Thursday, August 15, 2013

On Grace and Vomit

I know at this point, you're all weary of hearing about my new opportunity in chaplainism.  (I coined that word.)  But it's what I've got going on right now, and this is how God is revealing Himself. I think it's worth sharing.

The money is there.  Not all the gas money yet, but the tuition is covered.  I hated asking for it; it goes against everything in me.  But I also realized that I would rather ask for financial help with this program than to go this program alone and then ask for financial help to pay my car insurance, Christmas presents, grocery bills...because that's where my money would have had to come from.  Still...

If you know me at all, if you've been reading for any length of time, you know that I love giving.  I take great joy in giving good gifts.  I'm not, however, incredible at the receiving. (Because I'm tough. I don't need nothin' from nobody...except in those cases when I actually do.  And I wouldn't tell you if I did.  Most of the time.)

Which is how I found myself this past Sunday doing all I could to not puke in my church service.

People had been coming up to me all morning, congratulating me on the opportunity, talking about what was coming, pledging money to help me cover the costs.  There was a general buzz of excitement over the next step in my journey, and it was just overwhelming.  I'm the kind of person this kind of thing just doesn't happen to.  I hadn't expected even a small trickle (not because I doubt my brothers and sisters, not because I doubt my God, but entirely because I still so often doubt myself) so to be completely covered in this incredible outpouring of support and well wishes and good words and took me.

It dropped my heart into the pit of my stomach, and I had a gut reaction to all that this was.  It hasn't stopped all week as the calls and emails and Facebook messages have continued to come.  It's like...I know I'm rambling, forgive me as I struggle for the words to describe this...something in me emptied.  All at once, vacant.  This light, open place where once there was this heaviness that I didn't even know about, could not have defined.  It was, I guess, this place where for so long I have held so many of my questions, my doubts and my insecurities.  My fears, maybe, in part.  It just happened to be in my gut.

I have so long felt like such a wretch that when God's grace and goodness penetrated my shadowed places, I kind of really wanted to retch.  And almost did.  And maybe still could.  From the now-empty place inside of me, God's grace gnaws on my raw flesh and it's a little nauseating.  Like an ulcer.  

I'm not really sure what to do with this place.  My flesh says Pepto.  My heart says Prayer.  My entire being calls out Praise.  So probably a mix of the above.

I am grateful for the people who have come to stand beside me and behind me.  I am humbled by their generosity and, if you know me as a giver, know this: I am doing my best to give even more right now.  I don't have money, but I have other things and I'm doing what I can to give it all away.  And trying to fathom how a girl like me comes to a place like this, with the goodness of God and His awesome people all around me.

Tomorrow, I want to tell you more about this place and show you, I hope, from where I'm standing what it means to really love people.  Being on the receiving end has completely changed the way I think about this...

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