It’s gotten pretty laughable lately: in an effort to squeeze every productive moment out of every minute of the day, I have been carrying a bag of reading material with me everywhere I go. [Laughable because sometimes I carry TWO bags! And I do it WAY more than necessary.] I do it
in desperation in the hopes that I’ll be able to steal just one five minute chunk of time for my own mental development, amongst all the other detritus of life (packing lunches, tidying the house, library visits for the kids, and driving to Point A from Point B).
It’s in that last bit of detritus that gives me the highest hopes, especially when my husband is driving and I get to ride along in blissful downtime. That’s where I found myself on Tuesday night, as we drove (for one! whole! hour!) to pick Jackson up from camp. The bad news is we were driving in a pretty bad storm. To keep my adrenaline from shooting through the car roof, I grabbed Derwin Gray’s book Limitless Life from my bag and tried to focus on chapter 6 instead of the wet roads and inattentive drivers around me.
Chapter 5 is called “From Damaged Goods to Trophy of Grace.” Three truths that spoke to me from that chapter: 1) Jesus unifies that which man divides. 2) Damaged people attract the heart of God. 3) The Gift and the Gift-giver are a package deal. I am thankful for the reminder that I am no longer damaged goods and am now a trophy of God's grace!
(For the record, I could write lots more about those three points above, especially #1. Oooo, baby! Man tries so hard to categorize and divide his existence, and it is so painful to be a dividee – and also a divider! Yes, I fit both descriptions.)
Chapter 6 of Limitless Life is called “From Religious to Grace Covered.” Almost exactly six years ago, I walked into a church that – after some time – helped me to understand how I had been living a religious life and not a Christ-centered life. I finally had a true “religious experience” – albeit heavy on the “experience” and light on the “religious.”
Making this slight focal shift unraveled me and grace frayed every edge of my neatly tied knots. It gave me clarity I had been missing for decades, and I fell in love with Jesus. Slowly, Jesus started transforming me and He hasn’t stopped. Like a rough gemstone, He’s been polishing me and I’m learning to reflect His light. He’s purifying me the way a silversmith might purify his treasure which, honestly, can sometimes be pretty painful. But I trust that He won’t leave me in the fire too long. I love what Derwin Gray wrote on page 124: “Jesus transforms us to see people through the filter of His love.”
A few years ago, I remember singing the worship song “Hosanna” by Christy Nockels for one of the first times. The lyric that says, “Break my heart for what breaks Yours” reverberated inside me and I began turning those lyrics into a prayer. And now, some days I ask myself, “WHY DID YOU DO THAT?!” because some days, that heart-breaking can really freaking hurt. But, like Derwin writes, Jesus is transforming me to see His world through His filter.