Trading Heaviness for Light

by | Apr 6, 2012 | Five Minute Friday

I had to stop reading blogs yesterday.  All the stories about doing for Lent, they dumped a truckload of guilt on my heart. I wore the shoulds around like wet clothes dripping tears of regret.

And didn’t I just write about that word earlier this week?

Jump in the waters of accusation fully clothed when I got the phone call asking why I didn’t make the hair appointment I was looking forward to and had wrong in my calendar. Because after all, your calendar isn’t really that full and you’ve just messed up the schedule of the person who makes you look good.

Then soaked again after another phone call, with the doctor about my son who lays sick on the couch for six days now. Her questions that reveal my oversight.  After all, a mother holds the wand of perfection, doesn’t she?

Then when I can’t remember the last name of the girl I mentor as I check in at the high school, holding the lunch from Sonic I’m not even sure she will like. Because you should know more about her after meeting that one time for forty-five minutes in the library of pizza and conversation.

I drip condemnation onto the wooden chair and the dirty blue carpet, surrounded by ancient monitors and dusty classroom projects under dim fluorescent, waiting for the girl and wondering.  In my ineptness, what  do I have to give this girl with the sandy shores of need?

A cacophony of voices shout melodies of accusation and I finally lay it all out on the bed in a dark room as thunder cracks open, adding its eery to my heavy sighs. Watch rain spit on window and birds huddle under leafy branches like crouching in the basement under sirens warning.

As the rain falls in sheets that sheer the view on Maundy Thursday, I duck under eaves, run into church, to remember His sacrifice. Remember His last meal before the day of betrayal, accusation, pain, suffering and death.

And as I take His body broken for me, dip it in the cup of His blood, I chew on the conviction that I am not measured by what I do, but the grace I accept.

That living in the light of faith, is discovered by wrestling in the dark.

And my soggy heart of sin will never outweigh his love for me.

That knowledge is the sweet harmony misting over me today.  I see it, the light peeking through on the horizon.  Sunday is coming in all her illuminated light glory.

Ring the bells that still can ring.
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything.
That’s how the light get in.
~Leonard Cohen

What are you carrying today that you can lay at his feet and trade for grace?

Linking with Lisa-Jo for Five Minute Friday and a bit more today with the one word prompt: Light . Because on this Good Friday, there is bit more to ponder.

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  1. Amy L. Sullivan (@AmyLSullivan1)

    Sometimes I have to unplug because of what you say in your first paragraph…thankfully, my “soggy heart of sin” finds nothing, but his love for me too.

    Always, always inpsired here.

    Hope your son is feeling better.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Amy, I thought it was conviction I was feeling until I processed with my husband and got the big aha that it was actaully condemnation. He is good at helping me see clear. As Christians, we are good at doing more than being. It makes us feel more acceptable. I fell right into that trap.

      • Jen Ferguson

        I am thankful for those moments where God gently shows us the difference between condemnation and conviction. I love how He will not stand for us to be under the enemy’s grip.

        • Redemption's Beauty

          so thankful for rescue that comes in the perspective of a Godly man Jen! Thanks for joining in here.

  2. Laura

    Blogs can encourage and heap guilt at the same time. Good, encouraging posts about things others do …meant to encourage can have the opposite effect. In fretting about whether or not I was doing enough, making the right choices for my girls, a wise mother looked at me and said, “Laura, they know you love them. They know you love God. That is enough. God will do the rest.” A true statement for all our relationships. Rest and restore this weekend friend.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      My husband said something similar to me last night Laura, when I processed everything swirling around in my head. He said, “I know more pastors kids that aren’t following Christ because of all the things they expected them to “do”.” And we didn’t grow up that way, he and I. We didn’t have devotions and special meals to talk about Christ. He finds us, we don’t find Him in the doing. And then I remembered my son’s FB post last week after youth group. How awesome he said it was. When a friend asked why, he said, “because we learn about God.”

  3. kd sullivan

    Oh, how I can relate…to never being good enough, and wanting to be so badly! Don’t let regret slap you in the face dear friend…

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Yep Kim, having to take my own medicine aren’t I? Thanks sweet friend. Appreciate your love and prayers.

  4. Sarah Koci Scheilz

    Friend, yes. Thanks for words that comforted me today.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Nice to hear from you Sarah, grateful for comfort today too!

  5. Tereasa

    “I am not measured by what I do, but the grace I accept”
    Beautiful words for one who needs constant reminding. It seems that rain pours over my sheets more than it should. Thank you for the honest encouragement today!

    I have been quiet lately, working on a new home for my blog. Won’t you please stop by and say hello?

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Glad my honesty was encouraging to you. Sometimes walking around naked in my words here is uncomfortable but your words make it worth it. I’m popping over to see your new digs right now.

  6. Mary Witt

    Her words were an echo from my heart…thank you!!

  7. waterthecamels

    I am not measured by what I do, but the grace I accept.

