Paul Gave Thanks

IMG_2608

Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye but don’t notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and look, there’s a log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First take the log out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:3-5

I laughed with them. But inwardly, I thought glaucoma.

“Two men went up to the temple complex to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee took his stand and was praying like this: ‘God, I thank You that I’m not like other people- greedy, unrighteous, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of everything I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even raise his eyes to heaven but kept striking his chest and saying, ‘God, turn Your wrath from me – a sinner!’ I tell you, this one went down to his house justified rather than the other; because everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 18:10-14

Funny thing about my eyes. Seems they’re pretty good about looking outward and finding fault in the world. And yet, they can be totally useless when looking inward… back at me.

That’s where I find myself today. Looking inward. And it was the Apostle Paul’s words that pointed me in that direction. See, we’re on the eve of Thanksgiving and the world at large is feeling grateful.

We give thanks for our full bellies and good health. For the roofs over our heads and the clothes upon our backs. For God’s mercy and goodness and grace. And Paul gave thanks, too. However, his prayer sounded a little different than one I’d utter at Thanksgiving…

I give thanks to Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, appointing me to the ministry- one who was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an arrogant man. 1 Timothy 1:12-13

The Blasphemer

Paul called himself a blasphemer and the word stumped me in recent days. Because really, what is blasphemy? I just didn’t know so I dug it up. I just had to in light of Paul’s words to Timothy.

Timothy was exhorted to follow Paul’s instructions, to engage strongly in battle, having faith and a good conscience. He then gave an example of two people who rejected these and suffered the shipwreck of their faith. Furthermore, Paul said he delivered them to Satan so that they may be taught not to blaspheme.

And that scared me. Horrified me, actually. Because what does that have to do with me? What in the world?

The Persecutor

To blaspheme is to spurn or contemn (not condemn), to despise and to abhor. Blasphemy is slander, detraction, or speech injurious to another’s good name. To blaspheme is to be impious and reproachful, evil speaking and railing.

Basically, a blasphemer is scurrilous. Calumnious against men. Most especially, impious against God. And let me assure you, I had to look up at least four of these words.

But within these words I discover why Paul gave up some up to Satan. And why they needed to be taught not to do and be all these things. Because blasphemy is so utterly harmful.

And Paul would know. Because that’s what he formerly was. A blasphemer. And it’s what caused him to persecute Jesus and His followers…

 Meanwhile Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and requested letters from him to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, either men or women, he might bring them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he traveled and was nearing Damascus, a light from heaven suddenly flashed around him. Falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me” Acts 9:1-4

The Arrogant Man

Paul used to be an arrogant man. If a man thought he had grounds for confidence, Paul had more: circumcised the eight day; of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, persecuting the church; as to the righteousness that is in the law, blameless (Philippians 3).

According to the religious sector, Paul had and was everything. The best of the best. The most religious of the religious. So much so, he murdered and imprisoned those who didn’t do or act as he did.

Like Stephen…

The first Christian martyr.

Oddly, Stephen was falsely accused of very thing that Paul really did. Blasphemy. Seems some hyper-religious dudes incited the crowds to speak out against Stephen, claiming he spoke blasphemous words against Moses and God.

This didn’t sit well with the Pharisees, of course. Nonetheless, when Stephen had an opportunity to speak, he spoke truth which enraged the leaders. They were filled with hate and fury and screamed and rushed at him, throwing him out of the city.

Then they stoned him.

The witnesses laid their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul. And this man, Saul, was a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an arrogant man.

But later, he became Paul. On the road to Damascus.

And after he became Paul, he was thankful. Because Jesus strengthened him. It was Jesus who considered him faithful, and who appointed Paul to the ministry.

The miracle, though?

It happened when Paul was the vilest of men. So deeply entrenched in sin. Blaspheming and persecuting and boasting and proud. And murdering. Let’s not forget that one.

But he was Jesus’ choice. A murderer appointed to ministry.

