Loser’s Guide to God’s Grace 07: Finding Jesus

Still with me? I trust if you went and got Waking the Dead that you are reading it and following the program. I did, and I want to tell you, it propelled me to a crazy place of joy, joy. Joy, joy! Now: it doesn’t have to be that book; I think God used that book for me because He knew I would relate to all the epic sci-fi/fantasy stuff, and I did. Maybe He will even use this book to speak to you because you relate to all the LOSER stuff in me! Wouldn’t that be great? I doubt it though, because I’m such a loser, who would listen to me? Wait! That is the point of this book!

“God expects more failure from me than I expect from myself,” Brennan Manning used to say. And he should know! He was an alcoholic, even after he got “saved,” and continued to binge even as he was ministering to multitudes through his speaking and writing. The world would have called him a worthless drunk! But his books have brought hope to so many people! (Including me.) Just so you’re with me: I’m a big old loser like Brennan Manning and you, so you can trust me.

And yet here is what I found when I went chasing after Jesus demanding His healing touch: He healed my broken heart and life. Not instantly, and certainly not “painlessly.” But … he surrounded me with such love, even the “painful” parts of His healing touch were good. (Like, I don’t know, I remember being in hospital once with a really painful gnawing in my stomach, and after all the tests and things, someone finally gave me painkillers. The nurse told me I would actually feel the painkiller working up from the IV in my arm to my shoulder and down my throat to the pain — and it was true, it made me cough when it worked its way to the back of my throat! — and then, it hit the pain, and the pain stopped! That moment of pain stopped was so good, it overwhelmed the experience of the pain itself. Weird, right? But I still remember that moment of pain stopped as one of the best moments in life.)

This is sort of how Jesus helped me approach painful stuff in my past and live through it, because when we did, then the pain stopped.

Now all this interaction with Jesus which I am describing to you here, it happened over many days and weeks, and months, moments at a time, as I reached out and invited Him to meet with me and heal me. And it was all spiritual. Or, you might say, all in my head, in my mind. In a way I would relive the pivotal events in my life that had sent me down a destructive path, only I did so with Jesus there beside me, showing me what should have happened, how things could have been. And somehow, this allowed the events themselves to remain in my memory, but leeched of all the pain and bitterness. Much of the horror of them washed away … somehow being anchored in Jesus, who is all for me, helped me accept the past, embrace the lessons of it, and move on.

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I know. It sounds crazy. Or like therapy. Is that how therapy works?

Well, what if your therapist was Jesus, and He could totally hone in on the key events that shaped your whole loser life, and make it all better? That’s what He did!

Because He loves me.

And He loves you, too!

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Loser’s Guide to God’s Grace ebook now available at Amazon!

If you don’t want to wait for the entire story to unfold here, please get the ebook from Amazon today! It will be available from ibooks and others soon.

It is only 99¢ — I wanted to make it free, but some ebook vendors won’t offer it unless you charge at least 99¢. If that is a problem, let me know, and I can send you a PDF.

For now, search Amazon for Loser’s Guide to God’s Grace by Jane W, and you will find it! Thank you! Please spread the word. And enjoy the book! God loves you!

Get it from Amazon now!

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Loser’s Guide to God’s Grace 06: The Stupidity of My Story

You remember my stupid story. I was middle-aged, overweight, childless and in career tailspin..

Meanwhile, my husband was battling depression. I was too self-involved to notice how he was suffering, but thank God his P.A. did and prescribed anti-depressants which made him feel better (and probably saved his life!), but also made his sex drive dry up. I’m such a loser, all I understood about his problem was he didn’t want to have sex with me.

Basically my whole world told me: you are a loser. The end.

If anyone asked me how I was doing, I had to say, “Oh, just great, thanks!” Because I couldn’t say, “Well, my husband thinks I’m fat and doesn’t want to have sex anymore, let alone have a child with me — although he did have two with his previous wife with whom he had irreconcilable differences. Now I have to have my womb removed because giant tumors are growing there. So after that and eight weeks of painful recovery, I’ll be facing 30-45 pointless more years before I die.” I mean, this is crap you don’t say to people. This is LOSER crap.

At least if I’d had some tragic story of loss, it would have been sort of heroic and heart-breaking. Instead my story was banal and stupid. If I had something like a miscarriage or death of a loved one to tell people, nobody would have expected me to be happy or OK. I would have been a loser, sure; I would have lost something dear to me, yes. But it would have given some cachet, wouldn’t it?

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But no. I was a huge loser, and I couldn’t even tell anyone about it because it was such a stupid story. It’s so stupid, why I think you want to know about it is beyond me. You have to hear it, though, so maybe you will understand where I was that horrible night I got drunk and gorged myself on sugar cookies because I was all alone with my childlessness and worthlessness. I didn’t turn to God that night. I turned to wine. But wine was a short-term solution. (I get too sick from it.)

The next day, I had a headache and a choice to make. Spiral into darkness and hopelessness for the rest of my worthless life, or find Jesus and make Him fix me.

Thank God, there came into my hands a terrific book by John Eldredge called Waking the Dead. Eldredge spoke to me where I live because he talked about heroic stories and how our spiritual walk is like that: God has a role for us to play in His epic battle of good vs. evil. Eldredge used great tales and movies like Lord of the Rings, Narnia, The Matrix, Gladiator, etc. to make this point. Nerd alert: Eldredge was speaking my language.

He showed that we cannot play our role in our epic unless we are heart-whole. Before God can use you, He wants to heal your heart. The book then outlined four “healing streams” God uses to fix your broken heart.

Screen Shot 2014-05-02 at 5.56.29 PMSo I’ll take up my story again after you have a chance to check that out …

Loser’s Guide to God’s Grace 05: If It’s Free, What’s It Worth?

If you’re a grubbing, selfish loser like me (and I am not saying you are), about now, you’re thinking: if this gift of grace is free, how worthwhile can it be? After all, you get what you pay for!

Thankfully grace reverses that whole scenario, and we losers get stuff wildly unaffordable to us! We get what we can’t and never will be able to pay for. We get the best, the most wonderful, the beyond-imagining … well, let me not get ahead of myself. Yes, the gift of grace is free, and yet, it is invaluable. Trust me on this. It’s even better than what Joel Osteen promises you!

When Joel tells you to stay in faith through your problem because God is going to use it for your promotion, for instance, we think what he is saying seems true to him because he hasn’t suffered as we have suffered. But now, I want to tell you some good news, and some bad news.

  • First, the good news: the Gospel is the Gospel, and it is true for winners and losers alike! So when Joel says to stay in faith because God is going to use that problem to promote you, he is exactly right! Yay.
  • The bad news: the “promotion” part doesn’t literally mean you are going to get a job promotion. Nor does it mean you are going to experience a financial breakthrough, a divine healing, a miraculous restoration of a relationship, a fulfilling marriage, healthy family or any other material “blessing” you can imagine.

These things are great. God is able to give them to you, and I hope He does. But in comparison with the “promotion” you’re entitled to because of your position as God’s beloved child, these things are small potatoes. Yes! The gift of grace, though free to us, is worth far, far more than any of that little list of rewards that we hanker for.

I know this, because I’ve received it, and I’m a loser, same as you!

When you step into your identity as God’s beloved, you step into your identity as God’s beloved. Nothing can be better than that! I don’t even know how to tell you how amazing it is. And I know that you won’t even understand what I am saying about it until it actually begins happening to you, but let me try. It will take a return to my stupid story. Next time.