Journeys

Thoughts on the roads we take

Where feet may fail

I’m not from here, but here I stand. I feel, in moments, like an observer taking in the sights and sounds of this culture. This is not familiar. My own voice reminds me that I’m a transplant even as I allow a soft drawl to creep into my accent and add “y’all” to my daily vocabulary unintentionally. 

I wonder if this is a place I can acclimate to. I am reminded of a piece of advice given to me not too long ago about criticism. “I listen. And if there is something true, something for me, then I take that piece. If not, I let it go.” I think the same can be applied to new surroundings. If there is something authentic that could be for me, I will take that. It is ok for the rest to remain foreign. I have been learning to let go of chameleon clothes and to keep the colors I really love, the ones that are true. 

One year in Nashville. A year has hands big enough to hold so many things. And this year must hold big things, because this year was not in the plans. Not in mine, anyway. I have walked into this great unknown—or jumped really—because I’ve never known the voice that calls us out onto the water to fail. The Unknown, the depth of the ocean is not a place my feet are sufficient to navigate. 

Just as I begin to think I know the way well enough on my own, the voice calls to me again. It urges me to come out deeper, to come beyond the limits of my trust. It asks me to release the borders I’ve so safely set, to erase the lines little by little until they no longer exist. 

My feet could not have wandered this deep on their own. The ocean depths rise and my fears begin to scream out in my head. What if I never see the ones I’ve left behind again? Will they know they are loved? The waves crash around me. Have I done enough, said enough, been enough? Have I loved enough? Grace reaches for me as the ocean seeks to swallow. My hand is held tight; I am not sinking. I look up into the eyes of Love and find unshakable confidence. My life is spread out before me, making something obvious: He has never failed me. I know he won’t start now. My feet can’t walk on water but my faith is learning to stand. 

"For we walk by faith, not by sight." 
2 Corinthians 5:7 

Welcome Home: The vulnerability of change

The hallway stretches out before me as I walk, tugging at suitcases behind. I follow signs with arrows pointing to customs, pausing as I arrive at the serpentine lines that separate citizens from visitors. “American passport?” an official greets me. I barely catch myself in time to reply “yes,” instead of “sí.” He breaks into a wide smile. “Welcome home!” he says, motioning me into the correct line. 

I move, but my mind stays put, surprised by the emotional reaction I have to his words. Is this home? I can’t help asking myself even as I go through the motions of using the new passport self-scanner and answering the questions the customs agent wants to clear with me. I feel bewildered. 

I knew these days would be hard, and even so I was unable to prepare myself for just precisely how it would feel. I struggle through the questions posed to me, even though I could’ve guessed what most of them would be ahead of time. 

Words are failing me to be able to express the thing I want to say the most. I stutter, pause, and often fall silent. It’s my hands that remember how to drive a manual without thinking, taking over as though they belong to someone else’s body; it’s my lips automatically mumbling con permiso in the grocery store, and gracias as someone holds open the door for me; it’s waking up in the morning and for a moment not knowing where I am; it’s telling someone what my favorite food is, and realizing after that what I said was wrong because I’ve changed and so many default answers are no longer true; it’s coming back to a place so familiar only to find you don’t know it anymore, not only that, but it doesn’t know you. It’s nothing, and it’s everything. 

Lo que pasa es que… well, it’s that all the changes big and small have left me searching for something familiar and I haven’t found it. I’m in my “home” country and I don’t know what to do. It should be routine, normal. But it isn’t. I’m in between here and there and it is a precarious place. 

What about change and going back is so shocking and, in moments, scary? I’m not sure I can pinpoint that one. Perhaps having to be more conscious of every action because default mode no longer applies. Perhaps simply not knowing how to react or behave in certain situations. Maybe it is not remembering things you once knew, like cultural conventions or the geographical layout of a city. More than that, perhaps just the realization of how different you feel. The uncertainty of how to communicate that you’ve changed without making an announcement: “Hey, everyone, the person you welcomed back is not the same person you said goodbye to.” 

In these spluttery, confused moments I feel very small. I begin to apologize, but stop. What am I apologizing for? The experience of belonging to more than one place? Having two sets of vocabulary in my head? Allowing the “other’s” perspective to show me things I hadn’t seen? Letting new places and new friends etch themselves until they are a part of me? No. I will not apologize for that. I will not say I’m sorry for the tears or for vulnerability, for the inability to be the same. It means I have grown, and it means something significant has taken place. 