Inconceivable.

the blasphemer, the persecutor, and the arrogant woman

One who becomes stiff-necked, after many reprimands will be broken suddenly-and without a remedy. Proverbs 29:1

A dear friend of mine wondered out loud recently… she said she felt that God has just given up on her and let her go her way. That he was done with her. And deep down, I’ve had the same ponderings.

Because I read the above proverb last month. And it was mid-October when I learned that Paul gave some over to Satan to teach them a lesson. And honestly, I was terrified.

I wondered if this was happening to me…

Because God told me to stop something. Over and over and over and over. But I keep doing the thing He tells me not to. And the thing is, it has to do with Paul’s issues. When he was still Saul.

Paul’s a picture of me for I am a blasphemer. Because I judge and criticize his chosen people. His leaders. Oh, I’d say it began in earnest five years ago when I gained a little knowledge. And honestly, at times, I think I know more than they do. So I become arrogant.

And here I sit looking at others and criticizing, thinking I know best. And because someone sits in the place I feel I should be, bitterness and resentment fill up my heart. All traces of love dissipate in the fogginess of hate…

And because hate is present, that makes me no better than a murderer. It’s just as Jesus says in Matthew 5: murder begins in the heart. So I’m just like Paul when he was Saul. Breathing out fiery threats as I point out a speck I see in another’s eye. And all the while, there’s a huge plank in my own.

It’s blinded me. I’ve not been able to see clearly.

This log of my own…

So the truth is revealed. And I realize it’s not glaucoma, after all.

And so, I regain my eyesight as I dislodge the plank from my eye. And it’s only then I’m able to hear His words clearly. He says, “Pam, Pam, why are you persecuting me?”

Because that’s what I’ve been doing. In persecuting them, I persecute Him. No different than Paul when he was Saul.

The Wretch

I love the story of the adulteress in the Bible. There was a riot and a whole bunch of ultra-religious folk surrounded a poor woman caught in adultery. They wanted to stone her.

But that wasn’t Jesus’ way. Basically, He ignored their railings and rants. Their injurious speech. And when they persisted in questioning Him, He answered simply, “The one without sin among you should be the first to throw a stone at her.”

And so beginning with the oldest to the youngest, they left. The older ones being wise enough to recognize their own sin first. One by one they left till not one accuser remained.

And Jesus, He didn’t condemn the woman. Just said go and sin no more.

And this gives me hope today on the eve of this Thanksgiving season. Because He says the same to me. No condemnation… He just says go and sin no more.

So by an adulteress woman’s story, I understand Jesus never gives up on anyone. Not me or my friend. We don’t have to think this way again. Wondering if He’ll eventually tire of us… our antics.

God will never give up on me. What a gift. No matter how many times I screw up – or how royally – He won’t ever give me up utterly. No one can pluck me from my hand.

And the reality is, if He can convert a man like Saul, who later became Paul, surely He can do the same for me. Because we’re really the same, Paul and I.

It’s just his sins were easier to see. Outward. And mine are inward. Some things that only I can see.

So this Thanksgiving, I find I am thankful indeed. And miraculously, I can pray just like the apostle Paul. A man just like me.

I give thanks to Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, appointing me to the ministry- one who was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an arrogant woman.

For this, I am thankful.

And for this, I rejoice.

And oddly enough, the awakening of who I really am, a wretch in need of conversion, coincides with my eye clearing up. Mom gave me some drops and they seem to be working. Looks like the red is receding.

So it turns out she was right, after all. Mom wondered if I’d gotten something in my eye and I did.

It was a speck.

Either that or a log.

A Natural Mother

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This is my baby girl at 7:00 this morning. And me, clad in bathrobe, slippers and bare-ankled, had just driven my son up to the bus stop in 23 degree weather. Afterward, I immediately grabbed my camera so as to catch her expression for posterity. So I’ll remember. See how intently she stares at me? Cute, huh? Or is it something else? Look closer…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

You know what I see? Accusing eyes. That’s because I’m awash with guilt this morning. It clings to me and it’s hard to shake. Guilt. It’s because of how I acted last night. God help me. Let me explain.

