And, if you are like me, then this is for you...
In her most recent blog post, Liz Curtis Higgs asks this question:
- In what area of your life is it time to let go of the adversary’s lies and receive God’s complete forgiveness?
She poses the question to her readers for them to respond, but first she answers her own question:
"I’ve never been entirely confident of my mothering, so the enemy of our souls has gone overboard on that score, repeatedly pointing out my many mistakes over the years. Now that our children are grown, I am humbled to see what fine adults they’ve become, despite my shortcomings. God has not only forgiven me, he has also overruled me—doing what I could not do, loving when I could not love, comforting when I was not there to comfort. For those blessings, and ten thousand beside, thank you, thank you, thank you, Jesus."
I loved this: "He has overruled me--doing what I could not do..."
He overrules. Trumps. His truth and love overcome my failures. He covers my mistakes.
And I thought of the verse that says, "Love covers a multitude of sins." I like the ESV rendering,
"Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins." (1 Peter 4:8)
"serious in intention, purpose, or effort; sincerely zealous: an earnest worker. 2. showing depth and sincerity of feeling: earnest words; an earnest entreaty" (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/earnest)
Let's reword the ESV, "Keep loving one another, seriously!" If we are serious about loving and we mess up--and we will, a lot--He will cover our mistakes with His love. His love will trump our mistakes. How cool is that?!
I am serious about loving my kids. So serious, in fact, that it is the one place Satan knows he can really get me; if he can make me doubt that I am loving their innocent souls well, I am reduced to ashes in a nanosecond. It is the one area I find myself praying about most often, that God will give not one, not two, but three(!) crowns of beauty for ashes.
Here are a mother's ashes, Lord. I know You say You give beauty for ashes. A crown of beauty. But, if I may be so bold, would You, in your incomprehensible grace, turn these ashes into three crowns, including two crowns of beauty for these two precious princesses that you've entrusted to my care? Father, I beg You, that my soot will not rub off on these pure little babes. That these beauties will not have to suffer because of my sins.
Cover my mistakes with your love, Lord. Overrule me. Every single time, overrule me.
You see, I see the blackness of my heart and I tremble a little. I mourn a little. But then I remember Your promise in Romans 8. You work all things for good. All things. Is it possible that You can even use my mistakes to shape these beauties into the masterpieces you intend them to be? Love that covers a multitude of sins and uses even our mistakes for your glory. Amazing love. The riches of your glorious grace! (Ephesians 1)
"To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory." (Isaiah 61:3, NLT)
On this Ash Wednesday, snow falls softly. Large fluffy flakes. Christians around the world mark their foreheads with an ashen cross, marking the beginning of Lent, a time of fasting, prayer, and repentance. God, in His glorious grace, is reminding me that He washes us white as snow. Beautiful, peaceful snow. We throw ashes on our heads as we "grieve, mourn, and wail" (James 4:9), and He loves, forgives, comforts, washes, redeems, and makes ashes like snow. Such beauty for ashes.
And, isn't it a beautiful thing that this year the day for celebrating love (Valentine's Day) falls immediately after the day for recognizing our failures and desperate need for a loving Savior? We mourn and repent; He loves and forgives. And lifts our mourning heads.
"But You are a shield around me, O LORD; You bestow glory on me and lift up my head." Psalm 3:3
Of course, it's not all ashes on this earth. It's beauty in the ashes. And one day that beauty will not be found among the ashes, but topping our heads in a crown of glory. And we'll throw it right down, right there at His beautiful feet. And there... There will be no more ashes. Because He has overruled. He has triumphed!
And because you can always count on me to be all. over. the. board....
After you have sufficiently mourned, you need to laugh. God is a happy, people. He is. And I am positive He laughs sometimes. No? Yes. So, here is your dose of laughter meds for the day:
"Turtlenecks of the Heart Tuesday"
Thanks, Jami Nato!
P.S. The best and funniest parts are the comments!