Wednesday, December 12, 2012

it's not fair.

i am thinking through this season more deeply and waiting in expectation for God to show up. as i do this, i find that i'm getting less sentimental about the actual christmas season, and more wrapped up in something bigger than sentiment. the problem with sentiment is that it's usually unrealistic or based on a half-truth anyway.

i'm not willing to settle for sentiment any longer.
i want something more.

and as i ask for more from God, it's not looking like i thought it would. i think about mary as she wrapped her baby in rags and laid both her expectations and the savior in an animal trough. it's really happening like this?

i asked God that question this morning as i thought through broken relationships and hardships. wait, i asked for a gift...what are you giving me?

and a response that seems clearer and clearer as the day progresses, i have given you grace. it is not flashy and it is not glamorous. it hurts to give it and it will bring death. but that death will produce life.

death to myself and to what i think is "fair".
but they hurt me
but it's not right
but i don't deserve this!

here i am acting like a toddler with a sense of entitlement. it's supposed to go my way, God. not yours. i know better.

and yet, there it is. grace upon grace.

the answer is not making my point, helping them see how much they hurt me, or getting what i want. the answer is grace given when unmerited. not grace that comes from me, but grace that comes from something bigger than me. without God as my source, i will say, i am out of grace to give. this was the last hurt i can handle. and by the way, this is not going like i thought it would, so i quit.

but when we see ourselves rightly...poor and wretched with nothing to offer a holy God, we begin to see our own need for grace. i don't deserve God's mercy and His good gifts. i often spit in his face and say, i don't need you.

and yet You give me grace upon grace. upon grace. upon grace. and then more grace.
THE gift. the best gift.

this isn't about me and so and so. this is about me and God.
and this is about the command i am given as a follower of Christ:
now you give grace. 
or as paul says, be tenderhearted with one another, forgiving as christ forgave YOU.


as you go spend time with your spouse, extended families, and friends this year under uncomfortable circumstances, amidst dysfunction and strife, in subtle disagreements and large ones, in blaring pain or in quiet suffering, remember the gift of underserved grace you were given when Jesus died on the cross for you.
and from that ask Christ to help you give grace upon grace and forgiveness generously. if given with stipulations: this is the last time! , your so called grace will fail and eventually will come out uglier than you thought. because what you are giving is not grace at all. grace given with stipulations is actually bitterness, wrath, and vengeance.
your family or friends will hurt you again. it's inevitable. because humans do this. you do this.

this is why celebrating the birth of Christ is more than sentiment. we remind ourselves that God sent his son as a baby... his coming looking nothing like anyone thought it would. and then died the death we deserve after he lived the life we should have lived, gives us quite a different perspective. all of this really isn't "fair". what's fair is that we are separated from a Holy God... and YET, God made a way through this baby named Jesus for us to be saved. we don't get what we deserve...
it's not fair! hooray that it's not fair! let us not be the unforgiving servant this year. we quarrel over the 10 bucks someone owes us, when we owe an immense amount more to our king.

and let us all choose, even despite it's appearance, the raggedy old-looking gift of grace any day over a sparkly new promise of sentiment.

27 comments:

  1. wow. jami, this is exactly what i wanted and needed to read this morning.
    thank you for speaking such amazing truth and pointing us back to the deeper meaning and understanding of christmas.
    i often find myself in that example of 'this is the last time'.. and you're so right - it only leads to bigger let downs and destruction. god is using you and your story in so many ways to speak to me and teach me in this season of my life.
    thank you!

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  2. "This isn't about me and so and so. This is about me and God." OH.MY.GOODNESS. You are so right...and this whole post was written so well. Thanks for the perspective as the Christmas season surrounds us:) Merry Christmas and keep on doin' what you do - inspiring us to be better:)

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  3. beautifully written.
    thanks for these truths to ponder on my wednesday morning:).

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  4. I read this just as I'm reeling over my mother's request that I invite my sister's skeevy boyfriend and horrible kid to my house next weekend. Notice, not to THEIR house, but to mine. And I don't want to. But I should, shouldn't I?

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  5. Very good. So true! Thanks for that.

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  6. amen and love this and your honesty!

