I met Laura Beth back in April at a writer's conference. We sat across the table in a dingy dive bar in SE Portland, and listened to those around us talk about life, God, disappointment, therapy, kids, and how sometimes we just don't believe in God. She's brilliant, southern, and a great writer. You can find her blog at lbmartin.com or follow her on twitter at @lbmartin77
This is not what I thought I was signing up for when I agreed to follow you; the job description was incomplete. As a young Christian I thought being a believer meant going to church and living the right kind of life; showing up on Sundays, giving the money you “gave” me and doing good works for other people, those folks who were the “less fortunate.” I believed if I followed all your rules and said all the right words that you would bless me with a comfortable life. For eighteen years I kept my part of the bargain.
But you, God, were not content.
Nope, you wouldn’t settle for the scraps of my life that I was throwing your way. So, you turned up the heat. You made me frustrated with a common life. You made me start asking questions that nobody wanted to hear much less give answers to about your nature. You woke me up at night sweating with a restlessness I couldn’t define and this world I was living in could not calm. You made me sick of empty, pretentious relationships. You made me long for a depth and breadth with you I could not articulate. I no longer wanted to know about you, I wanted to know you. I wanted to have a living, breathing life with you or I wanted nothing at all. This time when I buried myself in your word no man taught me what it meant, you did. Once again the words I had read since childhood washed over me but now you showed me who you were.
Grace. Mercy. Love. Forgiveness.
These were no longer just words they became a person who exchanged his life for mine.
They became the love story of a living God who pursued my heart with a steadfastness I did not want nor deserve.
You, sir, were relentless.
You took my heart and broke it over and over as you revealed who I had become and what my obedience to your heart would bring about. The fallout was nothing short of fantastic. But by then there was no turning back.
I was in love. I am in love. I have been set free.
I hope it never ends. I don’t want to go back to living a life satisfied with manna when you are desperately trying to lead me to Canaan. I don’t want to give money and not care about the people in need. I don’t want to not “see’ other people when they are hurting and in need. I don’t want to preach to people about their sin and shame them into finding you.
I want to proclaim the Gospel, the real Gospel that Christ died so that ALL people could be free. I want to shout that God really does love people that he is for them. I want to live as a slave who has been set free by the God who loved her enough to call her daughter.