Month: April 2014

“Pay it Forward”: The forgotten story

I stumbled across an emotional feel-good video today while scrolling through morning Facebook updates : ) In this particular clip, friends and gftfcomplete strangers join forces to create the “Perfect day of work” for a “deserving” woman. Their targeted beneficiary was a young, hard working waitress, who had overcome much adversity and hardship. Chelsea’s day began with a thousand dollar tip, which she initially tried to refuse. Next up were tickets to Hawaii, and then an offer for employment in a field of work she loved. The “perfect day of work” ended with a brand new car and a visit from her best friend.

 

I am not ashamed to confess that as the gifts rolled in a smile grew across my face and I might have shed a few tears. It was a cool story! Every co-worker and friend that was interviewed repeated the same message “If any body deserves this, it’s Chelsea.” This young woman had faced adversity, and not only did she overcome it, she spent her free time channeling all her energy and resources towards helping others like herself. Even more amazing was the fact that she did so on the salary of an overworked and underpaid waitress.

 

Weary and straining under the emotional and physical stresses of life, unexpected and unsolicited intervention flooded in and swept her up and into a real life, happily ever after fairytale. I don’t think there is a single person who has watched or read about a story like this who hasn’t had the thought,” I wish something like that would happen to me.” To receive needed resources and even a few luxuries would be such an encouragement, not to mention the mental boost of having my life, work, and talents affirmed by those I know, love, and work with.

 

Then it struck me, I have my own story, but it is so much better than all the “pay it forward” stories flying around on Facebook and Youtube.

 

While Chelsea’s friends professed her deservedness of the perfectly planned gifts that poured in, I couldn’t help but think of how differently my life story has played out.

 

Romans 5:1-8

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith,

wehave peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace

in which we now stand.

And weboast in the hope of the glory of God.

 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings,

 because we know that suffering produces perseverance;

perseverance, character; and character, hope.

And hope does not put us to shame,

because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts

through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless,

Christ died for the ungodly.

Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person,

though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die.

 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:

While we were still sinners,

Christ died for us.

What a list! Did you catch all of them? Justified, peace, access, grace, standing, hope, glory, perseverance, character, more hope, no shame, God’s love . All of this abundant goodness with one slight difference, I deserved nothing!

rejoiceDo you see me in those verse above? Do you see yourself? Jody was powerless, ungodly, a sinner, yet grace  came down and has been poured out upon her life.

I closed facebook and turned off my phone and sat back to replay the video of another life that has been blessed. This record wasn’t documented on the internet, it was etched deeply and lovingly upon the innermost parts of my heart and mind.

My story is both appalling and beautiful. I was the source of all that was ghastly, tainted, and spoiled. One day my eyes were opened and I was reminded, I was not the author of my life story, nor the lead role. So often I have the cameras on the wrong person! Life is not in fact about me and what I deserved and have earned but rather about Him and all He has given. Still a sinner, still powerless, still undeserving, grace came down!

Within that tiny five letter word, infinite and unfathomable gifts reside and flow. They are not temporal and will never be taken away. They will never spoil, rust or corrupt. With every tick of the clock grace flows. My perfect day will not end when camera crews go home and the internet is switched off. My life story will not fade and be replaced when a new and more sensational story comes along. My perfect day will not temporarily remove me from the harsh reality of life the and sorrows and struggles each day can bring. My perfect day involves a person who gives what I need so I can be sustained as He carries me through them. My perfect day is not orchestrated by well meaning friends with limited resources and a company that will use me as an advertisement gimmick in order to make money. The vast and mysterious heavens are the footstool of the author of my story. His power and resources have no end. His motivation is Pure, Holy, and Righteous. All He gives is only for my good and what He chooses to bestow never comes with sorrow or regret. His gifts don’t merely enable me to cope and survive until my circumstances change.  His gifts transform, renew, and empower my heart, mind, will, and emotions to overcome regardless of my surroundings and circumstances.

Today, my heart cries out “I deserved none of this” and He replies “THIS is my joy.” I am overwhelmed by the grace that has flooded, floods, and has yet to flood into my life. A grace, that if measured, could not be contained. My “perfect day” began long before the first beat of my heart and the labored heaving of my tiny premature lungs.  Chosen before the foundations of the world, I have been wooed, hedged, and shepherded through endless “perfect days.”

This is my life story:

grc

I deserved nothing yet He has given everything!

Will you take a moment to replay and praise Him for your “Perfect day?”

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