Whenever we dismiss someone as incapable of change, we instantly suckerpunch the sovereign grace of God.
We are downsizing His sovereignty to those people and not these. Then we’re no longer talking about God. We’re just exposing our laziness.
You know what I mean. I see a person on their first lap of faith and I make assumptions; I see 0.5 percent of a person’s life and somehow predict their future; I see half a story and presume the whole story. But this is a sort of evil that holds back potential, that undermines growth, that destroys a child’s dreams. It’s an ugliness that I’ve experienced from others, who wouldn’t give me a shot, who wouldn’t see past their negative filters and accusations and condemnations, who saw me as a deadbeat nobody with no hope of a turnaround.
But occasionally, love would cut in and open a door. It grew my heart. It embraced me in.
Love sees a greatness in someone who cannot see it in themselves.
Love keeps no record of wrongs. It hopes in all things, it does not rejoice in evil. It perseveres.
I firmly believe in small gestures: pay for their coffee, hold the door for strangers, over tip, smile or try to be kind even when you don’t feel like it, pay compliments, chase the kid’s runaway ball down the sidewalk and throw it back to him, try to be larger than you are— particularly when it’s difficult. People do notice, people appreciate. I appreciate it when it’s done to me. Small gestures can be an effort, or actually go against our grain (I’m not a big one for paying compliments), but the irony is that almost every time you make them, you feel better about yourself. For a moment life suddenly feels lighter, a bit more Gene Kelly dancing in the rain.
it’s so easy to be nice and the smallest gesture can make someone’s entire day, even save their life, it’s ridiculously powerful and it’s so so so important to be kind to one another
This is your 25-year-old self, writing to a very beautiful, scared 15-year-old you and I want to give you something you never had growing up: hope.
It sounds like this: you’ll get to leave.
The years of pain and abuse and questioning why a loving God would put you in such an unloving home are almost over. A time is coming when you won’t have to go sleep hungry. No one will ignore you when you show up to school covered in bruises. You’re not going to be called, “ugly,” “stupid,” or “worthless” any longer. You get to leave to that tiny town full of people who looked the other way, without your dad.
And you never have to go back.
Unfortunately, you will spend the next 10 years searching for the love and affection you never felt at home. There will be years where that longing isn’t so noticeable. High school is a blast. Those three years at Salina South will make up for all the rejection you felt in grades 1-9. Salina will be your home. You will feel safe and powerful.
You’ll have even memorable experiences in college. You’ll travel all over the continent, live off on the Long Island Sound, meet important people and be shown the love you thought you were looking for. Your junior year of college, you’ll think that love isn’t worth sticking around for and you’ll try to end your life. Multiple times. I’m glad you didn’t go through with it; Veronica, I’m so glad you’re still here.
It gets much better. People will walk along side of you, remind you of your God-given worth and teach you how to love and respect yourself. You will do some very hard work to get to the place you’re at on your 25th birthday. I’m so proud of you.
I don’t have any profound advice for you, because 10 years later you still don’t have much figured out. I do want to tell you that I love you and you’re the coolest person I know. If you can remember that, it’ll help with a lot of self-rejection.
All my love,
When it comes to being gentle, start with yourself. Don’t get upset with your imperfections. Being disappointed by failure is understandable, but it shouldn’t turn into bitterness or spite directed at yourself.St. Frances de Sales (via onlinecounsellingcollege)
Single Laity: Giving yourself wholly to God and His work on Earth.
Religious Life: Giving yourself wholly to God and His Church.
Married Life: Giving yourself wholly to God, your spouse, and your family.
Single Laity: Using your gifts fully in order to bring others to God.
Religious Life: Using your gifts fully in order to bring others to God.
Married Life: Using your gifts fully in order to bring others to God.
This probably sounds mean. But I’ve learned that if you keep saying “Jesus loves you” over and over and over again, it gets old. It gets abused. Not because the love of God is inadequate or incomplete, but because our definition of it is so lazy and lacking.
If you keep saying “God has grace for me” while you stay the same, you have not even begun to understand the implications of the cross. It’s still just abstract doctrine. You couldn’t possibly have met the man who carried the cross up a hill to die for you. You need more grace then, and not less.
I’m saying all this not because I love you less: but because I love you more.
I know it’s mostly subconscious: almost no one wants to abuse God’s love. But if you do not define God’s love as a relentless, furious, soul-shattering power that rescues you from death, then you’re left with a tiny two-inch keychain-god who fits in your pocket and can be tossed at your convenience.
Jesus does love you. He also said it’s better to get into Heaven with no eyes and no hands then you get into Hell with both. We can abuse God’s love without ever changing, because His love is inexhaustible: but why would we even want to? Why settle for a halfway grace? God is offering a glorious life of freedom ahead. I’ve tasted that freedom and I can’t go back anymore. I wouldn’t trade that joy now for anything. I hope you’re desperate enough to find that joy, and that you really mean it.