’s not even a measurement.  How do you measure that? 

God is so good.  I wish I was worthy of His love the way I want to be.  I know that I don’t have to be worthy of it or earn it.  I know that it is free.  I know that He died for me before I could even request saving…before I even knew I needed saving. 

“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.”  Romans 5:6

He loves us with more compassion and grace than I can comprehend.

Relentlessly.

God forgives me so much every day.  May I be able to offer that blessed gift to all who ask for it and even those who don’t.

“… for I will forgive their iniquity and I will remember their sin no more.”  Jeremiah 31:34