“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great
and unsearchable things you do not know.”
I’m searching for answers today – praying that I find them. Praying today for grace and forgiveness because I am chef among those who don’t deserve it. Praying for restoration of broken relationships. For redemption of all things broken by my own hand. I lay these desperate words at the feet of the one who has answers to the unsearchable things…
I wrote those words a year ago this month. A small blurb posted on my Facebook page with that screenshot of my phone forever frozen at 3:33. We’ve all heard that Bono considers this God’s phone number; a reminder to ask for answers.
But what do you do when those answers don’t come? Or they aren’t the answers you were looking for? I don’t know.
I don’t have the certainty of faith I once did. I embraced it, but it flew in the face of who I was. A very black and white, there’s an answer for everything kind of girl. Of course we all know that’s not the way the world works. Throw in a works based faith teaching and I was done for. In the beginning, that was a program I could get behind wholeheartedly. Do the right things and the desires of my heart would be mine. But I quickly found I couldn’t do enough. Be enough.
I wasn’t enough to garner the favor of God.
It became a vicious cycle. Do the right things, say the right things and God would come through for me. When he didn’t, I was the one at fault. I didn’t have enough faith, wasn’t doing or saying the right things. So I would
ask beg for forgiveness and jump right back on the treadmill of trying to do and say and be good enough for God.
I worked so hard to be loved. To be worthy and cherished. But the work left me defeated and broken. I was so enamored of the law that I allowed the law to destroy me.
I never allowed room for Grace.
And now, at almost 54 years old, I see and understand there aren’t answers for everything. And that’s okay. Just because I call myself a Christian doesn’t mean that everything is wrapped up in this pretty little package. Life still happens. Bad things still happen. To me and to those I love.
Anne Lamott says it beautifully. “I do not understand the mystery of Grace –
only that it meets us where we are and does not leave us where it found us.”
Grace found me beaten and bloody, a slave to the law I loved. Did I let go of all I had known and embraced for so long to fall into the arms of Grace? Did I have the courage to face the fear of the unknown? To lean into the mystery?
I would love to tell you that it was and is easy. I’ve struggled more than I care to admit. At first, I was incredibly angry. Angry at those in the church that never allowed me to see the God of love when that was the God I needed the most. When I was at my most broken and Longing for Grace.
There have been moments when I was able to set that aside and allow myself to be pursued by this Grace, though those moments have been few and far between. More times than not, I have found myself mired in apathy. Not really caring one way or another if God ever existed at all. Much less loved and pursued me. It’s so much easier to believe that this isn’t true when life is not what I expected or wanted it to be.
I have also walked the tightrope between faith and disbelief. Teetering on the side of disbelief where it would have been so much easier to say that God didn’t exist at all. To walk away from faith. To walk away from God. I’ve wanted to. At times I have been so wounded that there’s no way to imagine that God exists, much less cares about me. If he did, why would theses things happen?
Yet there has always been something that has kept me from doing so. An inexplicable pull toward the sacred. An underlying hope that I see woven in the ordinary, everyday moments. I see the fingerprints of God all around me. He creates the Beauty in the Everyday so I can find that hope that keeps me on this side of that tightrope; to know that he is always there for me.
“Faith is a place of mystery, where we find the courage to believe in what we cannot see
and the strength to let go of our fear of uncertainty.”
Faith is a thing of mystery for sure. We can’t do enough or be enough to magically live a life of faith. It begins the moment we find the strength and the courage let go of our fear. To let go of all of our preconceived notions of what we think God wants us to be. To begin to understand that we are already enough simply because of who we are. And that in itself is a mystery. The fact that he sees so much more in me than I can fathom. That I am worthy of this gift. This grace that is freely given even to me.
I am finding, as I lean into the mystery and uncertainty, my faith is more tangible than it has ever been. As I move away from the constraints of the law, there is freedom to doubt, to question and to see him in the everyday, holy moments. To know he is always with me, especially in those hard moments. And to be okay with not having all the answers.
Here’s to a year of yielding to the mystery . . .
“I have tried to dissect the ways in which life wounds us, to construct some foolproof theological explanation, and I cannot. There is only mystery left, and if this is so, then being a follower of Christ must mean yielding to the mystery. In this, we are conformed to Christ’s garden likeness. And then, in that likeness, we can be agents of forgiveness, agents of reconciliation and healing.” Seth Haines ~ Coming Clean