A time to love

I’m sitting in 1st grade with six students taking exams. Two new students who will enter Jefferson next year, and four of my own. I want to hold this moment in my mind, in my heart. I know this is the last time I may ever see them. And regardless of how hard the year has been, I love these children. Their imperfection and squirreliness is a reflection of my own. You never know how long you have to hold them, to love on them. One moment, they’ve been entrusted to your keeping, and the next, they’re gone. “Will you miss us, teacher?” one of them asks me. “Yes, of course! I will miss you so much,” I reply. 

I have never been good at letting go, since saying goodbye to the very first child who ever called me mommy. “Rebekah, they don’t need you,” my father says. “They’ll be fine without you.” I know he’s right. They don’t need me. But maybe I need them. 

They begin to leave one by one as they finish their tests. “Bye, kiddo,” I say, wishing just for a moment that they weren’t too old for hugs. But they’re teenagers and I can’t pick them up to hold them the way I would if they were five years old. I’m like that mom who has suddenly realized her kids are growing up, closer to being adults than children. It’s silly, I know. 

I think my father’s words stem in part from the fact that he is ready for me to move on. He tells me there are other people for me to love. I know it, too, but it does not make saying goodbye any easier. There is always room for more people, but they never replace those who are already in your heart. 

I remember clearly a conversation I had with one of my professors just before leaving university. The time we’re living in is a season, she said. Where we are, what we’re doing. It’s for a season and soon enough we’ll find ourselves in another season. I’ve thought about that often throughout the past year and a half. It has helped bring perspective to difficult situations, and gratefulness to good ones.

Everywhere I go, everything I do, it’s for a season. It’s not forever, even though I’d often like to think some things will be forever. Some people, some places. Yet, I have to understand that this brings both comfort and reminders to be thankful. The difficulty won’t last. The sweet moments won’t either, and so I must learn to be abundantly grateful for them and not take a single one for granted. This moment that I have with you where we are laughing and sharing life, doing one of our favorite things, it may not pass again. 

My grandfather passed away two weeks ago, and his leaving reminded me of how close I came to missing an opportunity. I saw him last during Christmas break when I was home for the holidays. It was a lovely visit, a perfect last memory. But I almost didn’t go. I had a busy schedule since I was only home for a short time, and I thought that I’d have plenty of other opportunities to see him. How glad I am that my mom was insistent! 

We can never tell how long a time we’ll have to share with those around us. What you thought would be years of time may suddenly turn into mere weeks. I may not be ready for this season to end, but as it gives way to the next, I want to remember to always love. I want to keep my eyes open and take advantage of every opportunity, because no matter what season I find myself in, it will always be a time to love. 

Reasons to stay

May 27th marks the one year anniversary of my life here in Guadalajara. One year full of everything except the expected. Over this year, I’ve gotten a lot of questions, but two stand out as most frequently asked. Those living north of the border want to know “Are you coming back soon, or are you going to stay?” and those living south of the border always ask “Why did you come here?” 

Although the whole story is a bit long and complicated, the answer to the second question boils down to something quite simple: Love. I came here because of love. 

I’ve been wrestling with the first question in what seems a never-ending match. The moment I start to believe I’ve come to a conclusion, fears stir up doubt that I will make the right choice. 

The other day saw me making a pros and cons list in the middle of clashing emotions and arguments. One side was titled “Reasons I want to be here” while the other side read “Reasons to leave.” I jotted down a few things on each side and saved it to review later. 

A few nights ago, I was in desperate need of encouragement. I was, again, in another round of stay-or-go. I sat wondering where I was going to find the assurance and encouragement I needed, racking my brain and coming up with nothing. So I asked “God, can you please help me? I don’t know what to do.” And I felt him say “Focus on me.” Opening up my bible, I read a chapter in Galatians. To be honest, it had nothing to do with my specific situation. It didn’t magically address how I was feeling in that moment. But something stranger happened. Whereas before I’d felt ready to cry and be sad, now I wanted to sing. I didn’t feel scared; I felt confident and completely loved. 

