Tuesday, September 16, 2014

For You



I woke up yesterday in my own bed for the first time in 6 days.
It felt like forever and a single breath.

I kissed my kids' faces off and drove them to school.
And I had big plans to tell you all about my week at Camp Create.

But plans were made for shifting.
So, here I am, rolling up the rug and scooting my big ideas far across the floor. They can wait.

Right now, while the rain falls straight down and taps out a reminder that seasons change and there's not a thing we can do about it; right now, when the house is quiet or wild and you're feeling like you want to grab life by its ears and run with it, or your eyes are puffy and stinging and you honestly don't know if you can do another day; right now I need to tell you something.

God is for you.
He is not against you.

Listen.

He's FOR YOU.
He wouldn't know how to forget about you or write you off if He tried. (He won't.)
You have screwed up and made a mess of things.
You've wounded ones you love.
You've wronged the innocent.

Doesn't matter.

You've told lies and plotted retribution.
You have stolen what wasn't yours to have.
You've chosen poorly, swam a river of greed and selfishness.

He's for you.

You've done drugs. Had sex. Gotten drunk a bunch of times.
You've been a mean mom.
An unfaithful wife.
A hateful sister.

He loves you.
He knows your capacity to turn away, and it does not scare Him.
He wants to take your shards and chuck them into the sea.

You've walked away from community - from Him.
You've felt silly over what you believe in your soul about God.
You've decided you're too smart. Too free.

He's for you.
He created you with that big brain and that thumping heart.
He wants you all to Himself. So He waits.

You've been angry with Him. He dealt you a hand you never asked for.
You feel abandoned, forsaken, like a wide-awake child alone in the dead of night.

He knows it's not always easy to believe.
He knows the risk He ran when He flung us into a world where we're told we don't deserve an ounce of pain. He knows it feels uneven, some days, like a trick or a ruined punchline. And knowing all of those things, He swept us together here, in an untidy pile, and gave us the opportunity to work together, alongside Himself, toward the redemption of the broken places.

He trusted us to find Him in neon lights and shopping malls and endless sidewalks and despairing jobs and broken families and bleak injustice and the exact kind of unfairness that makes us rage until all that's left are our weary hearts.

And just when that pulse drops and we think we're finished, just when we dare to believe - really believe - that He isn't enough or we're not enough or that it's all one poker-hot lie,

He scoops us up.

And He tells us one hundred times in one thousand ways, "I'm for you. I am never against you. I know it seems that way. I know it's hard to trust. I know you think you've run too far from my reach. I know you think you're a goner, a lost cause. I understand. But where you see a spark, I see a forest fire. I see its first plume and its last ember. I see what you can't, the eternal Why, that burning bush where my presence meets your faulty humanity and its end is redemption and beauty that will rocket every heartache away."

There is nothing that can separate God's people from His grand design, where every end spells goodness.
We can't do anything bad enough to turn the wine back into water.

He's got the microphone.
He's up on the stage.
His shirt is soft, His jeans are muddy, His eyes are so kind.

And he shouts while He laughs, His free hand waving us to Him.
"I am so for you. You don't even know. Get over here!"

Then He drops that mic, He jumps down and He runs.
Straight into our mess.

He kisses our faces, not giving a single rip about where we've been, ecstatic - just like a Dad - to have us back.

Bosses and parents and exes and bad friends might be against us.
We might be against ourselves.

But not God.
Not ever.

What are you waiting for? Run. 

31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? 33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. 34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.
35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”[a]) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[b] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. - Romans 8:31-39 (NLT)



* Thank you to Kimberlee and Bethel Music for being God's truth to me today and inspiring me to write it all down for you. Thank you to the Village Ladies and, in a roundabout way, Jen Hatmaker, for kicking my behind just when I decided I didn't need to hit publish. It's uncanny and wonderful, and it's God.

44 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Thank you for hitting publish. :)

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  3. Thank you for speaking God to me. I'm tired, hurting, seeking God right now and this is just one of several ways he has shown up for me today.

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  4. Thank you for writing this(and hitting publish!).

    It's JUST what I needed to hear today.

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  5. I like that you posted scripture along with your words.

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  6. We did need to hear this today...and tomorrow. Thank you, Shannan.

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  7. I agree with every post above this one...this was needed. I'm so so glad you hit publish. These words were not only needed for me, but for a very dear friend. I'm so glad I can pass this along. You have such a way with words Shannan. I appreciate you!

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  8. So glad you posted this. Thank you!!!

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  9. So glad you posted this. Today is a puffy eye day for me. And it's literally raining in Austin as I read this, so you're basically a prophet. :) Seriously, thank you thank you. xoxo

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  10. Beautiful! So glad our paths have crossed. Wonderful message. Speaking truth!!

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  12. WOW. Were you inside my mind earlier today or what!? ;) Holy cow you wrote down my thoughts that I was crying out to Him just a few hours ago. There's no mistake He answered me through your post I stumbled upon in my Feedly tonight. Thank you dear sister!!! xo

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  13. Thank you! I really needed those words today. :)

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  14. Love your imagery friend. Him standing on stage...waiting for me....ahhhh. What sweet truth. I feel like I just had a hard hug. Thank you.

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  15. Ah!! Thank you! Needed this today...need this everyday!

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  16. These words....thank you for being brave and publishing to remind us of truth. This is the real Jesus the world needs to know!

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  17. So beautiful, Shannan. Thank you for letting God speak through your keyboard today.

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  18. I've been hearing this message all over the place and I NEED it. Thank you, Shannan!

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  19. I posted this to my "special" page, coincidentally (or not) next to one from Jen Hatmaker.

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  20. There's no peace like the peace this truth brings. Needed it deep in my soul tonight.

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  21. Thank you Shannan, for this post and for all the rest you've written. Though I've never met you, I feel as though you are a friend. God bless you and your family.

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  22. Thank you, thank you for your obedience. Just what I needed today! I will be sharing with my friends :)

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  23. Oh Shannan - how I LOVE your writing. No truer words could have been said and they are both comforting and encouraging. Thank you so much!

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  24. I needed this today- thank you for speaking into my despair and rage over the unfairness of my circumstances!!

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  25. This I so simple yet the hardest thing to believe that He is for us all the time!

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  26. Had a fight w/ the spouse about me being lazy and not doing enough while getting ready for my 6 week cancer check up. I become nasty and unbearable and absolutely untolerable. Grateful for this reminder nothing can seperate us from Gods love. God understands us at every moment. God forgives.

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  27. I'm reminded of the song, "Oh how He loves you and me." It's beyond our comprehension.

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  28. I've Been Reading Romans 8 This Week. Your Post really Resonates With Me. Thank You.
    Joy

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  29. This made my day. I knew it, but for some reason I believe it more when someone else tells me instead of when I remind myself.

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  30. Wow. ::Drops Mike:: runs over to give you an awkward high five / hug.

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  31. I passed this link along to like 10 different people. I printed it out and put it on my fridge. I have read more than 12 times. I just got married 3 weeks ago and my husband is a youth pastor at a church in Brooklyn. We just found out some hard news that was another blow to our already struggling church. It's been hard to see God at work in any of it but then your words spoke to our soul and we are feeling encouraged. Thank you so much for sharing.

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  32. Oh yes! Very comforting message.

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