I have become a slave to sin. A slave to guilt and resentment and ugly shame. When I look in the mirror, I don’t see Kellie Baxter the cherished daughter of the King.
I see shame. I see hiding. I see a slave to sin.
Earlier this summer, I prayed that I would begin to hate sin. Not the kind of hate that only leaves a bad taste in my mouth, but a kind of hate that makes my stomach toss and turn with the thought of it. With that kind of hate, I began to look at myself and be utterly disgusted. Disgusted to find out that, no matter how much I talk about the goodness of God, I have become a slave to sin.
But maybe with that hate, I had began to resent it so much that sin became big to me.
Sin became larger than Jesus.
I had gathered my first session girls into the chapel on the Sunday night of the second week to show them a video called “Jesus Loving Barabbas”. A video that twists perspectives, turns tables, and wipes our eyes into the clarity that we are Barabbas. We had gone through the video until it had completely stopped and decided to quit on us halfway.
We sat in awkward silence in the complete dark.
I had lifted myself off the ground and could feel the chains of sin holding me back.
I held up my notebook and began to read something with the moonlight lighting the chapel.
I make promises and I break them. When my heart hurts, it’s hard for me to see and hear and love. I carry more than I can bear. I judge. I fear. I’m unsure of a lot of things.
and even with this messy, unclean heart of mine, he sits beside me every night and smiles. And tells me He’s proud. Every time. And I want to cry because He is, and was, and always will be and I’m not worthy.
he is the most beautiful story ever told and he chose me. and you. He chose you, Kenna. Maddie B., Taylor, Faith, Madi, Lily, Baylie, Sky, Shelbi, Georgia, Jordan, Randi, Ava, Krissy, Kali, Ashleigh, Gracie, Kathy, Sophie, Kimmy, Kristen, Morgan, Madison, Mandi, Corinne, Chloe, Kali, Chaney
to take part. TO breathe and move and simply be. With Him. AND THIS WRECKS ME.
HE IS THE “I love you”
the “I need you”
the “I am for you”
I released them after that and told them to go to bed. I sat on top of a trailer behind our cabin when they were sleeping and stared at the lightning across from the canyon. I knew that there was something I was supposed to know, and even though I begged God to tell me, my ears refused to listen.
Today, my ears listened.
I flipped to Romans 5 and read this.
“But however much sin increased, grace was always greater: so that as sin’s reign brought death, so grace was to rule through saving justice that leads to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
It seems that I write about grace over and over and over. I cannot deny that I have felt it many times. A man approached me one time and said that he liked my blog. He said it is emotional writing, but he still enjoys it.
I am sitting here today to tell you that the grace I am experiencing right now, sitting here on this wooden chair with a plate of cookie crumbs and an empty glass next to me, is not only an emotion.
This grace is the truth.
The truth is:
The grace of God has abounded more than sin. I have sat and trembled before God’s majesty…yet I am squeamish and skittish before God’s love.
And now it makes sense. It makes sense why I have become a slave to sin.
Because grace is the active expression of God’s love. Grace permeates into everything.
You don’t believe me? You don’t believe that God loves with a magnificent monotony of grace? You don’t believe that every time you wrong God, every time you are so prideful to think your way is better than His, that He still holds the same posture of open arms towards you?
Paul couldn’t get enough of God’s grace. One may even call Paul a one trick pony for lavishly talking about grace.
“God bestows HIs glorious grace on us in His son” (Eph. 1:6)
Grace is received in abundance (Romans 5:17)
The grace of God has abounded more than sin (Romans 5:15, 20-21; 6:1)
Grace is given us in Christ (1 Corinthians 1:4)
Grace extended to more and more people (2 Corinthians 4:15)
The Christian is not under the law but under grace (Romans 6:1)
GRACE IS OPPOSED TO WHAT IS OWED (Romans 4:4)
If the Earth was 55,000 miles away from the moon instead of 250,000 miles, our entire earth would be eroded by the tides of the ocean.
When I think of grace, I close my eyes and imagine the strokes of ocean washing over the depths of my sin. Eroding it like the giant tides from a moon 55,000 miles away. I look down at my hands and see chains no more.
I see a father who, no matter how many times I vomit on myself, bathes me and wraps me in a warm towel. Who has a hatred for sin because of the love He has for me.
I may be a one trick pony too. I may be able to only write about God’s grace. But today I believe it.
Love keeps no records of wrongs, but love cleanses, beloved friend.
We wake up drowning in a ball pit of grace. It is the multicolored, all powerful, active love of our father. A perfect love that reaches out into the ugliest and darkest parts of us.
My heart was crafted for this kind of love. Your heart, my heart, our hearts were hand crafted, breathed into existence by an eternal being whose favorite color, I’m convinced, is grace.
If grace is an ocean, we are not only sinking.
We are breathing it in. We are dancing in it. We are sitting, legs crossed and hands clasped over our heads in it. We are laughing in it. We are free in it. Jesus’ grace is what saved our hearts.
Oh, we have not been set free just to be wiped clean of our failed relationships and white lies. We have been set free for the SAKE OF FREEDOM.
We have been set free so that we can drown in Jesus.
We have been set free.
Trust me, you can no longer look into my pupils and see me finding worth and security in shallow dreams and paper map tunnels of success. No, look into my pupils and see me dancing with Jesus.
No matter how beat up and burnt out I become. I am shattered to the bone by grace and it does not feel natural and it is not easy. But it is good.
Grace is screaming out. Grace is booming at your door. Chains are eroded at the sight of it.
Let it happen.
My chains are gone, I’ve been set free.