Dec 18, 2016

The saved and heathens alike...

“I like to compare God’s love to the sunrise. That sun shows up every morning, no matter how bad you’ve been the night before. It shines without judgement. It never withholds. It warms the sinners, the saints, the druggies, the cheerleaders – the saved and the heathens alike. You can hide from the sun, but it won’t take that personally. It’ll never, ever punish you for hiding. You can stay in the dark for years or decades, and when you finally step outside, it’ll be there. It was there the whole time, shining and shining. It’ll still be there, steady and bright as ever, just waiting for you to notice, to come out, to be warmed. All those years, I thought of God and light and the sun as judgmental, but they weren’t. The sunrise was my daily invitation from God to come back to life.”
-- from Glennon Melton’s “Carry on, Warrior: The power of embracing your messy, beautiful life.” 

Because, when I say I’m “often a mess, yet saved by Amazing Grace,” books like this just scream out to me. And apparently, they scream LAURA THE HOT MESS EXPRESS to dear friends who aren’t on social media to know that’s my stand-by self-description. They just know me. They know me and my messes and love me anyway, which is really quite admirable. And they surprise me with a copy of this in the mail. I inhaled this book this weekend. 

As previously mentioned, Glennon also has a chapter titled “Inhale, Exhale,” which starts: “Reading is my inhale. Writing is my exhale.” 

I did a lot of both this weekend, dog sitting in a hundred-plus year-old ranch house in the midst of a seriously badass winter storm. I moved from my computer station on the couch to the firewood pile to the fire to the kitchen to the couch. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. For three days. Reading. Writing. Inhale. Exhale. 

In those exhales, I hope I also learn to breath out a love like God’s. My prayer today: God, please, please, please – give me the gumption to love like you do. The gumption. Courage. Grace. Confidence in your warmth as it rises and touches every frozen place and brings us back to life.

Stick it to my heart and my tongue and in my thoughts. I'm so forgetful. I read your word and take in your warmth and hold it selfishly, thawing out my own thoughts and hurts and fears with it, like it's a fire to gather around. 

But you can take my word on this — four days of gathering 'round a fire in solitude is warm and comforting and re-energizing and all, but it leaves you stinky and smoky and greasy if you don't get out in the sunshine to blow the stink off. And when you do finally step outside into the real warmth, the real sunshine, the reality of that self-warming fire hits you like a ton of bricks when you step back inside and take a deep inhale. 

And I say "you" like this heathen in particular has higher standards of personal hygiene than not showering or changing clothes when I'm not seeing anyone but a lovable border collie for four days. I don't. I stink, yo.

And I'm guilty of treating God's love more like a fireplace than the burning ball of sunshine that it is. I treat it like a place I can cozy in to, maybe invite some friends to, maybe even help some others start their own. I love it when others start their own fire or share mine, but it's still a little limited. Sometimes I compare my tiny little campfire to others' bonfire and feel a little jealous. 

But God, you're a ray to reflect that never ends. Steady. Bright. Brilliant. Honest. True. The same today, yesterday and forever, for every soul on earth. You are so good. Shine, shine, shine. 🙌

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