I’m not what one would call a natural mother. It just doesn’t come easy to me. That doesn’t mean I don’t love my children dearly… it just means I’m not as flowy as some women appear to be. I don’t always feel 100% about what I’m doing. For instance, the first week I had Annabelle at home, I panicked around 2:00 a.m. one morning. This after a two hour feeding session and her constant cries. She was a cluster-feeder (if anyone knows that term ). So, because my baby girl continued to cry after a couple of hours, she was obviously still hungry, right? So I kept pressing her into my bosom. But for some odd reason, she kept arching and pulling away. Then I remembered… skin on skin. That’s what she needed! I frantically stripped us down to our waists and tried again. Drink, baby girl! I know you’re hungry! But the arching continued. That’s when I knew. Most assuredly, Annabelle had forgotten how to suck! So I woke my husband. Lo and behold, she quieted in his arms. And 18 pounds later, it turns out she hadn’t forgotten how to suck after all.

Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping. He asked Peter, “So, couldn’t you stay awake with Me one hour? Matthew 26:40

And there are other instances. Too many to name, really. And then there’s last night. God help me! Eight years ago, I went through this with my son. And I handled it badly. VERY BADLY. But this time around, I was going to excel. I was going to not let it get to me. I was going to be flowy… like the other mothers. See, I planned to overcome sleepless nights. I was going to be happy about it. And gentle. Because I’m a mom! It’s my job. And boy, do I want to be a gentle and nurturing creature for my babies.

At first, Annabelle did great. At around 2 months in, we had one week of bliss as she pretty much slept through the night… not waking till 3 or 4 for her first feeding. Oh, happy day! And I did what any mother would do… I bragged about my child to all who would listen. My baby is so good, she sleeps all night! But that’s when things began to change. As time progressed, she began to wake more frequently. Back to two times. And most recently… three, four, five… Who knows anymore. I lose count. Two nights ago, I voiced it to Jason… “Last night was the worst night ever!” That’s because she started waking up at before Midnight! But I was wrong. Because last night was truly the worst night ever! She showed me… she got up at 11:00. She stirred before I even had time to close my eyes.

“Therefore I will not keep silent; I will speak out in the anguish of my spirit, I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.” Job 7:11

This is where the guilt sets in. I let it fly. There was a volcanic eruption from the deep pit of my soul… the most obscene word burst forth. And honestly, it was satisfying. It was the most accurate word for how I felt. And then they came more easily… as the night progressed, more and more obscene words spewed from my mouth leaving a sulfuric stench in the air. I cursed. I lamented. And worse? I felt angry at God. “You could make her sleep!” But the fact is, she didn’t sleep. Not soundly. She awoke so many times… and I handled it terribly.

Last night, I felt justified in my bitter words. I was angry. And weak. And because I was so tired, I felt I deserved to let off a little (a lot) of steam. But now, in the light of day, I simply feel guilt. I don’t want to be like this. I am a mother. I’m Annabelle’s mother. And so, when I peered into her little nut brown eyes this morning, I saw only accusation.

In the light of day, I see things more clearly. And what I see is something amiss…

 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Notice anything wrong with this picture? That’s my laundry basket and it’s placed on top of my Bible. And it’s symbolic of what’s taken place in the last four and 1/2 months. See, I had a baby. And busyness set in. And there’s so much to do. And because my schedule is crammed full, some things have taken a back seat. Namely, time with God. I’ve put other stuff first. Like laundry. And so, I suffer. And not only I, but my whole family. For I’m sure my husband felt the abrupt wind of the covers being flung off of me. I’m sure he heard the ugliness I carelessly flung forth as I stomped to the nursery… and deep down, perhaps I wanted him to. Misery loves company, so they say.

