Monday, November 11, 2013

When will I be done?

I'm always working on projects.
Picking up old stuff and making it new. Start to finish can take anywhere between an hour and 8 months. It depends on my mood and if something is going on internally that I'm wrestling with. I'm glad I don't have many deadlines related to painting.
Yes I work on things for other people and I'm guilty of calling friends sometimes to say, "Please-anything, give me something to change or redo. For the love I'm out of stuff in my own house and I'm desperate." Usually they are happy to share.
A long time ago, (long, long,) I told the Lord "yes" when He told me He wanted me. I could easily believe that He wanted and needed me. I mean, I was so lovable. So full of perfection and excitement for Him. So full of life and joy and ideas for showing off I mean showing Him off. I was a heap of pride and I was proud of it. He could've told me to go save countries and I'd have been on board because I saw my great potential.
It's bad enough to think any of that but why tell you, show you where my heart really was? Why not shoot straight-I've got little patience with lots of things y'all know that. Telling you how great I was, (actually how great I thought I was,) shows you a weakness that I'm willing to expose. It's a downfall of mine and I've hated it for a long time. I'm tired of struggling with grace and feeling like I can decide who deserves it.
The methods and struggles God has used and allowed, (in that order,) to show me grace are numerous. He had to get real with me because I didn't pick up on subtle lessons. Strip me of what I was always most proud of, that's what He had to do.
Know what that was? What I was most proud of?
I'm grossing myself out and I know where I'm headed with this y'all. I can only imagine what you must be thinking.
I was a good girl. Never broke rules, (except that one time I wrote my geometry teacher a mean note telling him I wouldn't have cheated on the test if he'd been a better teacher and I wouldn't have HAD TO CHEAT.) Shout out Coach Forrester! He sent that letter back to me a few years ago. Bless his heart. So there's that. Well and the actual cheating I guess. I'm sure I did more than that and if I grew up with you feel free to comment and spill it. Go ahead.
I dare you. Ha!
Ok so I was a good girl. Didn't drink, didn't sneak out, didn't date anyone my parents didn't like, didn't disappoint my parents, and dedicated my life to Christ immediately following high school graduation at summer camp. I was the poster child goody-two-shoes. I wanted approval and everyone to like me, not even just approve. I wanted attention and glory. Boy I was a finely knit masterpiece just waiting to unravel.
So He did what He had to do.
He started allowing some unravelling.
First it was through relationships. Loss, confusion, anger, pain. Ouch.
Then it was my future. Where it once looked secure it was suddenly a mystery. Ministry seemed so cut and dry. I'd lead by example and win people to Christ based on my solid reputation for being perfect. But I wasn't good at it.
Then it was my family. My perfect family. Not perfect. Restored by the grace of God and nothing else I'm very proud to say. (See I can be proud of what God does there's nothing wrong with that. He deserves all glory for restoration. He always did.) I'm getting ahead of myself though..
So after relationships, future, and family came lots of other stuff. College dang near killed me. It was so hard for me to care about school. It was hard to make good grades because I couldn't focus. Shocker. I loved meeting people and going country dancing. In some ways college was the best camp ever complete with dorm room fun. But the school part dampened my college experience. I called home after two weeks and told Mom, "This is the best place ever but I'd like it a lot more if I didn't have to go to class." I was there to win souls y'all! Win souls and two-step! Not go to class!
I wasn't as smart as my siblings which is no news to those of you we grew up with. They are both brilliant. Book smart, great study habits, great discipline. Then, well, there's me. I like to talk and have fun. I never felt smart and kind of hid behind the fact that I had more friends than Graham and Emmy had. I played that up so I wouldn't feel so bad about my grades. First semester of college we threw a party after calling in to get my grades. I passed. That was the party. I passed! Yippeeeee!! My brother? All A's. In finance classes at A & M. He probably took 16 hours and made all A's. 99's and 100's sometimes. Emmy was in grad school then and made all A's too. Every time. After a quick "What the heck," reaction from them they joined in the celebration though. MARY PASSED!! SHE'S GONNA GET TO STAY!! AND DANCE AND MEET PEOPLE!!
So that was that. I volunteered at Breakaway, the big on-campus Bible study there. I loved it. I especially loved being on the discipleship team that got to sit down front so everybody could see them. Bleh. (I know, I know I'm a sick person. I agree.) You know what I didn't like? When they transferred me to the "support" ministry. I worked in the office and messed lots of stuff up. Calls, messages, faxes, CD's, I messed it all up. I was a joke, in more ways than I even realized at the time. I was terrible at behind the scenes ministry. I wanted to be up front! Not in an office showing my inability to do anything administrative! Come on God get with the program!
He didn't care about my program.
You getting it? He cared about my ugly prideful heart. That's ALL He cared about.
I'm running out of time today to tell you more about the ins and outs of how He's shown me and is currently showing me grace but there's one more thing to say.
I'm ready for Him to be done so I can just go home with Him. This stuff is painful. Maybe I'm so hard-hearted that He will leave me here learning a whole lot longer and for my kids' sake I hope I am here. In my heart, though, I just want Him. I want Him all the time and I need Him all the time. All I've learned these past 34 years is that I screw it up and I am not gonna figure it out on my own. Even the goody two shoes I was couldn't win souls and show people what He's really about. It's me screwing it all up, dealing with pain and watching people suffer that shows me--us--that we need Him, that gives Him glory. So rather than deal with disappointment and ugliness and shame and greed forever I'd prefer to be home with Him but maybe that's the biggest thing He's been needing from me. Dependence on Him for air, for healing. Dependence on Him for love. For grace. For trust and patience.
Just a little something I wanted to admit today.
I don't get it Lord. When will I be done learning? When will You be done with me, your ADD goody two shoes wounded and confused follower? Will You finish me, your project, soon so I can just sit back and relax? Lord we both know You won't. Just give me You today, Lord. Give me You to help me deal with this crud. I can't do this without You. I'm sorry for ever trying to and for the pride I so often use against You. Heal me as only You can. I love You and will never understand what You see in me to keep fighting for me. Show me, Lord how to show grace. Show me where to comfort. Show me and teach me how to lift people up today. Amen.


Iris said...

Well, sweet Mary!! I hate to break your bubble about there being an "end" to the changes that have to take place to be MORE LIKE JESUS! I'm 77 and He still has a full-time job working on me :( HOWEVER, it's much better than "being perfect" in my own eyes. It's wonderful to KNOW He loves me in spite of myself.
Love you, Iris

Sappington said...

Sanctification is a tough process. I'm with you girl. :) My children make me realize how "not like" Jesus I really am.

For the record, I thought you were fun and SMART in college.

Emmy said...

Mary, for the record, you are NO LESS INTELLIGENT than Graham or I! G & I are logically driven, and you are feeling/intuition driven. It is different, but not LESS!

You have social & emotional intelligence that we will never have.

Unknown said...

Love this post. I can sooo relate. God has been working overtime with me and growing pains are just not fun sometimes. I just read another blog that referenced this verse "Being confident in this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Pilippians 1:6. Amazing...