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This post is part 13 in a blog series that I have entitled “the wilderness between legalism and grace,” in which I share how I came to realize that I had an incorrect view of God and self and how I became free of the system of legalism whereby I was trying to earn God’s favor. You can view all of the posts in the series here on the series landing page.
When we first got married, we lived in a one-bedroom apartment. Our trash had to be carried to a dumpster a short walking distance from our unit. One morning I walked the trash down to the dumpster only to find a dozen beautiful red roses poking out bag at the top of the trash pile.
You better believe I went dumpster diving and rescued those roses.
My only guess that the discarded roses were the result of some lover’s quarrel gone wrong – very very wrong. But I didn’t care.
There was an invisible tag on the roses. It said “To Aprille, with all my love. -God.”
It had to be him. There was no doubt.
While not inherently a problem exclusive to legalism, we Christians tend to think that God doesn’t notice us. That he is distant and can only speak through our daily dose of Psalms and Proverbs or through the sermon at church. And for people like me who were daydreaming in church and had a very hard time even opening the Bible, that means that we don’t see or feel God much. God doesn’t seem all that relevant.
But that day, God didn’t just remind me of his unending love – he taught me an important lesson:
God isn’t limited to using the “churchy” stuff to bestow love, care, and guidance onto his children.
God uses the ordinary stuff. God uses the human stuff. Even the dirty, messy, smelly stuff.
God met me at the dumpster.
I’ve “heard” God in a Rascal Flatt’s song. I’ve “seen” God in the steam rising from a latte shared with a friend. I’ve “felt” him in the smallest grains of sand that I crunch between my toes at the beach. I’ve “tasted” him in the goodness of a chocolate chip cookie after I hadn’t had one in over a year. I’ve “smelled” him in the sweat at the gym when I’ve raised hands in praise while singing “Oh I’m running to your arms, the riches of your love will always be enough!”
His messages say, “Aprille, you are loved, you are important to me. There is nothing so small, or ordinary that I won’t reach down into the tiniest ounces of messy humanity to show you how much you mean to me.”
This is why I love Instagram. This is why I have a series called Beauty in the Mess. Because my life is full of love letters from God, and I don’t want to miss a single one.
God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being;
I know how hard it is to feel and see God when you are recovering from the hurts of legalism. When God doesn’t seem relevant to your messy life. When God seems really far away and you aren’t even sure if you even want that to change.
But God isn’t nearly as far away as you think. Open your eyes. Look around you for his love – for his grace – today in the ordinary, in the human, in the messy, in the everyday. He’s there, waiting to love you.
If you wanna know what grace looks like
Let love open up your eyes
It’s not that far away
You might be amazed!
It’s all around look and see
What God does for you and me
Seek and you will find –
If you wanna know what grace looks like
Can you tell me a time when God showed you he loved you through something very ordinary? Has God ever met you at the dumpster? Share in the comments!
To view all the posts in this blog series, visit the landing page.
Next post, part 14: Cheating on my church