if His grace is an ocean we’re all sinking.

so lately I’ve been really thinking a lot about grace and what it even truly means for my life. a lot of my close friends know that about a month ago i had this HUGE revelation on grace and for the first time in my life, i accepted it and understood what it meant for me. i had had a deep conversation with my friend Sydney and toward the end of our time together she stated “Liz. You just need to understand grace. You don’t get it at all.” I was initially confused and my pride was hurt a bit. I had gone to church my whole life, of COURSE i knew what grace was! i sang about it pretty much every Sunday right?  wrong.  i really had no idea.  my whole life can be noted by me trying to justify the way i felt by works, but DOING things.  i’ve always loved serving God and doing things FOR Him but somewhere in my joy of serving i marred the lines and what i did somehow equaled what i was entitled to with Him, at least from my own tainted perspective.  well, after having this conversation with my friend, i was very confused and slightly convicted.  if i didn’t know what grace was (biting back my pride and thinking that maybe i really DIDN’T know) well then i really needed to figure that out didn’t i? so…i began asking God and crying out to know what it meant. if i wasn’t living under grace, how could i KNOW what grace was?  in the end i borrowed my friend Cara’s book “God’s Lavish Grace” by Terry Virgo and 2 chapters in i was just bawling. God showed me. i was amazed. i remember just SHOUTING about it to Brian and Lindsey once i realized it, i couldn’t even finish reading more in the book that day because it was too much.  somehow God drew me to read the book of Romans after that and i was WRECKED for days.  in a very very good way.

so… that’s the backstory. and well, lately, i’ve been really frustrated.  a lot of people are asking me “what are you doing in your life?” or “what happened to doing the school of worship?” and the questions about the future just frustrate me. more often than not i avoid them or give some blase answer and change the topic.  the truth is, i have NO IDEA what God wants me to do. He hasn’t spoken to me about anything directionally since i moved in with Brian and Lindsey… then i resigned at my job at Buildabear and that was honestly the last time i had heard direction of any major variety.  i don’t have a lot of HUGE dreams like some people do growing up and they want to dance or run for public office or even get married and have kids…none of these things have EVER been in my heart strongly.  i always thought i wanted to teach and then a year into college i realized that was NOT it and not what God wanted for me either.  lately i’ve discovered two dreams i DO have and as i’ve talked to God about them, it’s frustrated me more and more because i don’t see any possible way for either to ever happen in my life.  i don’t want to be stuck in one town for the rest of my life, having a routine and working and raising a family. that isn’t something i would ever enjoy at least, right now i don’t see it that way.  i want to CHANGE things i want to HELP people i want to BRING TRUTH and i’ve always wanted to travel while doing that, going from place to place.  however… right now that is not what i am doing.  God spoke to me about a season of foundations but i’m really really hating it. i’ve always been such a person of action in situations that i feel strongly about that i just don’t understand why it feels like i am stuck in limbo. don’t get me wrong, learning to know Him is great and getting an understanding of what is it that i really truly believe is also great…the times with Him are amazing and He is SO faithful in them… i just feel like i am so so so so so so SO useless.

but today He has been speaking grace in all of that.
reminding me that it doesn’t matter what i do anyways.
and i cling to Jeremiah 29:11 through all of it.
but still… i don’t like it. this is a really hard season for me.

back to grace though.
i recently came upon this story that i had read ages ago in Josh Harris’ book I Kissed Dating Goodbye
and i really wanted to post it here and share it with my readers.  THIS is the most amazing picture of grace
that i have ever read. enjoy.

In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in the room. There were no distinguishing features save for the one wall covered with small index-card files. They were like the ones in libraries that list titles by author or subject in alphabetical order. But these files, which stretched from floor to ceiling and seemingly endlessly in either direction, had very different headings. As I drew near the wall of files, the first to catch my attention was one that read “Girls I Have Liked.” I opened it and began flipping through the cards. I quickly shut it, shocked to realize that I recognized the names written on each one.

