Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Just as I am

I only like clean, neat, pressed things. If something has a chip or a scratch or a wrinkle I really don't want it any more. Even if it can be fixed but I know where it was fixed I can't get that out of my mind, and it still drives me crazy. I have a sickness of sorts that follows me into almost every area of my life. I need things to be whole. Sunday as I was getting ready for church I pulled on my white sweater and noticed a little wrinkle in the front. Let me tell you this was a newly dry cleaned sweater that came off a hanger, and I know the wrinkle was probably not noticeable to any one else. I plugged the iron in and instead of taking the sweater off to iron the tiny spot I put the hot iron on my belly to try to quickly fix the problem. Well, just as I did that a huge spirt of steam came out and burned me. Not just an ouch--too hot--kind of burn but the kind that left two large burn marks on my stomach.

Every day sine then as I shower or get dressed I see these big red marks on my stomach, and I have been thinking about why I am so afraid to be a little messed up. Why do I feel like I have to keep holding everything together all the time? Would it be so bad to let someone see me with a wrinkled blouse or a dirty house or completely prostrate in tears because I am just too overwhelmed? I think as a Christian I am always supposed to be strong and courageous and full of peace and joy, etc. So today I found some quiet time and started searching the Bible and guess what? God delights in our brokeness. He came to clean up messes. He came to patch us back together with the super glue of His grace and make us whole. Not the kind of repair job where no one can see where we've been either. The kind where everyone can see we were shattered in a million pieces beyond hope and He fixed us! This brings Him glory! When I read the Psalms and the Old Testament prophets I see this so clearly. They weren't afraid to let it all hang out there. They had times of complete anguish over circumstances and sin and their own inadequacies. God included this over and over again in His Word for a reason.

So here I am. I'm a mess. It's ok. I've been saved by a God who has purged me with hyssop and made me clean. He has washed me and made me white as snow. He has bound up my broken heart and gently led me in paths of righteousness. He's not ashamed of the brokeness--the years of promiscuity, drug use, unfaithfulness, idolatry, and even murder. While I was yet a sinner He sent His Son to die for me. He calls me His daughter and He is my ABBA Father. I have been reading several blogs lately where godly women are brave enough to expose the cracks and tell the truth about just how big a mess their lives were before God saved them. I see the response of the readers and it reminds me how scared we are in the body of Christ to really be vunerable. We are afraid to share our sin and our stories of where grace found us. I know for sure this is exactly where God can be most glorified and where He can lovingly call others to Himself--speaking through our brokeness and His amazing love. I am praying for courage today to come to God and live before others just as I am.

Just as I am.
By: Charlotte Elliott

Just as I am, without one plea
But that thy blood was shed for me
And that thou bidd’st me come to thee
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot,
To thee, whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, though tossed about
With many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings and fears within, without,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind;
Sight, riches, healing of the mind,
Yea, all I need, in thee to find,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just a I am; thy love unknown
Has broken every barrier down;
Now to be thine, yea, thine alone,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.


Roller Kosturs said...

Beautiful story (aside from the burn!) And I love this hymn, thank you for putting it into my mind. Thanks for sharing your thoughts...

Natalie said...

Thanks for your encouraging words. I was actually ironing yesterday (NOT a common practice for me) and it was VERY gratifying for a change to have a pressed, wrinkle free tablecloth. I can apply this to my life too...just tuesday I felt called to share my past sin, my messiness, in bible study...but I couldn't because then people would know...

thanks for reminding me that God loves me Just as I am.

I'm sorry we won't get to meet this weekend. Some day maybe :)

robert said...

Thanks for your personal comments. To a greater or lesser degree this is a lesson we all must learn: That we'd never be able to clean ourselves up and patch ourselves up sufficiently to meet the standard of a perfectly holy God. But the wonderful thing is we don't have to! We can come to Him at any time, just as we are.

I appreciate your quotation of Charlotte Elliot's great hymn. Many consider it to be restricted to sinner's coming to Christ for salvation. But it applies to Christians too. We are still to come to the Lord just as we are, without pretense.

Incidentally, today is the 138th anniversary of Elliot's death. If you'd like to learn more about how the hymn came to be written, I invite you to check out my blog today at Wordwise Hymns. God bless.