Monday, April 2, 2018

what I'm thankful for this Easter Monday

This Easter, things were different.

I bounced into church for all three of our Easter services with more energy than I've had in months, sang so loudly I almost lost my voice, and said everything at double-speed (until eventually I wore myself out and fell asleep on the couch on Sunday afternoon).

It was a bit of a whirlwind, but not as random as perhaps it sounds, because this year, I learned what it was to be a sinner. I have always been a sinner, and I knew that, but as a child, I had no understanding of what that meant. I knew I did bad things - but I also knew that a lot of people did a lot of worse things, and so it seemed to me that I was doing okay, and Jesus probably had a lot of other people to save and worry about, and he probably didn't pay that much attention to me.

This year, for a couple of reasons, I found myself confronted with my own sin in a new way. I'd make a mistake, and then I'd try to fix it, or go over it in my head until I'd rationalized it to the point where it wasn't that bad, or I didn't really mess up, or they didn't even notice, or whatever - and sometimes this worked! I'd figure that it was an honest mistake, and no one cared, and it was all good. And sometimes it was, but most often I'd get stuck, knowing that I had made a mistake but not knowing how to move on.




The lyrics to the song "Known" by Tauren Wells hit me real hard in the airport between Iceland and Canada, because he describes the process like this:

I'm fully known and loved by you
You won't let go, no matter what I do
It's not one or the other - it's hard truth AND ridiculous grace
To be known, fully known, and loved by you.

I'd been stuck at the "hard truth" side of things, convicted by the true fact that I mess up! I make mistakes! I am not a good person! But I hadn't understood that the grace of God does not operate INDEPENDENT of our sin. Jesus doesn't swoop in and go "woo! Grace exists!" and ignore our sin completely. He walks into the room and says "well, that's sin. you messed up. But you know what? I want you anyway, so I'm going to detach you from your sin. It's still sin - it's still bad - but it's no longer ATTACHED to you, because this grace is ridiculous and doesn't make sense and that's just how it is."

I kept trying to fix my mistakes on my own before coming to Jesus - I wanted to come to him good, so he'd be pleased with me, but I didn't realize that I can't make myself good on my own. I have to come to Jesus in full acknowledgement of my mistakes, and then I have to accept that He's the only one who can take them away. And once they're gone - they're just gone.




You can't understand what it is to be free until you know what it feels like to be a slave, and over the past few years I have known what it is to be in bondage. But because of that - because I was so conscious of my own mistakes - grace seemed sweeter and more outrageous this year than it ever had before.

Easter came at the perfect time: right as I was processing the dichotomy between sin and grace, my mistakes and Jesus's forgiveness, right as I was reminded of how many times GRACE has been a theme this year, how hard I have had to fight to hold onto freedom and not be dragged back into the familiar chains of guilt and sin, Easter snuck up on me and everything fell into place.

Understanding grace has been a process (some of which I documented on instagram, which you might have recognized as you were reading this post), and this weekend is not the first time I have been overcome with thankfulness ... but it was another piece of the puzzle, another reminder of why Jesus's death was so important, and I just ... I barely have words.



What are you reflecting on this Easter? How has God's grace been revealed to you this Resurrection weekend?

xx,
Olivia


3 comments:

  1. I've been struggling with this. It's a hard process because you might have been a Christian since you were younger and therefore should be a more mature Christian, but then I'm struck with how broken I actually am. Then I wonder if I've actually backtracked somehow. But maybe with growth comes clearer eyes and a possibility for a greater understanding of grace and mercy.

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    1. Meaghan - I still struggle with it! It's a constant cycle of feeling bogged down by sin and then reminding myself to accept grace ... and I feel like I'm backtracking an awful lot. But I just keep going, keep reminding myself, keep grabbing onto grace ... and I'm praying that you find the strength to keep going too! <3

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