    Wow! Were you looking over my shoulder during devotions this morning? Thank you for affirming a message the Father gave me this morning. All I do is in His name, for His glory. My life is not lived for the praise of man, nor to attain the appearance of holiness. Even His grace in my life is meant to bring Him glory.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      And the grace for me Jody, is that he took me to that dark place to show me how much he loves me, that this journey of faith is all about accepting that. It’s really the message of Lent isn’t it? And I love it when that over the shoulder thing with God happens. So glad this was a sacred echo for you. Means He brought us together for a reason and that makes me smile.

  8. Kelly

    It AMAZES me how when someone (you, in this case, Shelly) chooses to “strip naked” before others, it always brings freedom to everyone else. We can all relate, and the impulse to hide our inner struggles keeps everyone in bondage. Thanks for your constant bravery. Many mornings it has nourished me!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Kelly, the stripping is uncomfortable for sure and I have to wrestle it out of me but it is the reason I write actually. I hope that I strip everything off of me, so that the only thing left is Jesus. I am so thankful for your words Kelly, they make me teary happy.

  9. Dea

    One day I want to wake up and live the grace life all day. I want to live with condemnation, guilt, and regret. I cast grace aside so easily for lesser things. Then I find myself again wrestling in the dark and finding the Light and I realize that I do live in grace all day. The grace-life is my destiny. It was my past. It is my present. It will be my future.

    Thankful for this grace place.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Dea, think you are in good company. Its why our hearts long for heaven. We can’t do this by trying.

  10. deidrariggs

    Last night, at Maundy Thursday services, H told us to tear off a big hunk of communion bread – something we could chew on. It was good instruction. It made me stand there in front of the communion table and pay attention. I needed that, because I have turned into a grumpy, crabby, irritated mess here at the end of Lent.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Oh my goodness, you made me laugh – only because I can relate. Grumpy is a good word to describe me yesterday. And a few others. Just love you!

  11. Elizabeth

    Love to you, love to your sweet sweet spirit. Bless your pen and your paper for they
    are treasures and they bless me and as you can read others. Honest , real, authentic, you. We see Jesus. We do. You point us always and every time to a redeeming, loving God.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Elizabeth, you are too kind my friend. You do this too with your words. You honor him well.

  12. youaremygirls

    Amy, the hiding, the ducking, the listening to sirens scream and watching rain fall– yes, we feel this self-condemnation deep in our bones. And He reaches in and redeems all the brokenness, the self-deprecation. I weep at the truth that I am beautiful to Him, truly. And we are, and I am so grateful for your beautiful vulnerability and using the words He’s given to shine His light today. Bless you this Easter!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Yes he does. And I am once again humbled to obedience. Because I love him so. Thanks for your rich words Dawn.

  13. Samantha Kelley

    Wow. The words you spill in 5 minutes amaze me! Great post!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      It was a bit longer today truthfully. Felt like. Lisa Jo gave us a little liberty today in her post.

  14. Cristal

    “That living in the light of faith, is discovered by wrestling in the dark.” I had not thought of this until reading it so clearly here. We assume dark is bad. We assume dark is punishment. But, it is there I have grown and discovered the depth and richness of the light of faith.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      It was an inspired thought by a book I am reading. But most of our tranformation comes from hard places of wrestling I think. Well, at least for me anyway. Hope you have blessed Easter Cristal.

  15. r.elliott

    I pray you are drying out under the light of His Grace…yes me too…I jumped in briefly myself…I feel the Son drying me too…have a blessed Easter my friend.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I am drying out. I think corporate worship is like a big dryer for the soggy soul. It helps perspective move along. Hope you have a wonderful Easter celebrating with your family.

      • Sherri

        “big dryer for the soggy soul” – yes a soul facelift.

  16. Laura DeLoach

    “I am not measured by what I do, but the grace I accept” ! What a great line. I love that. So needed to hear that today. Kylee’s middle name is Grace and I keep hearing God so Loudly telling me I need to accept his Grace. Unearned loving Grace !Thanks Shelly

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Aw, that sweet baby God gave you. What a perfect name and she is beautiful. So glad you are hearing Him, praying faith with follow Laura. Thanks so much for visiting and leaving a comment, you are an inspiration.

  17. Sherri

    Your post makes my heart sing. Aren’t we all soaked and condemned by ourselves, and have redemption and grace together.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Sherri, feels like we live in different states. Haven’t bumped into you in a while. Yes, I think you are right. We are pros at self-condemnation and equal receivers of grace and redemption. Thanking God for that! Happy Easter friend.

  18. Kim Jones

    This is so what I needed to hear today. I missed Sunrise sevices this morning and my oldest son was disappointed with his Easter surprise. Everything seemed tainted. But you have reminded me tht in our imperfections and sin, we are granted grace by our Holy Father. Thank you.

  19. ljbmom

    Oh, yes…redemptions beauty, right? Happy Easter, my beautiful friend. Let’s rest in His redeeming love together.

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