Apr 022013

I forget things all too quickly.  Sometimes it’s easy for me to focus on my current struggles, challenges and pains.  And focusing on them can make my struggles feel big and untamed.

Struggling with body image, food, self-acceptance and shame has been a part of my story for over 13 years now.  When I get stuck in thinking I am the sum total of my old struggles, habits and choices… defeat, doubt and hopelessness are allowed to take up residency in my spirit.

But I am so thankful my story does not end with a constant, unchanging struggle.  And neither does yours.

This past weekend we celebrated Easter.  As I went to church with my family, I was expecting to hear about Jesus’ death and resurrection and how He gave us life.  But I was struck with something different from our Pastor’s sermon.  I was reminded how powerful the story of Jesus really is.  His life, death and resurrection IS the power of the gospel.  And it is through His power, we are changed.

Instead of sitting and stewing in our past or our old habits, it’s good to simply remember.  To remember who we were before we let Jesus in and see how His power has transformed us.

I am no longer my past.  I am no longer defined by my greatest fears of who I used to be.  I am no longer stuck in my mistakes or my weaknesses.  I am free from shame.  I am not sentenced to emptiness, hopelessness or wondering.  I am accepted.  I am transformed.  I am made new.

My shackles are gone.  My fears have been won.  My life has beauty.

I have hope, grace and redemption through the power of Jesus’ story.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” 1 Corinthians 5:17

There is a song I just can’t get enough of as of late.  It’s called New Man by a group called All Things New.  I loved it before I heard Sunday’s sermon, and love it even more now.  God is giving me some powerful reminders that I have been made new through Him.  Maybe you need this reminder today too.

“God, You have made me new
You’ve restored my heart and
Turned these ashes into life
Oh God, You have pulled me through
And everything I was is gone
And washed away for good
I’m a new man in You.”

Are you defining yourself by your past or allowing it to keep you shackled?  Think back to who you used to be… how has Jesus’ story changed you?



© 2012 Standing on Peace

Sep 272012

Forgiveness is the name of love practiced among people who love poorly. The hard truth is that all people love poorly. We need to forgive and be forgiven every day, every hour increasingly. That is the great work of love among the fellowship of the weak that is the human family.”

~Henri J.M. Nouwen

I am both relieved and reviled by this quote.

Generations of over-achievers have gone before me on both sides of my family. We don’t do things poorly. We push through until we get it right. Where we are weak, we work harder.

So I chafe hard against the idea that in the area that counts the most, that of love and relationships, I will not reach my standards for myself; I will not meet my own expectations.

And yet these standards and expectations exhaust me!

I am a limited, aging, needy, distracted human being.

This fact is a daily disappointment to me. But because it is the unavoidable truth, what a relief that it’s not perfection but forgiveness that is the “great work.”

Much of my time is spent running around cleaning up after people—their dishes, socks, crumbs, spills, careless words, and impulsive actions. The other day I stopped in my tracks, dirty socks in hand, as it hit me that this is how God spends much of his time as well.

“You restore the wasted years, you build the broken walls, your love replaces fear, your mercy makes us whole. Adopted, healed, and lifted…” (Aaron Keyes, I Am Not the

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). Tears sprang as I heard this song and was overcome by the sweetness of a God who runs around cleaning up my messes, fixing and repairing what I have broken. He is not above janitorial work.

Sometimes when I’m in the darkness of disappointment over a painful parenting moment or missed opportunity, a little light comes on. It dawns on me that the sting of regret doesn’t have to be the end of the story. The

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episode is still unfolding, the “great work” is yet ahead.

I pray under my breath for an opportunity to go back and ask forgiveness or give it, talk about it or listen. I pray for a chance to be present in the way I would have like to have been the first time around. I am amazed and humbled by how many times I get this chance.

Leonard Cohen sings, “Ring the bells that still can ring, forget your perfect offering. There’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”

Do you have a story of a time when you loved poorly, and then saw

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the light and love of God come in a fresh way for you or your kids?



© 2012 Standing on Peace