"So instead of trying to repay you, I'm learning to simply obey You
by giving up my life to You
For all that You've given to me."--Laura Story, Grace
Over the past few months since Anah has joined our family, I've had to face the worst version of myself. The depth of my sin, my selfishness, my impatience, my self-righteousness and pride: I have had to face them all. There are many days when I just feel depressed because of how far short I fall from His righteousness.
A couple of weeks ago, my husband gifted me with a weekend alone. I knew I desperately needed to spend some unhurried time with Him. I also knew how completely unworthy I was to be in His presence. I couldn't plead my case. What could I say? All I could do was surrender to Him.
Throughout the weekend, He has shown me how often I have operated out of works. I grew up believing that I had to do or be smart, pretty, sophisticated, and fun to earn the love of others. Even though that's not true of others, and definitely not of God, I still operated that way. For good or ill, it has pushed me to keep working harder and longer, setting my standards higher and higher. I have believed that I need to keep striving in order to win His favor and grace. Even the adoption seemed to have a tinge of my own works righteousness wrapped up in it.
That day, the Lord brought Laura Story's song, Grace, to mind. As I listened to the words, I wept. I realized that He didn't want me to try to repay Him. I had been trying to do all I could to be good enough for His kingdom. And along the way, I also grew in pride. I thought that I was better than others because I kept doing harder and harder things.
In my reading of Genesis, I came across the story of Judah in the midst of the story of Joseph. I always wondered why Judah, the 4th born, was chosen. It was obvious he was not chosen because he was the firstborn. He was not chosen because of his stellar character or morals. I don't think he was even trying to earn his father's blessing. But when Joseph commanded Benjamin to be bound for "stealing" his golden cup, Judah could stay silent no longer. His impassioned plea for his brother's life showed that despite his birth order, despite his failures as a man, God saw something in him. And it was from his line that Jesus Himself was born. He chooses men and women not because of their status, their character, or their good works. He simply chooses them because He wants to.
Grace. God has always operated out of grace. He does not look more favorably on me because we have chosen to adopt. And neither does He scorn me for my failures that seem so very clear to me. Neither of these have any bearing on His love for me.
And so instead of working to earn His love, trying to prove my worth to Him and to others, I need to simply obey Him. When He speaks, I move. When He directs, I follow. In grace, there is security because I no longer have to work to earn favor. I am free to work hard for the pleasure of it, to further His kingdom and to bless others.
Thank You, Lord, for your gift of grace. I know that I don't deserve it. And maybe that's the point. I never will deserve it. Forgive me for my tarnished motives, my mistaken understanding that has led me down a path that is not true to Your calling for me. Teach me, even if it means over and over again, how to live by and in Your grace.
Video Credit: RockermomMSM on YouTube
Live performance in Pottersville, NY in 2012