I grew up a “church rat” who knew all the rules, the expectations, the politics of church, and could never live up to it all.
I am a sinner. And I always have been. I was a sinner back then, and I knew it. I’m a sinner now, and there’s no denying it.
The difference is that now, I realize that my Father loves me unconditionally, right in the middle of my mess. Men tried to regulate my life with rules, but God has done nothing but compel me with His grace.
Abruptly Jesus broke into prayer: “Thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth. You’ve concealed your ways from sophisticates and know-it-alls, but spelled them out clearly to ordinary people. Yes, Father, that’s the way you like to work.”Matt. 11: 25-26
It took about twenty years to finally grasp the concept that there is nothing I can ever say or do that will cause God to love me any more or any less than He always has.
He is constant.
And He’s willing to get messy.
Bill Cosby once said, “You get your hands dirty with the kids you love”. God is that way. Willing to get down in the pig slop with me, the forever prodigal, and love me with no strings attached.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matt. 11: 28-30
I had worn myself out, trying to please men.
Trying to satisfy my own perfectionist nature left me empty, secluded, and feeling like a failure. It wasn’t until I realized the Father’s heart that I found true healing. It wasn’t until I had an encounter with Messy Grace, that I realized I am God’s and He is mine, and NOTHING will ever change that.
Grace isn’t always beautiful and pristine like a stained glass window or a gold cross necklace.
Sometimes Grace is Messy.