When I was in (Christian liberal arts) college , I was the angst-y sort. I listened to Counting Crows and Ani DiFranco. I dated a guy who wrote a play about an intelligent but melancholy chick who questioned everything. Her name was Sarah, and she was (TA-DA!) me. In the play, titled The Bridge, Sarah (played by moi) stood on a rickety old wooden bridge with different people in her life and discussed deep issues like how-far-is-too-far and did-my-parents-screw-me-up. The play was a huge success.
I made a friend who was a kindred restless spirit. He and I would sit around on the (for real) old railroad bridge near our school, smoke cigarettes, and contemplate weighty topics with the earnest duality of angst mingled with idealism. We decided that there are two types of people – blinking lights and steady lights. We based this insightful metaphor on the radio towers that peppered the endless Indiana horizon. These radio towers gleamed blinking lights on their pinnacles and steady lights on their lower rungs.
Blinking lights were on top, we mused, but they paid the price by switching off half of the time.
Steady lights were, well, steady. They were unfailing, dependable; but lower.
(D to the RAMA…….)
I lived like a blinking light. After all, I had a well-developed metaphor to justify, right?
Throughout my twenties, I danced a long, broken rhythm of failure and salvage. Through both extremes, I learned that I am the beloved object of divine pursuit. I began to recognize the steel underpinnings of mercy in an inconsistent life. Slowly, I understood the cost and the glory of holiness. The Holy Spirit transformed me deliberately, excruciatingly, through a lifeline of grace in the murky waters of regret and loss. The joys of those years far outweigh the pain. I finished college and graduate school, moved to breathtaking Colorado, met and married my best friend, gave birth to two miracle babies, experienced indescribable healing, settled into a beautiful life. The theme of my twenties was REDEMPTION.
though i have closed myself as fingers, you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens (touching skillfully,mysteriously)her first rose. (e.e.cummings)
As I approached my thirties, to be blunt, I wanted to get off the crazy train. No more aching crashes and burns, no more falls from earthly grace. I began to hunger for my long redemption to produce the quiet solidity of righteousness. The theme of my thirties is PURITY. I ask God to transform me from a wrecking ball into a rebuilder as He purifies me.
But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach and it will be given to him. James 1:5.
The Lord whispered the theme of PURITY for my thirties through my friend Tosha, who has a theme for every decade of her life. To cultivate PURITY, I prayerfully decided to devote myself to developing a PURE character trait through every year of my thirties. Last year, the character trait was truth. This year, it is forgiveness.
(Why do I choose forgiveness? Click here to read why.)
Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. Make level paths for your feet, so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed. Heb.12:12-13. I thought I was good at forgiving, but, to my shame, I have discovered recently that my arms are feeble and my knees weak. This year, I pray for strength deep and abiding to be a grace-giver. I remember well my seasons of limping, falling forward into grace. I want to shine a light of grace on those in darkness. I want to build a towering monument to forgiveness in my life. Blinking or steady, it does not matter; I want to shine forgiveness from a glowing countenance free from shame and strongholds. This is the year of forgiveness.