The sun sets unbelievably pink and lavender, sets on a day filled with mistakes, brings the darkness that has filled my heart all day into the world, night always to be weathered before it pulls up day. Two of my best friends hover on the edge of divorce, and I am there to pray and love and accept. But I flee that sorrow-filled room, back to the warm arms of the husband who still loves me, whom I still love. My son acts up all day and finally goads me to explosion in the evening, ironically the evening I write about how I want to parent. It grates. I flee his constant tears and whine and I am on the porch swing with the black cloud of self-reproach stealing from the sunsets glory.

I want to be so much farther on the trajectory of Christian life, so much further from that old sin that I've supposedly died to because Christ lives in me. It's not dead yet. I'm still trying to pack down the grave site of my sin, pack it in so it can't reach an arm up through the dirt to grab my ankle anymore. Sin's bony claw reaches through, now and then, and I am in the grip of an old way of living that I thought I buried years ago when I lost my voice after cancer surgery. But no, I can raise my voice, I can stamp my foot in frustration, I can wither the child lost in temper tantrum with a look, hard and fierce, from my brown eyes.

And so my heart breaks a little on that porch swing. I am so disappointed in self. This steals from Christ all over again...the pity party that follows my fall keeping my attention focused on self instead of the Cross. Ugh. I throw off the despair like an unwanted moth-eaten sweater, and try to shrug on Grace. 

The darkness is gone. The sun is up. The Son is out. But the Son isn't finished. One surprise still awaits them. "Suddenly, Jesus met them and said, "Greetings". The women came up to him, took hold of the feet, and worshipped him. Then Jesus said to them, "Don't be afraid. Go and tell my followers to go on to Galilee and they will see me there'" . The God of surprises strikes again. It's as if he said, "I can't wait any longer. They came this far to see me; I'm going to drop in on them." God dies that for the faithful. Just when the womb gets too old for babies, Sarai gets pregnant. Just when the failure is too great for grace, David is pardoned. And just when the road is too dark for Mary and Mary, the angel glows and the Savior shows and the two women will never be the same. The lesson? Three words. Don't give up. Is the trail dark? Don't sit. Is the road long? Don't stop. Is the night black? Don't quit. God is watching. For all you know right at this moment he may be telling the angel to move the stone. The check may be in the mail. The apology may be in the making. The job contract may be on the desk. Don't quit. For if you do, you may miss the anwer to your prayers. God still sends angels. And God still moves stones. ~Max Lucado, "He Still Moves Stones"

One of those shipwrecked friends sends a prayer in letters to me, and I pray them with her. Lord, I'm broken....I boldly claim your promise that you will not break a broken reed. I'm broken. Please send me help. Help to heal my broken heart, help not to become bitter, help in finding a job wit benefits, help to caring for my son, help to find the right council for the divorce, ;;;to "forgive those who trespass against us....". Lord I need a legion of your angels to surround me, I desperately need your protection, your love, your grace, your mercy, your healing -physically and spiritually. Please Lord....hurry....Amen.

O come, Lord Jesus, and rescue us from these lives rotting around us. Rescue us from the power of sin, teach us to lean hard into your Grace. Live Grace. Before I die, might I live Grace?
What shall I do with you, my love

What shall I do with you?
For your loyalty to Me is like the morning clouds,;
Like the dew that goes away so early.;
What shall I do with you, my love?
You keep bringing Me sacrifices
To ease your mind, 
 But it's your heart that I want.

Hasn't it been a long road
With disappointments,
Chasing after lovers
That just throw you away?

And are you done fighting now?
All the love it takes to lighten you,
Shame was never meant to be your portion.

Though these sins are red as scarlet,
I will wash them white in My mercy.
~Kristene Mueller, Mercy~