I kept reading and came across a verse I’ve read a million times before. “…And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him…” I’ve read that so many times, but this time I got stuck at the beginning. In all things. It was as if someone had whispered that part in my ear. In all things. In this, too. In this, right in the place where I was. Confused, searching, wondering, seeking answers. A little bit desperate. 

Thinking over the list of reasons I’d made, it suddenly clicked that there was an obvious theme. Everything I’d written on the side of “Reasons to leave” was based on a fear. And the opposite side had everything to do with faith and love. Confidence that God had something more to do here, in me and around me. 

This year has brought a lot of questions. They haven’t all been answered yet, but two of them have. Strangely enough, the answers to the questions “Why did you come here?” and “Are you going to come back soon, or are you going to stay?” are the same: Love. I came here because of love and I am going to stay because of the Love that creates complete confidence and sustains me, the Love that promises that in this, too, it will work for my good. 

Who I ought to be

I look at her and internally sigh, feeling more than a twinge of envy. She knows how to perfectly navigate between two worlds and languages, and she does it without missing a beat or stuttering or pausing to think about what to say. I, on the other hand, know I can make myself understood, but I feel so flawed. And with the way people constantly state “you’re not from here, are you?” I feel that I will never fit into my new environment, much less fit in seamlessly like she does. If only I could mold myself a little bit more to look like them.

The scale announced over Christmas break that I weighed more than I had the last time I was home. After the initial surprise, I nodded in agreement, because—after all—I probably shouldn’t eat so much cake. I am equally certain that I should be exercising like crazy, and that being tired after work should not be an excuse. 

It’s been several weeks since school started back, and my students are still acting like zoo animals. When a coworker asks me if I had a bad day, I say I don’t want to talk about it, merely shaking my head and quietly admitting “it’s my fault anyway.” It’s my fault for not being super teacher. If I had spent more time planning, or if I had more experience or natural talent, they would not be acting this way. 

I noticed myself wanting to speak negatively about someone today. I paused, asking myself why I was allowing this person to get on my nerves. Why wasn’t I embracing them as part of my life? That’s what Jesus would do. Why was I responding so opposite to the kind of person I claim I want to be? Because I am not a very good Christian. If I were a better one, everyone around me would know. 

These are the internal struggles I’ve been having lately. When something is wrong, I view it with the lens that it’s because I am somehow more or less than what I ought to be. I should work more. I should be more kind. I should be less stressed. I should try harder, be stricter, be better. 

 I am focused on the guilt I feel for the things that I am not, and it doesn’t leave much room for who I am. Though I don’t think aspiring to improve is bad, I haven’t left any space for acceptance of where I am and what I am today.  

For someone who believes in grace, I’ve been pretty stingy in allowing myself access to it. I live in ifs and whens and hads. Yet the more I ask God about tomorrow, the more I clearly hear be with me today. I don’t like that answer. If I am with God today, then I have to be with me today, too. And me today is tired and feeling like a failure. Me today is not enough. 

I know what I am not. Being with today asks another question, though. What am I? Who am I? The truth emerges when I look with deeper eyes than mine. Forgiven. Known. Loved. Is that enough? Yes. God give me courage to believe it. 

Outnumbered

I’m graduating soon. I have less than two months and my life as an undergrad will be over forever. I’ve found that everyone and their mother wants to know what my future plans are, as in, have I found a spectacularly impressive job yet? And when I explain that I shock! have no idea what I’m going to do yet, they look at me as though I have sprouted a second head. Horrified. Because, let’s face it, our culture values plans. Of the 5, 10, and 20 year variety. We value achievement. This is why Jack, Jill, and Susie would like to hear that I’ve already secured a job that will allow me to be self-sufficient immediately after graduation. 

But that’s not the case. It’s not that I have been unable to find a job. Truthfully, I haven’t started looking, and while that may sound irresponsible or just plain stupid, it isn’t arbitrary. The gift education has given me is also a curse. At least in the short run. This double gift/curse is that of opportunity. Now that I (almost) have two degrees, I am among a very small percentage of the world’s population. Every door is open to me. I can go anywhere, be anything. While that is wonderful, it is equally daunting. The pressure of choice is heavy. My parents want me to come home, while my professors beg me to attend grad school. Personally, I would like to travel the world while I can, but that requires money, and I have about $20,000 to $30,000 of debt from student loans. 

