Friday, December 30, 2011

A Sinner's Look at 2012

Christmas and New Year’s. On our calender they happen within a week of each other, and we associate them like peanut butter and jelly. Bacon and eggs. Kids and chaos. Chocolate and….more chocolate.

It’s a birth, and a new beginning.

When Jesus was born, He came to give all the outcasts of the world a new beginning. And from the time His public ministry began, He went out of His way to break every barrier the law had made between God and imperfect humanity.

Jesus made a point to personally touch every person forbidden by God’s law to enter the temple and God’s presence. Women. Gentiles. Lepers. Blind people. Prostitutes. Beggars. Murderers.
It’s a good time to remember this, when on any given day I’m in several of these categories.

I’m always a woman. Always a Gentile. I’ve been a divorcee for the past five years which in certain company kinda feels like being a leper. On some days I’m blind to how I hurt others. Occasionally I’m just a single gal who is really tired of celibacy and not always pure in her thoughts. When I don’t turn to Him to meet all my needs the way I should, I’m definitely an emotional beggar. And when I let anger get the better of me, my unkind words bring death.
But He has broken down the barrier between my daily sins and my relationship with God. He reaches out and touches me on my worst days.

I’d like to think 2012 is a fresh start. But in reality, I’m sure it is going to be another year of needing grace and forgiveness for my sins on a daily basis.

So I’m glad for this reminder that comes as we celebrate Christmas and New Year’s one week apart. Because I’m sure that by one week into the birth of 2012, I’m going to need the grace of another new beginning. And another and another.

Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

In the Month of my Not-Wedding-Anniversary

“If you could go back in time and not get married and have kids, would you?”

I froze, and my heart stopped for a full three beats. This is not the kind of question I wanted to hear from the mouth of one of my beautiful and intelligent offspring, product of a painful marriage that ended in divorce.

I believe in telling the truth. I also believe in protecting my children from hurtful things whenever possible. These two mandates were now at cross purposes.

Or were they?

My mind spun back light years to the person I was before I got married. I imagined the life I would have had, untouched by years of abuse and betrayal. I would be happier, but infinitely more shallow.

I imagined my life without all the exposure I had to hypocrisy in many people and places around the world. I would be more trusting, but less discerning.

I imagined my life without three pregnancies and deliveries. I would be less scarred, but also less sympathetic as a midwife.

I imagined my life without my three remarkable children. I would have much more freedom, but I would be more selfish and more lonely, less patient and less understanding.

I imagined my life without a marriage that put me on my face in desperation before God. I would be more proud, more thinking I was living the life I deserved, less broken, less intimate with the One who has also suffered, and less able to comfort others in their sufferings.

I imagined all these things in less than a minute while my daughter waited for her answer.

And I took a deep breath, smiled, and answered truthfully, “I can’t imagine my life without you.”