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  7. Wow. Thanks. I appreciate your realness, your honesty, and your telling it like it is. This is what needs to be heard and remembered. Thank you thank you thank you.

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  8. this is absolutely my heart today.
    but i can't say it nearly as good as you.
    as nathan and i shopped yesterday amongst the gross hustle and bustle and distractions that lead us to ANYTHING but the True Reason for Christmas, i couldn't help but hear Him saying that THIS is not how it was in the stable.
    it was anything BUT madness and distraction and chaos.
    it was silent, it was calm, but yet so Bright.
    and that's where i want my hear to be this Christmas and every day.

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    1. well that was a good blogpost right there.

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  9. Grace, always grace... Thank you, Jami. Just hours ago, a dear friend told me she was having one of those "life is unfair" days...and asked me how long I allow myself to feel sorry for myself. My immediate thought {not because I do this, but because of grace} was to allow myself to feel the unfairness until I can think of someone whose life is less fair than my own. Which doesn't - actually - take very long. So, I'm learning to look outside of myself. And hopefully getting better at it, by God's great grace...

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  10. I guess you have a way with just spanking us with the good ole' truth eh? Love this. Love your heart. I think my next hoop I'll embroider will read "grace upon grace"
    Thanks for continually being beautiful in Him!

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  11. Wow... this was really spoken for me today. (and obviously, from the comments- others.) Thanks for putting it so raw and honestly!

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  12. thanks jami. thats about all i know to say right now. but i mean it a lot!

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  13. Wow I really applaud you for allowing yourself to be used for Him was blessed

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  14. Goodness but my heart has been struck! I've been mulling over and contemplating how Christ is reflected in how I do and have celebrated this season. Wrestling with how to teach my kids...be with my extended family and friends, etc. your thoughts definitely provoke deeper inspection within my own heart and it is good. One of these days if my kiddos let me, I have much I want to write out and sort through! Because I process my thoughts through writing, not just standing in the shower or in the middle of counting sheep... But alas... Life as a mama of 2 babies!

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    1. steal alone time and write. you'll be so glad you did. i sit at the computer and have no idea what i'm going to write. and i just start writing what's inside. 30 minutes later, i see what was really going in there that i wasn't able to process just verbally.!

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  15. Thank you for reminding me....I think I believe we all have a cross to bear. Having said that I am truly blessed with a loving family and wonderful friends, literally all around me. Which in truth is a wonderful life, right? Truthfully, I know how different I am from all of them; I cannot give my kids what they buy for their children,or what they gift my children. Our houses are very different and my son once pointed that to me; which reeled me into a frenzy because the one thing I hate for my children to be is jealous. I hate for them to learn that and become that. This comment is not about what I don't have and what my extended family has-that is not my intention I guess this is a another aspect of struggles when I sit in my sister's state of the art kitchen and here everyone talking about a new vacation that is planned and as I nibble on the cheese and cracker she is serving I whisper to myself "Dear Lord can I pay a bill this week?" Is that grace? Because in truth what I know I keep inside me, I think they know, to an extent but it is not mentioned and with what I have I do my best. When we have a get together in my tiny home I welcome my clan with a warm heart and grace! I try so hard to do this not for me but for my children because I want them to see that with grace anything is possible. Does that make sense....Thank you for pointing that out to me, you are a beautiful writer.

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    1. it's lovely. grace needs to be shown in conflict but also in all of the heart issues we struggle with.

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  16. boom. what's that i hear?? there's a preacher in the house. man. it wrecks you though. we went to this magical movie theater and saw polar express for the very first time with the kids tonight... i wanted to stand up when all the little elves were worshipping santa and singing he's coming to town... "you've got the WRONG GUY!!! santa coming to town will NOT save your christmas!!" that could have made for magical christmas memories right there. ;) we are so ALL in for Jesus being christmas. the everything.and yet i balk at being the ultimate magic slayer. we are still trying to figure this gig out... shouting at elves in movie theaters is probably not a good place to start. ;)

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  17. THANK YOU. this is meeting me right where i'm at. i needed to be reminded again the dirty truth about applying grace the right way this season.

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