Sown with tears

Those who sow with tears, will reap with songs of joy. 
Psalm 126:3-5

This past week, the week that we celebrate freedom, our pastor encouraged us to remember our moment of spiritual freedom; those moments in which we first began to encounter Christ and experience the freedom He offers us.  

I closed my eyes, trying hard to remember.  It is such a sketchy montage within my memory.  Years of inconsistency mixed with years of running.  So many moments of surrender and moments of reckless rebellion.  But in the middle of montage, there are moments etched permanently in my heart.  Over the years, even in the darkest moments of my life, the Lord prompted me, whispering to my heart, "write this down".  He knew.  That my memory would be sketchy and warped over time.  He knew that I'd need a record of His faithfulness and of His promises.

Jon Acuff wrote a brilliant blog this week about the prodigal son.  It resonated deeply with me, because, after all - I am the quintessential, prodigal daughter.  He wrote about how the son must have felt the day after the coming home party.  He basically wrote exactly how I have felt so many times - completely and utterly overwhelmed by the too-good-to-be-true grace and mercy of the Father's heart towards me.  Even after all that I've done.  After all that I am.  

I have found myself waiting for my punishment to come, to finally receive what I deserve.  Isn't that the essence of our human nature?  To reject that which seems illogical.  And isn't that the essence of the gospel?  That "God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe."  

This human nature and this prodigal heart needs a constant reminding of the very crux of the gospel: Jesus took my punishment for me on the cross.
But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.   Isaiah 53:5

I spent years of my life running from Him, knowing I was wholly unworthy of His pursuit of me.  This morning, He moved me to remember.  So very grateful for all of my years of [albeit inconsistent] journaling, I went searching for an old journal, the one where this all began.  Coffee and journals and highlighters and pens, I spread them all on my bedroom floor with a pillow and laid down, just like when it all began.  And I remembered as I turned each torn and tattered page, I remembered.  This is where my healing began.  This is where my freedom began. 

It was in the midst of my life and marriage falling apart in 2008 that the Lord began to pursue my heart and I began writing.  Pages and pages are filled with my words and His word.  When the marriage ended, I felt certain His pursuit of me would end with it.  And the writing stopped.  

I gave up, and desperately wanted Him to give up on me, too.  

And then I came across this entry and I remembered.  This moment:  The one where I began to write again.  The one where I began to realize that He had not given up on me - and that He never would.  It had been eight months since the divorce was final.  I was His broken prodigal daughter, laying at His feet. All that He'd given me, a husband and a home and two beautiful children, I'd squandered recklessly.
This was the moment he first nudged my heart towards believing Him for the restoration of my life - of my family - and of my marriage.  

My heart was overwhelmed reading these words again this morning, almost four years ago (to the day).     The years in between have been filled with such inconsistency, so many doubts and so much disobedience.  

And it wrecks me all over again.  The beauty of this hindsight.  

His promise was true.

I have sown for years with tears and now weep as I reap with songs of joy. 

In the midst of my faithlessness, He remained faithful.  
Again and again and again.

And I have no words to thank Him for this gift.  This grace.  How do I accept this life restored when all  I deserved was suffering?  

By remembering:  He is the Father who never tires of forgiving.  He is the One who sent His son to suffer in my place.  He is the one who never lets go and never gives up.

The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.
Restore our fortunes, Lord, like streams in the Negev.
Those who sow with tears, will reap with songs of joy. 
Psalm 126:3-5


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