As I'm in the process of writing Wild and Free, I've been digging up some old writing to jar loose words and feelings. I found this short piece about grace that I wrote in 2008. It still feels very true today. I pray it resonates with you as well.
We went hiking last week, which was out of character, but so sweet. It wasn't like us to seek out such a challenge for enjoyment, but the massive steps - lunges straight up with babies strapped to our back - felt really purposeful and right. I was heaving, my shirt was soaked, Glory passed out, Elias cried, Nick stayed strong. We could see where we wanted to go and see what it was we were going to conquer, it was still hard. I almost had to laugh as we watched skinny punk boys in tight v-necks with cups of coffee - walking with their scantily clad, flip-flop wearing gals, stroll quickly by us. We were still heaving, still having to take breaks to catch our breath and recommit to our mission.
I hate to say, but reaching the top didn't feel beautiful or inspiring. It felt like sore calves, wet t-shirt, and oh crap, we still have to go back down. Babies unimpressed by the biggest mountain they may ever see, adult eyes not so much staring in wonder but stinging with sweat. There was even a spat at the top because Dad didn't take a flattering picture of mom. To add insult to injury, we went the wrong way down and had to drive around the mountain backwards to get home. "You can't go under it, can't go over it.... must go around it", he says when we realized we've just added time to our trip.
Grace has begun to feel that way for me, for others. Such a huge mountain to climb - to forgive, or even forget. To allow myself humanity and patience and so many many mistakes. A good day has begun to feel less and less sweet when at dinner I realize there is still laundry, still a quiet time, still emails unanswered. I'm panting with exhaustion over my sin and yours; I remember it as my human legs lift me slowly out of bed in the morning and when I feel them aching in the night. Our entire existence screams a lack of competency, a need for the Fixer. I don't believe my cries for righteousness and I don't know what your voice sounds like when it's truthful. I don't know how to walk forward in full knowledge of both of our sin. Sadly, I don't know how to walk forward in full knowledge that I am so far from the full understanding, and only to know it in part cripples me.
Grace is the obscure mountain that I tried to climb in a dream & Jesus shattered the whole great rock for me to pass out to everyone else. When I woke up I realized that try as I might, I could never climb it. If I happen to look up, I'll see others running by me - completely comfortable, completely unhindered, calling others to come with them. I want to jog up beside them and keep their pace - be the one beckoning to others too.
Instead my burden is to stop trying to go up it or around it.
Grace must swallow me whole.