It’s a lot to think about. I am someone who tends to be very much afraid of failure. There is a great opportunity for success, but an equal opportunity to mess up. From where I sit, it looks like I’m facing a host of pitfalls and I have no idea what to do. More important to me than just choosing something is knowing that what I’m doing is serving God. I want to know that, at the end of the day, he approves of my choice. Assurance of that feels elusive. 

It’s tempting to make my own plans, to be impressive, to avoid this state of doubt, of uncertainty. I recently read through the book of 2 Chronicles, and one thing was very obvious: God just wants us to trust him. Not to go running to other people (in that case other kings) to help us out when we’re faced with a difficult situation, not to use our own education to make decisions. To completely trust him. 

I don’t know what to do. I don’t know where to go or who to be. But I do know that I want to be like Israel so that when I succeed, everyone will know it wasn’t because of my own abilities. 

"This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s…you will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.’" 

-2 Chronicles 20:15-17

'Til death do us part…

1 week ago: “Sweetheart, you’re home,” my grandpa whispered in her ear as he bent down to kiss her cheek and push the hair back from her forehead. Otherwise unresponsive, she nodded her head ever so slightly, a motion that his well-trained eyes immediately caught. He had kept his promise, and he had the satisfaction of knowing she knew it.

1950s: Flashing back to more than 60 years ago, my grandma was a saucy 14-year-old tired of her best friend always stealing her boyfriends away. There was a new boy in school, one that the above-mentioned best friend had her eye on. My grandma, deciding two could play at this game, made up her mind to get his attention before her friend did. One fine day, she walked up to the handsome boy, batted her eyelashes and said “Hello, Glenn.” I think he nearly fell off the windowsill he’d been sitting on.

If there’s one thing that can be said about her, it’s that she always gets what she wants. But I’m not sure she knew that day what she was bargaining for. I’m not sure. That boy turned out to be my grandpa. I don’t think she had any idea then that when she said “hello” she was greeting the man who would be with her for the rest of her life.

1960s: She was 30. They had four young kids. Life was going pretty much as could be expected. Suddenly, without warning, there was a twist in the story. She was diagnosed with a severe case of rheumatoid arthritis which left her in a nearly constant state of pain. She lost the ability to run after her small children. The duties of cleaning and cooking were now his as well.She was the love of his life. He wasn’t going to accept this. There had to be a cure, and dagnabbit, he was going to find it. They went to England. Mexico. Tried every doctor, every treatment.

2000s: “He gave them hope,” she told me. “Who, grandma?” I asked. “The other women at the hospitals. A lot of them had been abandoned by their husbands once they found out about the disease. Once they realized that this person wasn’t going to be perfect anymore. But they saw how much he loved me, and he encouraged them.”

1960-2012: She didn’t get better. She was confined to a wheelchair, able to walk painfully with the aid of crutches on occasion. She couldn’t comb her own hair. He became her beautician as well as her nurse. She smiled through the pain, made jokes about how “old arthur” was troubling her and she didn’t think it was very nice of him.

It might seem as though she was the weak one, but actually the opposite was true. While he was her caregiver, he relied on her like an anchor. She was his sounding board, the only one who could keep calm when he blew his top. She was in pain, but I never heard her complain. She saw beauty in everything, something to be grateful for in every day.

1 week ago: “She loves you more than I do,” he confessed, with tears in his eyes. I glanced at my sister, then glanced back at the small form in the hospital bed, connected to too many monitors. “You know how I know?” he continued. I shook my head. “Because she loves unconditionally. have conditions. But I’ve learned watching her, and I’m trying to be more like her—more like Christ, and love everyone. Addict. Prostitute. Homeless…” he trailed off. I knew he was right about the way she loved. It was something I’d been angry about from time to time, thinking she was too accepting. Now I realized my mistake. She’d had it right all along.

1990s: “Do you know how to spell love?” she asked. I was sitting across from her at the dining room table. I could tell this was a trick question, so I shook my head. “S-A-C-R-I-F-I-C-E. In capital letters” she told me. I nodded as she explained “So I give up what I want, my stubbornness, and he gives up what he wants. You know the nifty thing about that?” Again I shook my head. She grinned like a mischievous child and announced”we both get what we want!But not if we fight about it. Not if I insist on having my way.”

