Tag Archives: Third Day

The Whole Story

In 1994, Jesus saved my soul, but in September 2014, he saved my mind.  I posted the story as a 6-part “series”, but I want to respect your time.  I know you probably can’t sit down and read the whole thing, so I included a line about each part below.  Please feel free to read whatever jumps out at you.

Here are all of the parts, including the “prologue” and the “afterword”, in order:

Prologue: Urgent Questions/Deepest Needs (this is VERY long – please feel free to skip it)

#1: Redeemed – Part 1 (where it all began – Beth Moore & Third Day on 9-13-14)

#2: Redeemed – Part 2 – He’s Greater (God speaks thru coupon codes & MercyMe songs)

#3: Two “churchy” words (what Dave W & Chris Z taught me about “sin” and “repent”)

#4: The Tyranny of the “Should” (trying to “pay back” Jesus for all he’s done for me)

#5: The Face of Grace (Do you think God is angry with you?  Check this out)

#6: Reconciling Wrath (“Good God” or “Wrathful God” – will the real God please stand up?)

Afterword: Moment by Moment (what does it mean to “Let Go and Let God”?)

If you remember my very first blog post from July 16th, “If they asked me, I could write a book“, I think this “series” could be the beginning of that book.  If any of this speaks to you, I would be so honored if you would share it with others.

Just a side-note.  If you’re reading this on a desktop or laptop computer, you can probably see links to all of my other blog posts along the righthand side of the screen.  However, if you’re on a phone or a tablet, the links probably don’t show up.  But if you scroll to the bottom of the post, you can most likely get to newer posts to the right and older posts to the left (it should give you the title and an arrow to click on).  I’ve also included a link at the bottom of each post to bring you to the next one.

Thank you so very much and happy reading!

The Tyranny of the “Should” (Part 4)

My last post about Two “churchy” words presupposes one important point: do you want to turn to God?  What if you don’t?  What if you think He’s royally angry with you?  I was very thankful that Jesus had saved me, but I had this nagging feeling that he really didn’t want to.

“Look at all that Jesus has done for you.”  I could see God looking at me, slowly shaking His head back and forth, disappointed that I hadn’t done more to pay him back.

I sang the words to the hymn, “Jesus paid it all, all to him I owe,” and I believed it heart and soul.  I owe, I owe, so off to work I go.  If I could just be good enough, somehow achieve perfection on my own, maybe I could pay him back.  If I could just be a “good girl”, maybe I could earn God’s love on my own.

I was absolutely positive that I deserved death and hell, but that by some stroke of luck, I received God’s grace instead.  I had a “get out of hell free” card, I had good “fire insurance”, and the only reason God didn’t incinerate me was because Jesus took my place.

Switchfoot’s album Fading West includes a song called “The World You Want” that hits me on so many levels.  It starts out with these words:

I’m kickin up the pieces
I’m trying out adhesives
I’m trying to fix a place that feels broken

Over the last 20 years, I’ve done countless Bible studies, attended countless conferences and retreats, read countless books, trying to fix the place that feels broken.  It’s kept me going.  I get a little piece of the puzzle and I feel better for a little while.  Like being on a treasure hunt.  But it doesn’t last and I need to find another piece.

I found a BIG piece of the puzzle in 2013.  My next blog post, The Face of Grace, will be about that discovery.  But even that wasn’t enough to keep me above water.  I’ve spent so many years feeling that I owe everyone and that I can never adequately pay anyone back, it all feels hopeless.  It feels like nothing I do makes any difference at all.

The Switchfoot song goes on to say:

Is this the world you want?
You’re making it
Every day you’re alive

You change the world
Every day you’re alive

I don’t like how I’m changing the world.  It’s really icky.  And if I wanted to change it for the good, how can I if I owe everything to everyone and I don’t have the energy to keep it up anymore?  It’s too exhausting and I don’t have it in me to keep fighting the fight.

On September 12, 2014, just ONE day before the “redeemed” weekend, I wrote this in my journal (along with more words from “The World You Want”):

“The Tyranny of the “Should”

I waste so much energy trying to decide what I “should” do. I get all tied up in knots, wondering if I don’t do this, how will it affect that? If I don’t take the air compressor to the store right now and with a good attitude, what bad thing will happen to me today? Will John get stuck at work and not be able to go to the wedding with me? Will tomorrow get completely ruined and he won’t be able to go to the Third Day concert? I better be a good girl, put on a happy face and do what I “should” do.

