It’s been that sort of month. The sort of month where I fall off the metaphorical wagon, and instead of climbing back on, I decided to sit in the dirt and wallow. The kind of month where I am too tired to get up and chase down that wagon once I realize I’ve been left in the dust– and in my own inadequacies. The kind of month when my mistakes loom, and the new kitty pees on our couch that’s not paid off yet, and I brought home hamburgers for dinner even though once child (and possibly a husband) is allergic to the buns (the gluten free guy ate fries), and another gets sick from them (reflux) and they sure did not help my pocketbook or my “all natural” diet… not to mention, the damage done to the goal of trying to fit into my winter clothes again.

I’ve felt routed from that lifestyle of balance I had worked so hard to maintain, and frankly, I am just worn out by my own emotional baggage. I got caught up in the un-important stuff, and finding focus and direction again seems daunting. I had to make a conscious effort to stop and listen for the still small voice that gently whispers truth (and frankly, told me not to bring the cat home in the first place)… among other whispers I ignored.

So today I escaped from the chaos, and got outside and walked for half an hour, before heading inside to do the Super Challenge (thanks to Leslie Sansone the new, larger, winter pants I bought might still fit tomorrow). And as always, the trees and grasses were healing to my soul, and the climb up and down those hills brought perspective and release- and the realization that I don’t have to be perfect, because Jesus already is.

 If God expected me to get everything right and never fail and never get confused or misdirected, he never would have positioned himself in a lowly manger or lived as Love on foot, nor would he have been compelled to the cross to die as the atonement for everything I can’t seem to get right.

So today, at lunch time when I was paying penance for the hamburger and fries by having a banana flaxseed pancake with almond butter and molasses  (so yummy it almost felt like unholy contrition), I decided I needed to read something REAL. I don’t follow a lot of authors, but a few are honest enough to draw my attention.

Like Anita Renfro who urges me to be more than Clean, or Ann Voskamp whose blog about mental illness and Holiness bleeds hard won authenticity or Jen Hatmaker, who tells it like it is beyond the highlight reel. And after I sought out the voice of others who are brave enough to be honest about imperfections I understood my own experience differently.

I may have flaws, but am not defined by them. My past mistakes do not have to control my current choices. I have the freedom to admit where I’ve been wrong and where I’ve been wounded, and move forward with never ending, all encompassing Grace. I have the power to choose a fresh start, to stop and listen and Be Still when rest is needed, and to get up and walk when movement is the gate to healing and positive direction.

In this moment, when muscles are stretched and sore, I want to soak up more than epsom salt and nutrition. I long for freedom in the inmost places. As David cried out for cleansing after he fell so far from the heart of God, I too raise my voice and say-

Despite all this- all I did, all I didn’t do, You, Oh, God,

 You long to enthrone truth throughout my being;
    in unseen places deep within me, You show me wisdom.
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean.
    If You wash me, I will be whiter than snow.
Help me hear joy and happiness…. {and I} will dance in delight instead. 

Thank you for Cover{ing} Your face so You will not see my sins,
Thank you for {erasing} my guilt from the record.

  10 Create in me a clean heart, O God;
    restore within me a sense of being brand new.
Because of Jesus, you
11 Do not throw me away from Your presence,
    and {You} do not remove Your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Give back to me the deep delight of being saved by You;
    let Your willing Spirit sustain me.
Psalm 51:6-12 (The Voice Translation) 
Words in italics are added because the Psalm was written before the Lamb of God took away all our sins. Because Jesus lives, we can know abundant life in the here and now. So today, this moment, I am turning away from condemnation and towards His beautiful, cleansing light. I know I won’t be perfect in this lifetime, but, Praise Jesus, I will always be restored.
~Just Me 

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