But as I said, in the light of day… I see. And I don’t like what I see. For I don’t want to be that woman. I want to be flowy. A natural mother. And in order to do that, I have to make time for God. I have to put Him first again. And when I do, He will sustain me. He will help me. Because He has the power to help me soothe my baby girl on a sleepless night when I have no clue as to why she’s waking ten times. Because truth is, His grace is sufficient for me…

Funny thing about this blog. I started it because I wanted to encourage people. I wanted to help others stand. But today, it appears I’m the one who needs help in standing. This tired mama needs a bit of encouragement – and prayers – and not just for my sake, but for my family’s sake. Lord help me… if I can’t have rest, the act of sleeping, may I at least have rest in Thee. For Your grace is sufficient for me.

“Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-9

I close with Annabelle’s picture. Check out that face. Oh, it’s true I was covered with guilt this morning. And it may be I saw only accusation in her eyes first thing. However, just moments after I perceived condemnation, she graced me with a smile. It reaches her eyes. And you know… it’s a reflection of His eyes… Him smiling down on me. Grace for me.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Naughty List

thWUV1SQ1I

I think I’ve reached my destination. For it was on December 6 that I determined Christmas would be different this year. I decided I would leave over stuffed days, fits of wrath and perfectionism behind, setting out on a course for Jesus. And so, as I sang along with Bruce Springsteen this morning (at the top of my lungs), I realized I’m already there. I’ve made it to the heart of Christmas! And of all things, select lyrics from Santa Claus is Coming to Town shed light on my path…

You better watch out
You better not cry
Better not pout
I’m telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town
He’s making a list
And checking it twice;
Gonna find out Who’s naughty and nice
Santa Claus is coming to town
He sees you when you’re sleeping
He knows when you’re awake
He knows if you’ve been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake!
O! You better watch out! 

You know, the beat is great and it puts a smile on my face. And yet, today, I think how threatening the words are. You better walk the straight and narrow, or else! It’s kind of like the elf on the shelf. Santa’s minions are placed in homes around the world so that they can spy on children. And guess what, small child…  If you’re not good and perfect in all your ways, well then, no reward for you! No grace for dispensation. This is my elf on the shelf, by the way…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’m certainly not down on Santa or the Elf on the Shelf. It’s just that in my search for the true reason for the season, it’s glaringly obvious that this song and these little elves point directly to the Law of the Old Testament. Christmas has become a works based reward system. And before Jesus came along, I think life may have felt exactly that way. You better be good! You better walk the straight and narrow! You better be perfect! And the only way people could walk blamelessly before God was by obeying each and every one of His commandments, and following the Law. Explicitly. And if they screwed up, there were offerings and sacrifices to be made. Burnt offerings and grain offerings and sin offerings and fellowship offerings. There was even a guilt offering. This was the way of life before Christmas came, for it was Christ who ushered in the age of grace. Before the Star of Jacob appeared, the Law guided God’s chosen ones.

And people could accomplish this feat, for the father of John the Baptist proves it. This old man was righteous in God’s sight because he lived without blame according to all the commandments and requirements of the Lord. But here’s the thing… because he walked perfectly, did he still feel the need for a Savior? Did he still look forward to the coming Messiah? Because Zechariah was doing A-Okay. In fact, when the angel of the Lord appeared to him, Zechariah was doing exactly what he should be doing. He was serving as priest, burning incense in the sanctuary of the Lord… in a perfect manner, I’m sure. But then, out of nowhere stood Gabriel! And this man of God, who walked perfectly, felt fear.

Gabriel brought good tidings, for old Zechariah and his barren wife would have a son. But amazingly, Zechariah didn’t believe it. In essence, he didn’t receive the good news… at first. And so Gabriel replied, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and tell you this good news. Now listen! You will become silent and unable to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words…” Wow. What stern measures were taken here. But what a lesson for today. Because it’s the perfect picture of how our hearing can be dulled over time. And through the monotony of rote tradition, our minds can thicken and our hearts can harden. And can it be possible? Dare I even say this… familiarity breeds contempt. For isn’t it true that over time we become complacent and perhaps, just a bit too casual with God. Speaking for myself, I have to say yes.