August 2012: He loved to fish. She did, too, but she couldn’t anymore. Regardless, nearly every summer our whole family took a trip to Colorado to stay in cabins in the mountains and go fishing. She wanted so much for him to have this vacation, even though the 10+ hour car trip had been more than hard for her. He was out fishing and I decided to take the opportunity to ask her to tell me some stories. “You know,” she started, “we thought about it. About getting divorced.” I was shocked. “You never told me that, grandma! When was this, and why?” She smiled as though the memory was funny. “When we were young, first married. We were fighting.” “So why didn’t you?” I asked. “Well, we sat down and talked about it and decided we loved each other very much and fooey on that!” I laughed. If only everyone would say fooey on that.

1 week ago: Medical history. The nurse wanted to know what to write down on her chart. It was after midnight. I racked my tired brain, trying to help my sister list everything. Stroke, two femur breaks, knee and hip replacements, gall bladder removal, bronchitis, pneumonia… I realized what a fighter she was. And how strong she was, having been through so much more than anyone else. 

She was the perfect example of “fighting the good fight.” I will never forget her smile and the expression of love on her face her last day with us. She was in more pain than I will ever understand and yet she struggled to say “I love you” as we took turns crowding around her hospital bed. I will miss her more than words can express, but when I miss her I will take the time to stop and thank God for giving me Love in the form of the lovely woman who was my grandma. 

Homesick

It is inevitable. No matter how wonderful the place is where you are, still that moment comes. The “I miss you” messages pile up. The skype dates fill in all the free time on your calendar, but leave you feeling that something is lacking. And finally, you have to admit it to yourself: I’m homesick. 

What I miss today, though, isn’t so much one location on a map. And I think that it makes the missing harder, because I know that no matter which physical location I visit, it won’t satisfy the homesick feeling. I have been lucky enough to call many places home, and even more blessed to find people to love and be loved by in each of those places. 

What I miss is my sisters whispering secrets in my ear and giggling uncontrollably. The way my mother makes my favorite food when I am sad, which always includes a tall glass of southern sweet tea. My father’s listening ears. The Spanglish I speak with my Latin America obsessed friends. The cafecito my professors used to invite me to drink with them, and all the moments spent gleaning wisdom in their presence. I miss the various nicknames I am called, even the ones that aren’t my favorite. You are the only one I let call me that, or didn’t you know? I miss knowing I can text or call you at any time of day and that it will only take five minutes for us to meet up. Most of all, I miss knowing and being known. I think at the core, this is what home means. 

Greenville. I will never be able to say thank you enough for the place that brought me my best and closest friends. The place that was not only a home, but a sanctuary for me for 2 1/2 amazing years. Here I grew from a little girl to an adult, and was stretched and challenged. I learned—so much—not just in the areas I was majoring in, but also about life. What it means to live with others, loving each other through the messy parts of life. 

Denver. I think of this time in my life, and I feel overwhelmed. In the best way, because I could never have imagined how clearly God’s grace and love would be demonstrated to me during that summer. It changed my perspective on what it means to love your neighbor, and gave me a fondness for inner city streets. I still miss passing out all the change in my pockets and stopping to pray with people because that was the most important thing on our agenda. 

Oaxaca. When I get asked the story of why I live in Mexico now, or why I chose to study Spanish, I always come back to this. It was the first place I fell in love with, the place that taught me to open the borders of my heart. While I am coming to love you, too, Guadalajara, Oaxaca will always have first place as the city that drew me here. 

Kansas City. All my childhood memories are here. When I think of the family I am so close to, when I think of our holiday traditions and all the crazy, fun things we’ve done, I think of this place. When I am asked by my students what the U.S. is like, I tell them about Kansas City, because this is where I am from and I think having a clear understanding of that is crucial in understanding where you are now. 

To all the places who have opened their doors for me to call home, thank you. To all the people who make up my family, whether by blood or just through love, I can’t tell you how much I thank God for you in my life. You have shaped and formed me and I am grateful I have the privilege of missing you, even though it’s hard. 

Love, 
Me 

Citizens and Strangers: An identity crisis


“Estás en México, eres mexicana,” he told me.
We’d been having the same fight about the U.S. versus Mexico again. Somehow, I could never make him understand that while I don’t take pride in the way my government behaves, where I was born is part of who I am. Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t change that. “Pero vives aquí,”he insisted. I know the point he’s trying to make: if America was so wonderful, why did you leave?

