Fresh tears hit my shoulder. After-school conversations leave my throat hoarse and my heart raw. Moments earlier, my daughter let shreds of hopelessness bounce off the bright kitchen walls.
“I don’t even know who I am, anymore.”
Walking through change is never easy, and tween life had been taking it’s toll on her. We’ve been able to laugh through many moments of out-of-character outbursts, but today was not one of those days.
“Well, I do,” I assured her. “Do you see that girl?” I asked.
A square plastic frame atop my desk holds onto the picture of her 3-year-old face. Below it, a sticky note contains carefully scribbled out words from a daughter who had witnessed her momma in pain:
“I love you
Mommy and I’ll always
be there for you.
I just want to let
you know you can tell
“You are still that girl,” I pushed the words out through the lump in my throat, “You will always be that girl.”
The truth I spoke over my first-born knocked the wind right out of me. As I listed one attribute of her character after another, her eyes slowly brightened.
“You will grow wiser and change in some ways …but you will always be that girl …and I will be here to remind you when you forget.”
Christ utters the same truth into my heart, and yours. Romans 5:2 says, “Jesus leads us into a place of radical grace.” (VOICE paraphrase)
In one half of one paraphrase of one verse of one book from one Testament of the Word of God …we wrap our arms and minds around who Jesus is, what radical means, and how grace saves our lives.
When I look at my life I hardly recognize anything I would classify as “radical.” It takes strength to be radical, joy to be strong, and faith know joy. But if we look at this verse a little closer, we’ll realize how radical our everyday lives can be …and perhaps already are.
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:2 NIV
“…we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand…” (emphasis, mine.)
Paul is talking about the grace fundamental to who we are. In Christ, the way we were created to be, causes us to rejoice in our everyday lives. By continually coming back to Him, and seeing who we are in Him, we are able to find peace and joy in life. (Strongs 5485)
…”Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith …” (emphasis, mine.)
Faith is the conviction of the truth. The character of one who can be relied on. (Strongs 4102) I can’t be relied on, but Jesus can be. Him in me allows me to be reliable for someone in a moment when they need to know that He knows they are alive and desperate down here. Hurting and barely holding on.
2 Corinthians 5:7 says, “for we walk by faith, not by sight [living our lives in a manner consistent with our confident belief in God’s promises]-“ (AMP)
Walking by faith means to pay attention to the world around us, ready and willing to participate in opportunities to love others each day. (Strongs 4043) I don’t always do that, because sometimes I just don’t feel like it. I have a bunch of problems, failures and missed opportunities I don’t air out on facebook, nor does anyone we’re still following after the political season. But outside of the confines of social media, we need to live radically authentic lives.
My daughters, friends, and others placed purposefully in my life need to hear the disappointments I wouldn’t trust to my facebook friends. God has placed us purposefully in this life. If we hide our gaping wounds, no one heals.
“…for we walk by faith, not by sight …” (emphasis, mine.)
Faith doesn’t operate on what we can see. Even when we’re walking like we should be, we can’t always see the struggle behind the smiles. (Strongs 1491) If we want to have radical faith and live radical lives, we have to turn the “this makes sense to me” filter off, and start operating on the truth of God’s Word. I choose to remember His radical love for me, in the shape of cross.
For the last decade I’ve treated motherhood like a career, reading books, seeking advice and praying harder than I have ever prayed. Being a mom has taught me how quickly I reach the end of myself, and every stage of motherhood includes a part I don’t like to willingly embrace …letting go. With the onset of every aggravated tween-age tone and frustrated glance, I’m reminded.
But I choose to remember who she is, and that makes all the difference.
To function below the surface we have to foster and fight for our faith. Everyday reminding ourselves that we are part of something bigger and going somewhere better. Choose to remember. Aim to receive this radical love every day, from whomever or whatever His delivery system is …then look around to pass it on.