Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Art of Spring . . . and of Easter


It began a couple weeks ago when I picked up 
my journal from 2004
to create an art journal
for

I picked up the journal to make
cute, happy, new spring things.
To learn some new art skills
from the sweet spirited,
Jesus-smitten
Junelle Jacobsen
from her

I decided to use this old journal
...to paint over some pages...
and practice art.

But I have noticed it with other journals of mine that I have picked up...
or thrown away.
Things I have written in the past.
This is what I noticed:

Shame.

Contempt . . . a feeling of superiority even...

over

my

old

self.

Like I wanted to cover it up and not read it because I remembered
who I was and what I was struggling with at that time,
and not only did I not want to revisit it, but I felt embarrassed and ashamed of who I was 
at that time in my life.
I felt like I should have known better then.
AND,
I felt a bit of having "arrived" at a new "awareness" that was "better"
than the old me.
And I wanted to HIDE HER 
the 'old me' and the 'young girl' I used to be.
I even felt like despising her...
and the "her" was me.

I thought these thoughts of . . . 
I was so foolish to dream and hope for that.
I was so naive.
I was so immature to want that.
How humiliating.
I hope nobody reads this or sees it.
I am embarrassed about this.
I thought I was so ______, but I really was ________.
I can't believe I did that.
I can't believe I couldn't see through that.
How could I not have been strong enough to say "no" to that?

And right in the midst of these thoughts,
I heard this new thought,
Have compassion.
Love her right where she was.
Have compassion for yourself.
Love yourself
in that moment.
Have compassion for the journey you were on.

H. a. v. e.

c. o. m. p. a. s. s. i. o. n.



I have been painting cute, fluffy chicks
and this is what is going through my mind,
of all things!

Right there,
in my journal
it says to
Write down for the coming generations
what the LORD has done,
so that people not yet born will praise him.
Psalm 102:18

And as I type this, my fingers are shaking
because I am going to write this down and publicly share this
because someday I will look back on myself in this moment
and I can choose to chide her {me} for being naive and immature,
or I can choose to have compassion for who I am
at this moment of my journey.
And give her {me}
grace
for the journey.


This is what I realized and wrote this morning.
And I want to share it,
in hopes that it helps YOU.

I can choose to view myself in my past
as a little girl, 
as an 11-12-13-14-15 year old girl,
as a young, full of dreams, ready to conquer the world 20-something,
as a new and clueless wife and mom . . . 
with
contempt and shame
or
with compassion.

Compassion 
for a girl 
trying to find love and belonging and security
and falling flat, 
and searching in many wrong places,
on a journey.



Here is the thing:
if I view myself in the past with contempt, shame, humiliation, as a fool,
I will be arrogant thinking I have somehow "arrived".
I will have an air of superiority toward myself in the past . . . 
and I will also have it toward others.

And here is the other thing:
If I view myself in the past {way past and even moments ago}
with care and compassion, with love,
as a child made in the image of God - -
if I view myself in the past 
as if she were my own daughter Sydney or my own daughter Erin,
I will view other people that way too...
With value and love 
no matter what 
they were learning and growing and struggling with.

I would see them as worth helping, worth rescue, 
worth teaching and guiding with love and good intention.

If I see myself in the past, in my mistakes, and worst moments and wrong beliefs and foolish actions,
as a person with value on a journey 
of searching for love and belonging, acceptance, 
a place, safety, security, searching to find if I even had value,
then I will see others in their struggles
as a person with value,
stumbling along forward in their journey.

When I look back at who I was with compassion,
I see that I was and am still on a journey that God has redeemed and is redeeming
by creating things of deep, priceless value 
out of my worst moments and hardest seasons.


If I can see that about myself,
I can view others with care and compassion for their journey,
their life of working it out, searching it out.
I can see that they have value and honor right where they are,
as a child of God, created in the image of God,
as a person that Jesus thought was worth going to the cross for...
right at that time
of 
worst
moments
of
worst
season
of worst 
. . . sin.


When I was embarrassed about my old journals,
I noticed that I was despising who I was,
ashamed of my apparent foolishness,
and I was trying to remove who I am now,
from who I was then.

But if I try to completely remove my current self
from who I was,
I remove the compassion for the girl on the journey.
If I do not have compassion for my journey,
I will not have it for anyone else.
I become proud, arrogant, judging.

And yet, there is something in me like a buzzing mosquito that is trying to say,
"Well, you are just trying to let yourself off the hook for those wrong things you thought and did,
and if you let yourself off the hook, then you are letting others off the hook,
and then we've lost control
because people won't be accountable for their actions
and then we will be too soft-hearted . . .
and evil will prevail because you're not being hard enough on those law-breakers . . . 
and . . . 
and . . . 