 I try to counter this by pointing out that lately everyone I’ve met has said to me “No eres de aquí, ¿verdad?” It is not a question. He is not fazed, however. “Diles que sí. Sí, soy de aquí, soy de Oaxaca.” I roll my eyes. “No me van a creer,” I sigh. “¿Por qué? ¿Porque somos negros, chaparritos, feos?” He is indignant. No, it has nothing to do with racism on my part. There are many things that mark me as a foreigner besides my height and blonde hair.

 He is right about one thing, though. A part of me is Mexican. Tonight, on my walk home from work, I glanced up suddenly to see the Mexican flag rippling in the wind. A strange sensation of relief and comfort came over me, as though to say no matter how hard it has been, you are home. You are here.

 Regardless of the constant comments that brand me as a stranger, foreigner, and illegal emigrant, and regardless of my new international C.V. that proudly claims me as a  “Citizen of the United States of America,” I have realized something. Some nationalities have nothing to do with place of birth. Some are stamped onto the heart, a permanent brand unlike the stamp placed on a visitor’s visa which expires.

 But carrying this nationality of the heart is not easy. Going back cannot be an option when things are hard. And they are hard every day. Yet I am reminded of some other people who left their place of birth, called out by a similar desire to take on a new heart nationality. It wasn’t easy for them, either. It required complete devotion, determination, and faith.

 “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on the earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had an opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” –Hebrews 11:13-16

What I am going through has shown me that I am willing (although still not happy) to be singled out as strange and foreign in order to reside in a place my heart has drawn me to. I should be equally willing to endure similar circumstances in order to gain a heavenly country. I think I am not yet ready to admit my status as a stranger and alien on earth, preferring to continue to protest that I am actually from here. I’m not ready to face the daily realities being a foreigner bring.

 It may be that everything that’s been hard for me here has been put in place to tangibly show and explain to me what it means to live by faith, looking for a better home. Even without knowing the end result. “By faith, Abraham, when called to go to a place…obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents…for he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” –Hebrews 11:8-10

God never spelled things out for me as I wanted him to before I left to come here. All he said was I make rivers in the desert. And I have come to understand that all this time he has wanted me to follow without knowing each step, without seeing the end result, because that is walking by faith.

 “Therefore we do not lose heart. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

–Corinthians 4:16, 18

Another thing: shame and lies

"I am a sinner if it’s not one thing it’s another / Caught up in words, tangled in lies."

These words could not be truer of me than they are today. And as much as I wish I could hide it, wish that if I didn’t acknowledge it, then it wouldn’t exist, it does. The disease in me is real. But I’ve been ignoring it for a while now. I’ve been telling myself that I’m too busy to sit down and really examine things, to really check what is going on in my fickle heart. 

There is no evading the truth, though. And it caught up with me today. All I could ask —as I have a thousand times before—was “Will your grace run out / If I let you down? / ‘Cause all I know / Is how to run.” 

I’ve been disappointed and discouraged by people lately. I’ve been asking a lot of questions about why we as humans choose to behave in ways that are obviously so harmful to ourselves and others. 

It caught up with me. I finally decided to sit down for the dreaded examination. I picked up my bible and read this: 
"You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance, and patience not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?” -Romans 2:1-4

Does his grace, then, run out? Because I need it. I am ashamed of my attitude. I should know better. Should know better than to show contempt for what has been shown to me, always. I do know better. But I am a believer of lies. I want to hide my face, because I’ve asked this question before: “Will you call me child / When I tell you lies?” I think I should’ve learned this lesson the last time I sat here. It’s uncomfortable. 

But there is good news. I am a sinner. The worst. And I am very tempted to dwell on that as my identity and feel more shame. “But you are a savior / And you take brokenness aside / And make it beautiful.” His grace does not run out. Everything I am, all I’ve done wrong and messed up and failed, especially lately, he is the opposite. More than that, he takes bad, the shame, the lies, and makes me someone who he calls child. Again. Whether it’s one thing, or another, or the same thing over again, I know this: he is a savior. His love is forever. It is big enough and strong enough to cover me.