When I became a Christian. I was a pregnant nineteen year old homeless high school drop out. I was pregnant because extremes were the only thing that made me feel real. I was homeless because I was a runaway. I didn’t sleep on the street, I slept with friends. I didn’t drop out of high school because I wasn’t smart, I have an IQ that labels me a ‘genius’. I was just finished with life. That’s why I was in the situation I was in, I had given up. When I got pregnant, I realized that I couldn’t give up and that I was, in fact, very real.
I learned the rules and followed them. I even made up a few of my own. There was a span of about a year when I only listened to Christian music just to see what it felt like to not recognize any of the secular songs on the radio. I wanted to be around my friends, both Christian and non-Christian, and be able to say I don’t know what song they’re talking about. It wasn’t pride, I was after, it was purity. Dig deeper… I wanted people to be proud of my purity so I could shrug it off and say ‘that’s just what God does.’
I wanted to be innocent, blameless. I wanted to be pure, white as snow. I was a single mom with a tattoo on my ankle. I had some making up to do.
After nine years as a Christian and six years of marriage, I ruined my entire life with an affair. I thought I had, also, ruined my relationship with Jesus.
Only the blackest of nights know the torment of a lamb caught in the thick of dark. Evil is not gentle. Forget about getting up, that’s not a possibility. I just wanted death to come quickly.
When you read Galatians chapter three, flip it to find the grace. Galatians is talking to the religious superheroes who are trying to please God with moral achievement and rule following heroics. If that’s how you please God, then I had no hope. Take my story and listen to the words of Paul as he talks me down from my gallows.
Have you taken leave of your senses? Something crazy has happened, for it’s obvious that you no longer have the crucified Jesus in clear focus in your lives. -Galatians 3:1
I knew what I was doing. I know right from wrong. Nobody tricked me, nobody held a gun to my head. I made my bed, I’ll die in it. Good people don’t do bad things. Godly people don’t do ungodly things.
How did your new life begin? Was it by working your heads off to please God? Or was it by responding to God’s Message to you? -Galatians 3:2
I became a Christian because I was at the end of myself. I didn’t start it, but I could learn the ropes and be good at it. My sin messed all that up.
Are you going to continue this craziness? For only crazy people would think they could complete by their own efforts what was begun by God. If you weren’t smart enough or strong enough to begin it, how do you suppose you could perfect it? Did you go through this whole painful learning process for nothing? -Galatians 3:3-4
I had heard these scriptures for years and never ‘heard’ them like I did in the aftermath of my sin. I was giving up on me, but God wasn’t. He opened my eyes so that I would know the truth He practically spoon fed me. There is no way I can deny the Truth and if it’s actually the truth, then there is no way I can die in my sin. I can’t. Do you understand? Sometimes I just want to talk to someone smarter than me who knows what I’m saying. I want to look someone dead in the eyes and say this stuff and see them get it.
I was so confused back then. How can so many Christians read this same Bible and not see what I’m seeing? I would start to trust their blindness more than I would trust the scriptures I was reading and then Paul’s voice would echo through my brain and give me a headache.
The obvious impossibility of carrying out such a moral program should make it plain that no one can sustain a relationship with God that way. The person who lives in right relationship with God does it by embracing what God arranges for him. Doing things for God is the opposite of entering into what God does for you. -Galatians 3:11
Morality suddenly looked like a cheap knockoff. What? What is this business of God ‘arranging’ things for us and we’re supposed to embrace it? If looks can knock the wind out of you, every character in the Bible was looking me dead in the eye….waiting for me to ‘get it.’ Oh, the trembling…. Story after story was just these people looking me dead in the eye… no words… just a slight raise of the eyebrows. A slight nod of the head.
‘Does she see it now?’
Until the time when we were mature enough to respond freely in faith to the living God, we were carefully surrounded and protected by the Mosaic law. The law was like those Greek tutors, with which you are familiar, who escort children to school and protect them from danger or distraction, making sure the children will really get to the place they set out for. –Galatians 3:23-24
What? I was so hurt and confused and …..used. I felt used. But, didn’t I say He could use me? I couldn’t breathe. My knees buckled.
‘She’s getting it.’
But now you have arrived at your destination: By faith in Christ you are in direct relationship with God. Your baptism in Christ was not just washing you up for a fresh start. It also involved dressing you in an adult faith wardrobe—Christ’s life, the fulfillment of God’s original promise. -Galatians 25:27
The gallows I stood on may have been built for me, but someone else went under the hood before I knew it was mine. The only thing I have left to do is live out the rest of my life and offer it as worship for the One who felt my trap door fall out beneath Him. The fall, the snap, the pain. He did this before I knew I needed it. I couldn’t stop Him, but I sure as heck won’t say it wasn’t for me. The hood He wore… it was embroidered with my name.
This post was inspired by Galatians 3. Galatians 4 is on the way…