But here is the Easter thing that I learned on
these pages of sketching whimsical cows
and cute fluffy chicks:

When I look at myself in those worst moments
and realize that God, that Jesus, saw those worst moments
and loved and valued who I was in those
foolish, shameful, humiliating, immature moments,
as worth dying for,
it gives value to myself and to other people.

Why have I not seen this before?
Is this completely obvious?
Because if feels huge to me this morning!

Like it feels as if I am seeing this source of pride and arrogance
that is so offensive
and I am seeing the source of it in me and the way I look at myself.

Here is what I also see that is 
amazing love, amazing grace, unfathomable, WONDERFUL:

In those moments,
that I wanted to cover up,
and hide and distance myself from,
I could have compassion for who I was then.
That is exactly what God the Father did and what Jesus did.
He saw me with love as valuable enough to do this:

God the father did the unthinkable.
He handed over his son.
Like me handing over my Tom or my Sydney or my Erin
to the worst perverted abusers and murderers
to be payment
for me . . . for my life.
Because my life was worth rescue.

The Father gave his child.
UNTHINKABLE
as a parent to give my child over
to anyone who would harm them.
Simply unthinkable.
Whose life would be worth that?

And then Jesus.
Gave Himself
to be humiliated, mocked, beaten and beaten and beaten,
spit on, clothes ripped off and strung up on nails,
and bleed out.

For the person I was in my worst moments,
that I was feeling like despising,
but that I can have compassion for instead.

See the value in me.
See the worth in others.
Love myself on the journey.
Love others on their journey.

See, we all have a story.
And there is always more to it than what appears.

A diamond covered in sewage is still a diamond.
It is worth getting out and cleaning up.

How much more is the life of a person
worth helping out and cleaning up and loving?

{Thank you Melody Ross for teaching me this here: 

And if I can't see it for me,
I won't see it for others.
But if I can and do see it for me.
I can see it for other people too.

GRACE.

It's not about selfish, arrogant, all-about-me self-love.
It's about compassion and value and honor and grace.
And how God sees us.
Seeing ourselves and seeing others with love and precious honor and value,
in all the foolish and humiliating stuff.
All of that can be washed off by God.

We can accept it like a wrapped present.
Or reject it.
Or try to earn it.

It is my choice.

That is why He said that the greatest commandment
is to
Love God with all your heart, mind, soul, strength
and to love your neighbor as yourself.

We cannot do it until we see ourselves with compassion and value.
Then we see others with compassion and value...
worth dying for.



I am asking myself this question,

How do I see the love of God the Father and the Son and what the cross was really about?

Today my answer is that it was a brave, fueled by love, rescue mission disguised to many people in weakness but backed by more brute power and strength and intelligence and valor and honor
than all the military forces and weapons and strategies imaginable.

A rescue mission
for that little girl I was.
For that confused searching woman I was.
Searching for love, security, to prove my worth.
In wrong places.
In so many wrong ways.

I was taken off the hook,
by the One who went on the hook.
And it means everything.
And it changes everything.
How I see myself.
How I see others.
How I speak of and to myself and of and to others.
How I treat myself and how I treat others.

It comes from how He treats me because of how He sees me.

Things can get all messed up and ugly
when it comes to sharing faith in this world.

But this is so beautiful.
So wonderful.
So healing.
And when I finally see the truth of how God sees me,
I am absolutely amazed
and loved
and secure
and in awe
that
He 
gives what I have always searched for
even when I didn't know what I was searching for...
how can I not tell other people about this????

*
Linking up with
Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood
here:



2 comments:

  1. "...if I can't see it for me, I won't see it for others." Power filled words. I have the same relationship with my old journals, don't want to have ever been that person, so filled with herself, so willful and so wrong!! But even then I knew God loved me. It was in the aftermath that my shame made me believe that I had lost that love. You have given me so much to think about in this post and I thought you should know it. God bless Junelle, and Christy, and all us Art of Spring girls who have much to be grateful for in having been led to each other, to sketch and paint in joy together!

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a wonderful post! I've bookmarked your blog (and this particular post) so I can come and read it and be remembered how I feel right now in this moment. I loved it ALL, but this is what touched me the most:

    And then Jesus.
    Gave Himself
    to be humiliated, mocked, beaten and beaten and beaten,
    spit on, clothes ripped off and strung up on nails,
    and bleed out.

    For the person I was in my worst moments,
    that I was feeling like despising,
    but that I can have compassion for instead.

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, for allowing God to speak through you and to my heart this morning!
    LOVE, HuGGs, and many blessings to you sweet sister,
    Debi

    ReplyDelete

Welcome ~ share your beautiful thoughts.