Who Would I Be. . . Without Jesus?
I remember my mom fail moments – they’re seared on my heart.
My boys remember them, too – at least some of them. . . and they sometimes tease me about them, sometimes it’s just a remembering and it doesn’t feel like teasing. It feels like letting down.
I remember apologizing for many. . . because I think it’s important to admit to these failures, and, in repenting, show them the path to God’s Mercy Seat. If, as parents, we never failed, how would our sons and daughters know how to handle failure – mom fail moments, dad fail moments, husband and wife fail moments, even friendship-fail moments – and moments we failed God.
One time, after a mom-fail – I don’t remember the details, but I apologized – and I said, “Imagine what kind of mom I’d be without God!” What kind of wife would I be? What kind of woman would I be?
I’d be lost, friends. Lost in selfishness, lost in the brokenness of victimhood. Every wrong, perceived or real, would be unforgiven. . . and, friends, I’d see myself as the rejected, not good-enough pieces and parts, like scrap in car dump. I’d place inappropriate expectations on everyone – my spouse, my kids, my community. I think I’d rage a lot, lose myself to emotional outbursts – when my kiddos didn’t toe the line – and that line would be an extremely sensitive, every-moving line. Love would be conditional.
I’d suffer depression, lots of tears, lots of rants. . . and fear – fear that lived in wait for the inevitable bad to happen. . . and I would hate what I was because I wouldn’t see anything worth having in me. I would be unlovable because I wouldn’t understand unconditional love.
Without Jesus, I wouldn’t have the husband I have or these five sons, either. . . .
Jesus made all the difference in who I am today. . . all the difference!
I know because God was the Father who didn’t walk out. When I ran away, He pursued me, didn’t lose sight of me, like the lost lamb, He picked me up and carried me home. He wooed me to understand the love He had for me, that I wasn’t so broken, He couldn’t put me back together better I was even before I was broken, that I wasn’t a victim, but the warrior daughter of a warrior Father who is an overcomer. He thought I was worth saving. . .
“…Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior;…” ~ Isaiah 43: 1-3
But for Jesus. . . I learned about goodness and belonging – and a Holy kind of loving.
He taught me how to forgive – and really mean it. . . and met me every time I wanted to talk, every time I cried out for help, every time I was hurt, He pulled me close. Like a frightened child lost in the woods, He led me out of lostness into foundness and security.
I asked Him to show me the right man for me – and He did. He gave me the best – and then He showed me how to love this man He gave me – how to love selflessly. He also showed me that those I loved couldn’t fix the broken pieces and parts of me – that was something only He could do. He taught me to put down the phone, stop burdening my friends, and call on Him instead with my challenges. He taught me about healthy expectations in all kinds of relationships – friendships, family – and marriage. He taught me to be a giver, not a taker.
. . . so I cast my cares upon Him because He cared for me (1 Peter 5:7).
When we struggled with infertility, I went to Him, sought Him, asked Him to take the desire away if more children weren’t part of His plan. He heard my cry and filled my home with all these boys. Then He taught me to give my answered prayers back to Him – to trust He had their individual life plans – the blessings, the challenges, the redeeming – just like He had mine.
. . . “Fear not,” He said. “I will help you. . . ” and He did, every step of the way. . .
But for Jesus, my life would be a sad, hard place.
He taught me love doesn’t give up; that love is always a choice and to always choose love, even when I don’t feel it.
“Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
No, my boys don’t have any real idea of what I would be like without Jesus. All of us know I’m imperfect. I mess up. I still express my frustration when I should be kinder. I say the wrong things – and I do the wrong things even when I’m trying to do the right things – but Jesus is mixed in with His grace, His love, His hope, joy, and faith – and that changes everything. . . . it has changed me and will continually changing me. . .
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
~ 1 Corinthians 13: 5-6a
God has spent a lifetime restoring me to His plan, His design. . . and there’s still a lot of work. When I think of who I would be without Him, I admit, my heart feels overwhelmed – and then it about breaks. . . because there are moms, dads, somebody’s kiddos – both little and grown – who are doing it without Jesus, and suffering so very terribly. . . .
“Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.”
~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
I don’t think my boys really thought much about who I would be without Jesus when I made that comment a few years back. . . they probably thought I needed some more of Him in my life. . . but I thought about it, and I am so very thankful He pursued me, redeemed me, and carried me home to His Father. . . and has never given up on me. . .
But for Jesus. . . my life would have been so very different. . .
