I didn’t mean to leave you in suspense. The loud sound I heard Thursday night was, in fact, the end of the mouse as we knew it. And I feel fine.
However, I still haven’t put anything back in the cabinet because we still need to confirm that he was acting alone.
So yesterday morning I drove to Georgetown to speak to a MOPS group at First Baptist Church. (MOPS stands for mothers of preschoolers as opposed to mothers against preschoolers which is what P likes to call it.) They asked me to come talk about fashion and had even put together a great fashion show with the help of Old Navy. They were all such cute girls and I had a great time with them.
On the way there I had almost two hours of uninterrupted car time. It’s a rare thing these days for me to be in the car for any length of time all by myself and I was thoroughly enjoying singing loudly and badly with no one to criticize me or ask if I’d please play You Belong With Me for the sixteenth time in a row.
As I settled into the drive I began to think about a lot of things. The last few months have been challenging for a variety of reasons that I won’t really get into. I know I always make life seem like it’s a laugh a minute around here because I am an optimist in spite of myself and have never been one to get into the gloom and doom of things for too long. Because you know what has never solved a problem in the history of the world? Whining and complaining.
It’s true. Otherwise I could have solved a lot of problems in the early to mid-nineties. And maybe last week.
A few weeks ago, I attended a simulcast taught by Beth Moore called So Long, Insecurity. One of the things she said resonated so strongly with me. “We will never be secure until we realize we are fully loved by God, no matter our failings.” That was it for me. That’s it. I struggle with grace. I struggle to comprehend that I am fully loved by God no matter how much I fail.
Because I know myself. I know all my weaknesses and failures. I know what I’ve done and what I regret and what I’ve been saved from. I know all the ways I continue to fail on a daily basis. And if I’m disappointed in myself, then how is God not disappointed in me? How does He look at me with unfailing love and hope that I’ll do better tomorrow but won’t love me any less if I don’t?
It doesn’t make sense.
Over the last few weeks God has shown His love to me in a hundred different ways, just small simple things that I probably wouldn’t have even noticed before but have seen with fresh eyes. There have been times when I’ve almost felt like it was too much. More than I deserved. But in each one I saw his grace and his love.
I don’t really think about Austin (Georgetown is right outside of Austin) being a city that holds a lot of memories for me. I’ve never lived there and for a long time my only real memory was a night in college that Gulley and I got in trouble at a karaoke bar on Sixth Street after we got a little too overzealous with the microphone while singing “Respect”. Aretha can do that to a person. So can alcohol.
But as I drove into town I saw the hotel where we stayed during a baseball tournament in college right after I’d broken off an engagement. I remembered how I used to drive to Austin and Georgetown during my first job out of college and how scared I was and unsure about the future. And then, as if on cue, a big semi-truck passed me on the road and it was a truck from the company where I worked before P and I got married. It was easily the worst job I’ve ever had. I sold doors. Can you even imagine? Doors. I sold doors for people who asked that their employees not speak to them in the office.
It was like God was giving me a condensed version of This Is Your Life. A reminder of some of the places I’ve been and how He’s seen me through each and every one. Confirmation that He was weaving together plans and purposes and a future that I couldn’t have imagined. And I felt Him say to me in the deepest part of my heart, “You are so much harder on yourself than I am.”
I am. I’m hard on myself. I get caught up in the comparison game and feel like everyone is loving better, living more purposefully, doing more significant things and has a better heart than I do. I give other people the benefit of the doubt, but I never give myself that same grace. And that’s what God spoke to me yesterday. Grace.
He has never once looked at me, shook his head and said, “Wow. What a failure. I should have gotten someone else to do that.” That’s not how He works.
I don’t know if any of us have the capability or the comprehension to ever fully grasp the love of God. It’s too big. It defies all human rules and understanding. But over the last few weeks I’ve listened to David Crowder’s song How He Loves about fifty-six times. There is a line that has stuck with me that says “if His grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking”. And yesterday I think I sunk a little deeper.