It's Been A Horrible Summer

9/03/2017

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

I'm currently sitting on the floor of my room, surrounded by boxes, and more piles of clothes my minimalist-wannabe heart wants to admit I own. It's a pretty good reflection of how chaotic my mind and heart feels right now. I thought of titling this post something a bit more poetic - but you know that point of exhaustion you reach sometimes where just the barest, simplest explanation is all you can muster? Yeah. That's me right now. And it has been a horrible summer. 

Heartache. Emptiness. Loneliness. Sickness. Selfishness. Weariness. I've felt them all in these past few months. Sometimes one at a time, sometimes all at once. And if I was going to put a poetic title on this post, it would probably sound something like, "WHO AM I NOW". I'm not the same Beth I used to be. I hurt. I ache. I'm tired. So much pain, everywhere. And no one thing is the cause but rather a thousand things at once, many out of my control and a few very selfish things that were very much in my control. A butterfly effect of misery, honestly. And still, God is faithful. Still, through it all, I hear the words whispered to my heart.

Oh, darling. You're already forgiven.

A few days ago, I had spent most of the morning rehashing each and every mess up I had made personally, and in my faith, over the past few months. Like a movie reel on repeat - Beth Atkinson Starring in: Colossal Failure, which had quickly turned into a double feature - Colossal Failure II. I'm sure they'll be working on yet another a sequel soon.

How could I be this person? How did I get here? How many more mistakes is it going to take? I was acutely aware that I had failed. That I was unworthy.

But - "Oh darling. You're already forgiven." stopped me in my tracks. Lord? What do you mean I'm already forgiven? 

Isn't that cheating? Don't I deserve to pay a penance?

You've already been forgiven. The price has already been paid. 

After all this time - after everything I've learned in my own life, in church, through this blog - I have realized that I still don't understand grace. I needed that reminder. Yes, I had confessed my sin. Yes, I was doing my darndest to move forward and cling to the cross any way that I could. Yet I still felt like I needed to be punished. Over and over. That I should just give up and wallow in all my self pity and shame, and be doomed to pay for my mistakes no matter how much time passed or how often I had repented.

Dearest. If that's you today - you need to know. Forgiveness is free. God's love covers over every part of you. His grace is sufficient. And once you belong to Him - there's nothing you can do to remove yourself from his arms. You aren't stuck where you are. Let the gospel remind you that once you ask for genuine forgiveness - it's yours. Slate clean. 

Stop beating yourself up. It's gonna be hard. It will require work, it will require sacrifice. But that's the glorious path. You've made the commitment to become so much more than what you are on your own. And trust me - from a gal who is exceptional at trying to be better on her own - you're never going to do it. No matter how far you've gone, you can always come back. No place is too dark or too broken or too scarred to be changed and made into a new, holy, beautiful thing. You think your secret wasn't known before time began? You think that your shame is too big? The price was paid a long time ago. You don't have to carry the weight of it all anymore.

Because, darling, forgiveness is yours. All you've ever needed to do is ask. 

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