Free from Condemnation

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.

                                    Romans 8:1-2

All of my life I have struggled with self-inflicted condemnation.  I would see God, not as the Father who ran to His prodigal daughter, but as the father who was waiting for me to mess up, wagging his finger at me saying, “I knew you would fail.”

But as I have grown in Christ, especially over the last eight years since melding our two families and two cultures into one, I have realized that my Heavenly Father is not waiting to condemn, but with open arms.

And yet, the father of lies continues to taunt me.  Unfortunately, sometimes I choose to listen to him, and the thoughts in my head, and when my emotions spiral downwards I am unable to function as a child of the King.

I am really good at condemning myself, focusing on how much I fail.  But this in the end is selfishness.  If I am constantly focusing on myself, I cannot worship nor thank the God I love, because all I can hear are the words, “I am not a good enough,” mother, wife, employee, or friend.  When this happens, my focus is in the wrong place: I am looking inward instead of upward.

This is where the Word of the Lord comes in.  When I have put this word into my heart, I know that I am not condemned, because I am free from sin because of the blood of Christ.  I am no longer subject to judgement or the law, because I have been set free.

So, even when the devil tempts me to remain in my old patterns of thinking, I use this verse to remind me who I really am: free.

I Have Hymns You Haven’t Heard

“I have hymns you haven’t heard

 

There is an upward soaring

In which I bend close.

You can barely distinguish me

From the things that kneel before me.

 

They are like sheep, they are grazing.

I am the shepherd on the brow of the hill.

When evening draws them home

I follow after, the dark bridge thudding.

 

And the vapor rising from their backs

Hides my own homecoming.”

1, 40 (101 Barrows and Macy)

 

From ( Rainer Maria) Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God

~translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy

 

In high school I memorized several of Rainer Maria Rilke’s poems for a German completion.  Recently, while sipping a latte and  browsing in a used bookstore, I came up on Rilke’s Book of Hours and was excited to find that Rilke wrote many of his poems as psalms to God.  I wasn’t a Christian in high school, but as I have reread some of Rilke’s poems and have searched for the ones I memorized all of those years ago, it is exciting to see the love offered to God in his words.  I am trying to find the ones I memorized, and when I do, I’ll share those too.

Change my Heart of Stone

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.  2Corninthians 10:5

Since beginning this journey in adoption, this verse has come to be my lifeline unto the Lord. Until I found myself at the bottom of a pit though, I never really understood how important this verse is to living the everyday Christian life.

Having been hit between the eyes this morning by my child’s really unkind words, I grasped for my lifeline once again. I dove into the Psalms, finding solace as I spoke David’s words aloud, giving voice to my hurt, anger and hopelessness. And slowly, God answers my prayer, directs my mind towards Him and His hope.

Today, I would really rather just walk away from the daily struggles; to quit would be so much easier. No matter how many times I have begged God to take this cup from me, the answer is always “NO.”

And even so, I am here to share with you that no matter how many times your child (or other person) flings hurtful words, disrespect and downright anger, God will not let you go, will not leave you and will lift you up and place your feet on the Rock (Psalm 91) of His Word.

If my thoughts remain stuck in the hurt, I cannot do as God asks me in obedience to do: love this child no matter how many times I have to subject myself to her hurtful words. But, if instead I simply offer God my willingness to take my thoughts captive, He takes those thoughts and does the work for me and changes my heart of stone into a heart of flesh ready to be molded in any way He chooses to.