Things I never needed

Take a long hard look at my face
Take away the things I can't replace
Take my heart, go on take it away
I've got nothing to say

Take away this sense of regret
Take the things I need to forget
Take the mistakes I haven't made yet
They're all I have left

I don't want to be the one who lets you down
All I did was run myself around
I wish I could have seen through your eyes
Maybe then I would have realized
I'm the only one who's bleeding
For the things I never needed
The things I never needed
~ Things I Never Needed, Grace Potter ~

My mom used to put up notes all over the house, scandalous notes about a passionate Love that was embarrassing to my teenage eyes. Now I listen to a song, and I'm singing it to that Lover of my soul instead of whomever the author of the lyrics was singing to. Try it sometime - take a favorite love song and scandalize yourself singing your heart out to the perfect Lover. Changes things around. I am a Truth-seeker in the darkest corners of a secular world.

I ear-marked every single page of this book - Grace is For Sinners - for a while. I read, and re-read, and ruminated, and sat with an unreadable expression on my face. My husband kept saying, "What's up, hon?" as we lay with noses in books in the small circle of gold lamplight pushing back against the dark winter nights. It was one of those books that hit me hard right in the kisser in my most vulnerable moment, when I'd dropped my hands, when I wasn't protecting myself. My soul flayed out from what seemed, at the moment, like a spiritual disaster. The dead bodies of my own beliefs and values lay like senseless soldiers gutted and lost in a battle no one really intended to fight. Yet, as I read this book, and searched the Scriptures like a Berean to figure out whether it was Truth she typed, those dead bodies started to disappear. In the brightest Light, a lot of things that seemed important get washed out, like an overexposed photo you've bleach-bypassed that looks like a watercolor painting instead of a microcosm of detail.

When your life is ripped to shreds like that, and you lay in the dust at the bottom of the scaffolding that just collapsed underneath you, you know what you need. Wants and desires and wishes and extravagance flee in the scalding painful Truth of that moment. Cancer's job is to shed light on the places you've built walls to protect: selfishness has no place in a life with a time limit. An expiration date on you sends you searching for answers to questions of legacy, meaning, and eternal value. "Paying it forward" becomes less trivial and you pursue a life that matters, now and forever. A life that will be remembered - by children, your husband, your family, your friends, the people who read what you write. Winnows the fluff out of your thoughts and your writing, because every word suddenly has to count. God uses other spotlights to expose our hearts: a big loss - like your church home and circle of friends, support, and fellowship - is like turning the flash on your camera to full blast in a dimly lit party. The faces that still surround you are lit in full brilliance, and everything else fades into the murky background. You know, in that moment when the flash fires and turns up the contrast on this lifescape, that you've been bleeding for things you never should have bled for. You feel the pain of unnecessary wounds, but also healing as you are freed from wrong expectations and expectation-riddled relationships.
Your choice to go the unusual route of maturity will increase your passion of sorrow and joy and in turn will strengthen your resolve to pursue the things of God. Your character will be transformed, not because you are choosing to learn a new skill, but because the Holy Spirit will honor your heart's intention to follow Christ. The battle continues. The growing man or woman will continue to drink deeply from the cup of honesty, repentance, and bold love. Each cycle in the process will strengthen conviction, weaken contempt, and deepen the hunger for more of God. Repentance is facing what is true: "I am a sinner and double-minded, and I deserve to be separated from God." It is a shift in perspective as to where life is found. It is melting into the warm arms of God, acknowledging the wonder of being received when it would be so understandable to be spurned. It is taking our place at the great feast, eating to our fill, and delighting in the undeserved party being held in honor of our return. ~ Drs. Dan Allender & Larry Crabb, Wounded Heart
So you take that one choice that takes guts, discernment, and self-sacrifice. You lose it all in that one big bet...but gain something in intimacy with Christ that you never would've had in your hot little hand if it weren't for that decision that lost everything else. You sit down at the table, laden with the feast, with a sigh. You are the cripple at the table. At so many tables, you would be turned away. But at this table, His table, the feast is for all of us who are broken, bruised, torn and discarded. Those of us who bled for the things we never needed. Those of us who had the things we did need taken away. While we lost the sacred, we gained the most Sacred. And someday, it's going to be a great big celebration, when He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. (this theme found in the Psalms, Isaiah and the Gospels) I close my eyes, and I can feel that day. It's coming. Just a whisper, but it's always on my tongue: Come, Lord Jesus! (Revelation 22:20)