I'm on a "business" "ministry" trip! Here I am, all grown up and traveling by my lonesome. Just me and Jesus all the way to Dallas where the grass is green and the trees have leaves on them! Yay! I left a snowstorm for this! I'm attending/speaking at Catalyst/Dallas—my first time. Everything is new to me and I'm new to it. Learning. Engaging. Meeting folks. Really great folks.
It would all be so wonderful—such a fun trip—if God would just stop convicting me of sin.
It all started at the airport. I got to security and miraculously there was only one woman in front of me. One woman who must not have flown in quite a while and didn't know she had to have her driver's license handy to show the TSA fellow before entering security. One woman whose driver's license was buried in the mysterious caverns that is a woman's purse.
It's good. I'm good. I'm not in a hurry. Grace! Mercy!
Then came the laptop not being removed from her carry on. Then came the inevitable question about liquids. Then came the awareness of my ugly irritation. Then finally came my prayer for her—to not be embarrassed, to know grace. "She's on my flight, isn't she, God? I'm going to sit next to her, aren't I? That's just what you'd do."
I won't even talk about what happened to the poor gal when the flight attendant questioned the size of her carry on. Lots of people had suggestions then. They weren't mean. Just opinionated.
I didn't sit next to her. I was all ready to and everything, but no. No, I sat near a different woman who came on the plane very late, causing quite the stir of exchanging seats and loud dialogue and the smell of liquor and the pungent memory of living near addiction.
My heart did not rise up in grace. I'm so sorry to say that it did not. I was emotionally triggered. I was twelve and fourteen and sixteen and twenty and confused. I was irritated. I did pray for her—in many ways—but not until about forty-five minutes into the flight. My spirit and my will rallied, but my heart did not.
"Stasi, do you see?" Gently, tenderly, precisely, the Holy Spirit revealed a critical spirit in me. I'm judging others. It is voraciously ugly. Oh, I see, God. Please, forgive me. Forgive me again. I choose to bless! I choose LOVE. Please. Please, Christ in me, love through me!
I am perfectly loved. I do not love perfectly. It is God's kindness that leads to repentance. So—I choose love. I choose repentance. I choose to receive his forgiveness. And how I wish that my bent towards sin here against others and against myself ended immediately with the receiving of his complete forgiveness. But I am in process.
God is revealing yet again, deeper issues in my heart that need his tending. Areas I need to repent of and receive his forgiveness and perfect love in. Areas where I am harsh for some underlying reason that I need Jesus to reveal and heal.
That's what he's up to. This crazy, wild, relentless, fabulous God of ours. He's after my restoration. My healing. My deliverance. My freedom. And he's after yours. So—come on, God. I say yes to you. I don't like the ugly, but I'll stay in it if you don't show it to me. So show me. And grant me the grace of a deep and true repentance...and then, the gift of a truly grace-filled thankful heart.
Even in airport lines. I am held in his grace. I am held in his love. I am being restored. I'm going to be so much nicer on the flight home. I hope.