“ What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are. But that’s also why the world doesn’t recognize us or take us seriously, because it has no idea who he is or what he’s up to. But friends, that’s exactly who we are: children of God. And that’s only the beginning. Who knows how we’ll end up! What we know is that when Christ is openly revealed, we’ll see him—and in seeing him, become like him. All of us who look forward to his Coming stay ready, with the glistening purity of Jesus’ life as a model for our own” ~ 1 John 3: 1-3, The Message
Remember Me Monday: #18 & Linky
“I’ll make a list of God’s gracious dealings,
all the things God has done that need praising,
All the generous bounties of God,
his great goodness to the family of Israel—
~ Isaiah 63:7, The Message
In the Old Testament, God repeatedly, quietly and loudly, tells his children, “You have forgotten me!” (Jeremiah 3:32, Ezekiel 22:12, to name a few). It’s a heart cry from a father to a child who has forgotten all the love, all the saving, helping, little and big blessings – and it leaves me stunned when I realize our Father, the creator of the universe, who knows things I cannot begin to fathom, who authors storylines that leave me amazed, delights in all of us so much, He cries out, “Remember Me.”
While every day is a Remember God Day, I am inviting you to join me on Monday mornings to come by and remember what God has done for you, for your family. Maybe God sent a cardinal darting out in front of you, as if to tell you, “I’m here,” or broke a child’s fever after you laid it all down at His feet in a 2 a.m. bedside vigil. Maybe He stood with you in the wait of a prayer sent out, or brought someone you loved to Christ. Maybe He healed your broken heart, gave your courage, or you gave Him your dreams as a love offering only to have Him give them back in an unimaginable way. Maybe God helped you survive to bedtime after a crazy Monday, or forgive yourself for missing it with your kiddos –– Whatever it is, let’s Remember Him. . . in a “Remember Me Monday” love letter.
“My mouth will tell of your righteousness,
Of your salvation all the day long,
Though I know not its measure.
I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, O Sovereign Lord”
~ Psalm 71:15-16.
Let us delight in Him by telling the stories of what He’s done! If you wrote a blog post remembering what He’s done for you, join the linky. If you didn’t but still want to praise Him for what He’s done – write it in the comment section. Then visit a comment before or after yours! One of the beautiful things about the blogging community is the relationships it builds!
Rules? Write long or short, a list or a story, include photos or not. Just Remember Him and what He has done, and let the gratitude of your heart guide you. Let’s make Monday so Rejoice, that the goodness of God spills into the rest of the week!
Places I’m Linking at This Week:
Inspire Me Monday, Grace & Truth,
Purposeful Faith, Tell His Story,
Recharge Wednesday, https://welcomeheart.com/blog, Worth Beyond Rubies,
Share a Link Wednesday, Let’s Have Coffee, Legacy Link-Up,
Grace and Truth, Faith on Fire,
I’m so grateful I don’t ever have to know how I would be without Him. I am sealed. Praise Him.
Amen, Lauren! I’m so glad I don’t have to know that story – or live it!
“But for Jesus. . . my life would have been so very different. . .”
I can’t even imagine.
Jesus makes such an incredible difference in our lives and its story! If those who don’t know Him, only knew!
I would hate to think where I’d be without Him. I’m so glad I’m not without Him!
Me, too! Barbara! Remembering today what He’s done for me – and where He saved me from going!
Great post! Your following words particularly spoke to me,
“but I thought about it, and I am so very thankful He pursued me, redeemed me, and carried me home to His Father. . . and has never given up on me. . .” Amen!
I join you in that statement for my life. And I’m glad that as wives, parents & grandparents we have Him growing us more & more into His image…
Isn’t that the beautiful part of growing older? We are growing closer and closer to The One who loves us so very much! He teaches us how to hold on, doesn’t He – by how tightly He holds on to us! Shalom, friend! ~ Maryleigh
Oh Amen! I feel the same way–it’s only Jesus that has gotten me through, and HE has been so faithful! This sentence says it all: “but Jesus is mixed in with His grace, His love, His hope, joy, and faith – and that changes everything. . . . it has changed me and will continually changing me. . .” Thank the Lord for His beautiful grace. Blessings and love for your this week, dear Maryleigh!
Not just getting us through – but getting us through the challenges in a way helps us become stronger, better, more like Him. Blessings and love for you this week, too, Bettie! ~ Maryleigh
Thank you for your transparency in this post. I still struggle with a lot of the things you did, especially the self-worth part. It’s always good to be reminded of Whose we are and Who we are in Christ Jesus. When we listen to that “still small voice saying, this is the way, walk in it”, we will be blessed abundantly.
Thanks for sharing.
Life without Jesus would be unbearable. When you described the children and families doing it without Jesus, my heart broke. We are blessed indeed.
It is heart-breaking – there are too many who were raised in the church who are walking a lonely walk without Jesus right now! Connections so need to be made, real relationships to really water seeds planted left untended!