Saturday, February 23, 2008

I'm ashamed of the horrendous language that just came out of my mouth. “Mom’s reading her Bahble,” I answered an inquisitor. I stopped cold in horror. “Ah just said ‘Bahble’ didn't Ah?!”

Undoubtedly, the best part of the whole day was contained in my bowl at supper—homemade ice cream, made from our creamy “real” milk, in celebration of Nathaniel’s birthday. Somebody stop me before I go all mushy and sentimental, denying that he could be twenty-four, and recalling all the sweet things he used to do for me—like push my swing so that I’d hit the tree, or pull down my dress-up skirt in front of neighbor boys (he thought I was wearing shorts underneath), or chase me around the yard with locust skins (and stick them all over me when he caught me), or rubber band the sprayer nozzle in the kitchen when it was my turn to do dishes, or tell me stories about horrible ways he could die until I wound up crying (he was pretty proud to think I’d miss him so much). By the time he went off to pave his new road at college when I was sixteen, we were best friends, and I did miss him. A lot.

Now he gets to torture someone else. “Nathaniel!” Lauren cracked the bathroom door open and I looked up, knowing the problem immediately. “Did he take your clothes?” “Yes,” she answered, as he emerged from the guest room, snickering.

Still a bit damp from her shower, but finally dressed, Lauren joined me on the couch for some good, old heart-to-heart. As I poured out my frustrations with myself, my confusion with my priorities and my detestation of my motives and thoughts, her face filled with peaceful joy—like nothing I’ve seen before—and she took on the role of encourager, like I’d never witnessed from her before. “There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus,” she reminded me. I’ve been saved, not just from the eternal penalty of sin, but also from guilt. From rules I can't live up to. From penalties for sins of omission. I need to quit helping the accuser beat myself up and start accepting the Lord’s grace immediately. Perfection I possess—in the person of Jesus.

Did anyone hear that? I’m considered righteous, free to walk in newness of life without the Law prodding and poking and threatening me.

All because of Jesus.

Lord, Thou snapped in two my chain,
Whence came these bonds that still remain?
Have I sought to be enslaved,
To Law, which never helps or saves?

Perfection is not found in me,
But in incarnate deity.
These are the bonds that I would choose—
Those who serve Thee, Thou dost loose.

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