And then without being told, I knew exactly where I was. This lifeless room with its small files was a crude catalog system for my life. Here were written the actions of my every moment, big and small, in a detail my memory couldn’t match.

A sense of wonder and curiosity, coupled with horror, stirred within me as I began randomly opening files and exploring their content. Some brought joy and sweet memories; others a sense of shame and regret so intense that I would look over my shoulder to see if anyone was watching. A file named “Friends” was next to one marked “Friends I Have Betrayed.”

The titles ranged from the mundane to the outright weird. “Books I Have Read,” “Lies I Have Told,” “Comfort I Have Given,” “Jokes I Have Laughed At.” Some were almost hilarious in their exactness: “Things I’ve Yelled at My Brothers.” Others I couldn’t laugh at: “Things I Have Done in My Anger,” “Things I Have Muttered Under My Breath at My Parents.” I never ceased to be surprised by the contents. Often there were many more cards than I expected. Sometimes fewer than I hoped.

I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the life I had lived. Could it be possible that I had the time in my 20 years to write each of these thousands or even millions of cards? But each card confirmed this truth. Each was written in my own handwriting. Each signed with my signature.

When I pulled out the file marked “Songs I Have Listened To,” I realized the files grew to contain their contents. The cards were packed tightly, and yet after two or three yards, I hadn’t found the end of the file. I shut it, shamed, not so much by the quality of music, but more by the vast amount of time I knew that file represented.

When I came to a file marked “Lustful Thoughts,” I felt a chill run through my body. I pulled the file out only an inch, not willing to test its size, and drew out a card. I shuddered at its detailed content. I felt sick to think that such a moment had been recorded.

An almost animal rage broke on me. One thought dominated my mind: “No one must ever see these cards! No one must ever see this room! I have to destroy them!” In an insane frenzy I yanked the file out. Its size didn’t matter now. I had to empty it and burn the cards. But as I took it at one end and began pounding it on the floor, I could not dislodge a single card. I became desperate and pulled out a card, only to find it as strong as steel when I tried to tear it

Defeated and utterly helpless, I returned the file to its slot. Leaning my forehead against the wall, I let out a long, self-pitying sigh. And then I saw it. The title bore “People I Have Shared the Gospel With.” The handle was brighter than those around it, newer, almost unused. I pulled on its handle and a small box not more than three inches long fell into my hands. I could count the cards it contained on one hand.

And then the tears came. I began to weep. Sobs so deep that they hurt started in my stomach and shook through me. I fell on my knees and cried. I cried out of shame, from the overwhelming shame of it all. The rows of file shelves swirled in my tear-filled eyes. No one must ever, ever know of this room. I must lock it up and hide the key.

But then as I pushed away the tears, I saw Him. No, please not Him. Not here. Oh, anyone but Jesus.

I watched helplessly as He began to open the files and read the cards. I couldn’t bear to watch His response. And in the moments I could bring myself to look at His face, I saw a sorrow deeper than my own. He seemed to intuitively go to the worst boxes. Why did He have to read every one?

Finally He turned and looked at me from across the room. He looked at me with pity in His eyes. But this was a pity that didn’t anger me. I dropped my head, covered my face with my hands and began to cry again. He walked over and put His arm around me. He could have said so many things. But He didn’t say a word. He just cried with me.

Then He got up and walked back to the wall of files. Starting at one end of the room, He took out a file and, one by one, began to sign His name over mine on each card.

“No!” I shouted rushing to Him. All I could find to say was “No, no,” as I pulled the card from Him. His name shouldn’t be on these cards. But there it was, written in red so rich, so dark, so alive. The name of Jesus covered mine. It was written with His blood.

He gently took the card back. He smiled a sad smile and began to sign the cards. I don’t think I’ll ever understand how He did it so quickly, but the next instant it seemed I heard Him close the last file and walk back to my side. He placed His hand on my shoulder and said, “It is finished.”

I stood up, and He led me out of the room. There was no lock on its door. There were still cards to be written.

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