Oh, I completely identify with Zechariah. Because at times, I am just like him. See, early on I bound myself to God’s law. Since I had more faith in God’s rules than I did in salvation through Jesus only, I was groomed for working. My notes evidence my shaky foundation… “Don’t rely on salvation alone. Works!” And so, bypassing relationship, I moved on to busyness. I believed I should walk blamelessly, and so I strived to do so through acts of service. I tried my best to be good, for I really wanted to be perfect. I thought that’s what He expected. And so in my mind, the more I strived, the better I was. I got so good at going to church, and taking Bible studies, and praying religiously that it was almost as if I no longer needed a Savior. Because on my own, I was doing A-Okay. Like Zechariah. But you know what? You can only carry on in that manner for so long. Because if you keep climbing higher and higher up your own pedestal, eventually you fall off. That’s what I did. For pride comes before the fall.

 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“But go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:13.

For me, the ultimate Christmas miracle is Jesus did not come because we were so good. On the contrary, He came because of our sinful nature. Because God knew no matter how many good works we accomplished, we would never, ever achieve perfection. Thus, Jesus… the reason for the season and God’s perfect gift.

And so, do I want Santa with his long lists, or do I want Jesus only? I can choose the Law with its infinite rules, or I can choose salvation only. My choice is easy, for I’ve tried being good. It doesn’t work. And oh, how I’ve pouted and cried. So, obviously I’m removed to Santa’s naughty list. Therefore, I choose Jesus. I choose a Savior. Because I cannot save myself.

This Christmas, I find rest. I don’t have to work one minute more. My strivings can now cease, for God has already given the perfect Christmas gift. In His infinite wisdom, God sent perfection down… so we don’t have to be.

“When the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” Galatians 4:4-5

Hail Mary, full of grace…

Though I’m not Catholic, I’m familiar with the following prayer:

Hail Mary, full of grace.
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou amongst women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus…

This prayer comes straight out of the book of Luke (verses 28 and 42), and it’s how Mary was greeted first by an angel, and then, by her cousin, Elizabeth.

And this morning I fully realize this prayer is not ascribing majesty to Mary, as I so thought. See, I believed “Hail” to be a form of greeting used only with someone high of rank. But now, I know. Literally, hail means “rejoice” or “be glad.”

And to clear up another misconception on my part, Mary being full of grace does not mean she was a graceful person. Rather, Mary was blessed because God’s favor rested on her. It was His grace she was full of, not her own.

In other words, “Rejoice, Mary! Be glad because God has blessed you and His grace rests upon you!”

En_Gloria_GuidoReni

Hail, Mary.

Rejoice.

Funny thing, though, is many images depict Mary in a deeply contemplative state rather than full of joy. In my opinion, she looks to be melancholy.

But one can infer from the first chapter of Luke, that she did in fact rejoice. And not only was Mary full of grace, she was also full of praise! For this was the song of Mary’s heart…

 And Mary said:

“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.” Luke 1:46-52

This passage gives us a glimpse into Mary’s soul. At least at the time of immaculate conception. Oh, I’m sure she didn’t always remain on this spiritual high for could she? Because not long after, her betrothed wanted to put her away quietly.

And there were other hardships. If I were to place myself in Mary’s sandals, I’d have to say some of her joy slipped away. So perhaps the sad images of Mary do portray her best.

Especially during her third trimester. Traveling a great distance on a donkey. In the cold. And upon arrival to Bethlehem, the city of David, there must have been such crowds. And the straw to break the camel’s back… there was no where to go!

What must she have been thinking?