You start to look like what you believe
What you say is your religion
How you say it’s your religion
Who you love is your religion
How you love is your religion
–Switchfoot’s “The World You Want”

What do I believe? I believe that I better be a good girl and make good decisions, or bad things are going to happen. That’s my religion. What I say and how I say it is my religion. Who I love and how I love is my religion….  If I feel like I owe you something, I don’t know how to function. I don’t know how much is enough. I feel like I owe God. And there is no way I can pay him back. Why would I want others to accept him as their Lord and Savior? Then they’ll owe him too. Why would I do that to other people?”

I finished writing this at 10:49am, just as an email came in from someone I had written to on August 31st, twelve days earlier.  She chose exactly that moment to write back to me.  Or did God choose that exact moment?  It was a beautiful, encouraging email and all I could think was, “How is it that the Lord loves me so that He sends people like this to me?  I don’t deserve that kind of love.”

Click here for Part 5

Redeemed – Part 2 – He’s Greater

Here’s Part 1, in case you’re just joining us.

That was Monday, September 15th. All day long, as thoughts came into my head, I kept saying out loud, or under my breath if need be, “Jesus redeemed that!”. I felt lighter and lighter each time I said it and I was struck by how often I was saying it. I had no idea I was carrying so much guilt and shame. It reared its ugly head, I spoke, and the Cross wiped it away. Over and over and over again, all day long.

The morning of Tuesday, September 16th was not what I had expected.  I had hoped to get a few things accomplished and checked off my list, but that was not to be.  Nothing bad, just constant, one thing after another, and I was getting frustrated.  I knew that “Jesus redeemed that” frustration, but it was getting a little nutty.

Facebook chimed that I had a message.  It wasn’t a good message.  My friend was very upset.  I tried to encourage her and let her know that Jesus had redeemed everything that she was dealing with and all of the emotions that were screaming at her.  I hoped that my words were encouraging, but I didn’t know if she believed me.  I had to move on to my next task.  I needed to make an on-line donation for Joshua’s homeroom classroom. If we donated by September 17th and included the word “Inspire” as a coupon code, a matching donor would double his donation. I put in the coupon code and this popped up:

“Redeemed! INSPIRE: $9.00 match activated.”

I screamed and almost jumped out of my chair!  I couldn’t believe it said “REDEEMED”!  Instead of jumping out of my chair, I jumped back onto Facebook to chime my friend’s iPad with a message, straight from Heaven, just for her.  It’s all going to be okay.  Jesus redeemed it all!

Then came Wednesday, September 17th. I had dropped off both kids at school that morning and was driving home listening to Smile FM. “God of Wonders” by Third Day was on and I sang along, remembering them singing it at the concert on Saturday. I pulled in the garage and was about to turn the car off when “Greater” by MercyMe came on next. I’d never heard this song on the radio before, but they played it at the concert Saturday night. I turned off the car, but left the radio on and listened to “Greater”.

From the first word to the last, I sobbed like I have never sobbed in my life.  But these weren’t tears of guilt, shame and self-pity.  These were tears of gratefulness with no strings attached.  And when the song was over, I didn’t feel that awful “I just cried and now I need to take a nap” feeling.  I felt clean.  Really clean.  All that “ick” was washed away.

I have so much more I could write here, but instead I will leave you with the words of “Greater”.

“Greater” by MercyMe

Bring your tired
Bring your shame
Bring your guilt
Bring your pain
Don’t you know that’s not you’re name
You will always be much more to me

Every day I wrestle with the voices
That keep telling me I’m not right
But that’s alright

‘Cause I hear a voice and He calls me redeemed
When others say I’ll never be enough
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world
In the world
In the world
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world

Bring your doubts
Bring your fears
Bring your hurt
Bring your tears
There’ll be no condemnation here
You are holy, righteous and redeemed

Every time I fall
There’ll be those who will call me
A mistake
Well that’s ok

There’ll be days I lose the battle
Grace says that it doesn’t matter
‘Cause the cross already won the war
He’s Greater
He’s Greater

I am learning to run freely
Understanding just how He sees me
And it makes me love Him more and more
He’s Greater
He’s Greater

Crank up the volume and dance! 🙂

Click here for Part 3