Me? I know exactly what I would have said. I’d have uttered in disbelief, “Are you kidding me?” For that’s my go to phrase. When something doesn’t go according to my plan, this flies right out of my mouth. And if I were in Mary’s place, I would have thought, “Here I am carrying the Son of God, the Savior of the world, and no one can make a place for me! For ME!”

And so, the contrast is striking. I, quite clearly, am nothing like Mary. For I am high in my thinking. But Mary was not. She was lowly. A humble soul. And thus, God’s grace rested upon her.

And it’s there, in the grace of God, that I need to pause for just a moment. Because I need it this hour.

See, the other night I had been lulled to sleep on my couch by the glow of the TV. However, I awoke with a start. I was brought to full alertness, but noticed nothing askew. Not even when I stepped out onto my porch to unplug Christmas lights did anything seem out of the ordinary. No, the world was quiet.

But then, I heard voices. And finally, I saw flashing blue lights at the top of the hill.  And standing there in my bathrobe, I felt uncertain about what to do. Lights silently beckoned, but I didn’t know what had happened.

I hurried inside to wake my husband from his deep slumber and told him something was wrong… I told him I felt I should go up and see.

But he didn’t understand my reasoning. It was cold and dark and a policeman was already there. What did I possibly think I could do? No, he felt I should stay inside. And so, I left the bedroom to venture out again. And that’s when I heard the fire station siren. Something was wrong, in deed.

Still, though, I felt uncertainty. It was true there was an official on site, and it was true I was undressed… but shouldn’t I go up to see if I could be of service? I ventured back in as I heard the sirens approach. And by this time, I knew help was just seconds away. And so, I deduced my husband was probably right…

Thus, I did nothing.

I watched out my window as more and more emergency vehicles arrived. And when a spotlight shone forth, I realized it wasn’t just a simple accident. Not only that, emergency personnel were right on the edge of our property! I didn’t know how I could help, and yet, I felt compelled to do something. Once again, I woke my husband. Shouldn’t I go? Shouldn’t I do something? Anything?

I wish I could say that I rose to the occasion. That I hurried to help in anyway I could… perhaps in offering a kind word or holding a hand. I could have handed out hot coffee or blankets, or lifted up the injured in prayer. I bet that’s what Mary would have done.

But no. I stood still, instead. Compelled to move by the Spirit within me, yet unable to move forward one step. And so, by the time I made my way to bed much later, I felt like an utter fool.

By the next morning, foolishness morphed to guilt. And then, I was filled with deep regret as shame overtook me. Surely the shame of inaction is much more than the shame of an action taken. For I failed to do what was right.

And today, it strikes me that the shame I felt is just another form of the word disgrace.

Mary, the mother of Jesus, was full of grace.

And I… well, I was full of disgrace.

When pride comes, disgrace follows, but with humility comes wisdom. Proverbs 11:2

Hail Mary, full of grace. This is the description we have of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Filled with grace because of her humbleness. And through humility, she became wise. And so, Mary being Mary, her earthly frame housed a wonderful gift. For within her womb was the seed of Christmas… the grace of God.

And me being me, this is the gift I need most this Christmas. For I am but a human. Frail and fraught with error. I make mistake after mistake. I fail God again and again, and yet, His gift to me is everlasting… His mercies new each day.

So this day, I choose to rest there. In the grace of my Lord and Savior. And I proclaim with great confidence…

Hail Pam, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.

And not because of who I am or anything I do. But simply because I need Him. I need His grace.

Indeed, we have all received grace after grace from His fullness, for although the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:16-17

This Christmas, I am unwrapping God’s gift of grace. And in this reason alone, I shall rejoice. Funny thing, though, it’s not perfection that brought me to it. No, it was through a mistake.

And though my error brought me low, and I was awash in shame for a brief period,  I was humbled by my folly. And it was in that moment, in my human weakness, that I found His gift.

My disgrace was exchanged for His grace…

A Christmas gift that keeps on giving.