Friday, May 20, 2011

One Hundred and One Pounds

The air was cool and soft on my skin as I walked. I was gliding what felt like effortlessly with an inner energy I hadn’t felt in so long, maybe even never. The voice of Todd Agnew singing a modern version of the most profound words ever written in a song was passing through my eardrums…

“Twas Grace that taught my heart to fear…”

A memory hit me. It was February 24, 2007. Unknowingly, God’s Spirit within me (whom I can only guess was there through the miracle of baptism) had been chipping away diligently at the highly durable, heavy-duty,  strong, crusty Damn of my Denial. With one last blow from The Spirit’s chisel, the Damn I had built so meticulously to contain all of my secrets and shame came crumbling down. My soul became flooded with awareness of what an immeasurable wretch I was. I was consumed with recognition of the truth… yes… this was the person I had become. I couldn’t lie to myself anymore. I was indeed the wretch the song was written about. Consumed with inconsolable grief, loss and total fear to the consequences of who I really was, I lost all hope for a future. Life was too much to bear. Stifled by a type of fear that transcended terror, I knew there was no way I could face the truth before me, there was no way I could ever face anyone in my life again... or myself.

The very same Spirit who had just destroyed my Damn and exposed my eyes to the real nightmare of my life stayed, even though I didn’t want Him there. I wanted Him to leave me be and let me do this my way. “You’ve done Your job now get out!... Are You proud of Yourself? You’ve broken me… You’ve made my blind eyes see and I can’t deny it anymore.” He remained. “Go… I don’t want You here. I hate You.” He said nothing. I imagined it would only be a matter of time before He gathered His things and left so I hurled more insults His way wanting to hurry it along.  I just wanted Him gone. All this awareness was too much. “Fine, if You won’t leave… I will!” With all the disobedience and disrespect I could muster, I grabbed the pills and swallowed them, all of them. “See, You’re not so tough. It will only be a matter of time and I’ll be gone and there won’t be anything You can do about it. I’m in control. I’m NOT going to let You make me feel this way for another moment.”

The clocked ticked loudly and slowly.  Anger and unrest swarmed around me until finally I closed my eyes and began to get woozy.  I lay there awaiting my final act of defiance to become real, satisfied by my stubbornness yet somehow... sad.  I knew He was still there. My heart began to race a little and I began to feel a little strange. My satisfaction became unsettled and my chest fluttered slightly with nervousness.  As the moments began to slip by all the anger and fear I had been feeling began to transform slowly into something very different. Instantly, I was consumed with a new type of fear… one I hadn’t ever felt before. The fear was one of disgrace and sadness, longing and loathing, heavy and bottomless… and it was no longer pointing outward at He who forced reality upon me, it was now deeply entrenched within myself. I didn’t hate Him. I hated me. In what I thought were going to be my last moments of consciousness my pride shattered and I uttered the only words I knew to say… “forgive me.” They were only two words, but they meant much more.  With those words I excused Him from the room.  I let Him know it was okay for Him to leave me now.  I said I knew He had done all He could do to save me and I took full responsibility for it not working out. I told Him to discard me, for I knew I deserved it. I didn’t see it happen, but I felt it. He departed and I was left all alone with my fear.

“… And Grace, that fear relieved.”

Only moments later, my wooziness jolted and I realized I was not alone anymore. Yes, The Spirit had departed but Someone much more powerful had come in His place to be with me. God Himself was at my side.  He put His hand on me and said, "I will never leave you."   I knew whole-heartedly in those moments that He loved me in a way I couldn't fathom. I knew He was bigger than all of my mistakes and screw ups. My fear subsided, I don’t know how or why… but I believed.

How precious did that Grace appear the hour I first believed.”

This was the hour I first believed… I mean really, truly, blind-faithfully, had no idea what it meant but knew it was real, believed. God had always been in my life but this was different. This was the moment of my conversion to Christ. That hour changed everything for me even though I didn’t understand it at all.

I was a frail, weak, feeble, scrawny, fragile looking woman for many months after my conversion. I am five foot six inches tall and should at my healthiest weight and body type be at about 135 - 140 pounds. At my lowest moment, the day He rescued me I only weighed one hundred and one pounds. But it may as well have been five hundred because I felt like the heaviest underweight person in the world.

My memory of that day was over and present time came into focus again. Four and a half years from that life changing night and many things have changed. I’ve been sober all of it, I live in a new house, my son is just about to finish his first year of Kindergarten, my relationship with my husband is amazing, my sister-in-law is now married and having her first child, I have a new church home, and a new recovery program. I have different friends, a different therapist, a diagnosis of ADHD and medication to improve my quality of life, I have new insight, I have a deeper Spiritual growth than ever before, I have new successes and new failures spreading out all over. I’ve lost some character defects and I’ve gained a few.

Just last week I realized there are a few things that haven’t changed in the years since God told me He would never leave me. I also realized that these things really needed to change if I was going to ever be able to accept the true gift of God’s Grace. In the years that had passed since then, my head knowledge was strengthening but, something else far more important had remained dormant. As if out of nowhere, knowledge and brain power joined with the essence of my spirit and the core of my heart and they began to converge together. It was a perfect storm which awoke me to some secrets within me. Secrets which had been meticulously hidden so far down below in my consciousness, that I had most certainly lived with them my whole life. These secrets had become such an intrinsic part of me that they weren’t really secrets at all. They were the defining facts of who I really was. They were me. But it didn't fit together anymore. God’s grace and those secrets didn’t go together at all. Upon further reflection, I recognized I had been holding onto things that could have only been placed there by one source, and one source only... the father of lies. Even through all the Grace I had felt and seen and heard in these years, I was still being bound by the biggest lies of all time….

I am a bad person.
I am not lovable.
I can not escape by past.

I felt the cool, soft air on my skin as I walked. Again, I was gliding what felt like effortlessly with an inner energy I hadn’t felt in so long, maybe even never. The voice of Todd Agnew singing a modern version of the most profound words ever written in a song were passing through my eardrums…

“Twas Grace that taught my heart to fear…And Grace, that fear relieved.”
“How precious did that Grace appear the hour I first believed.”

And then came the next part of the song…

“Hallelujah, Grace like rain falls down on me…
Hallelujah, all my stains are washed away…
they’re washed away.”

Four and a half years after my conversion to Christ, four and a half years into my walk of trying to understand God’s Grace I finally felt His Grace upon me in a way I never had. This incredible gentle breeze of Grace touched my skin as I was gliding on this energizing euphoric walk. I felt hard, dark pieces from deep inside of me begin to unwind from the places they had been stuck for years. Stains were rising to the surface of my skin and were lifted by the movement of the air around me. It was like the past was being freed from my soul and all of its residue was being cleansed from my inner spirit. I began to feel lighter as it happened. I could envision the mist and vapors dissipating off of me, peeling off, blowing backwards into the wind with great swirls, stirring and rolling, being left in the wind never to be seen again. My skin felt fresh and new, my body felt so light and free. I felt a peace and calm within me I never knew existed. Four and a half years into my conversion I knew with all certainty that I was finally allowing God’s Grace to truly free me from my past. As the air tingled my skin, I surrendered to the only truth I ever need… His Grace Is Sufficient For Me.

With absolutely no desire to look back and see where all of the junk and lies of the devil that had been pulled up out of me were going, I turned the corner of my walk and committed to never ever look back there again. I saw the slight incline of the sidewalk ahead of me and had to smile. I’m ready God. I’m ready to finish this conversion thing with the rest of my life journey. I’m ready to believe what You want me to believe about me.

It has taken a health battle to bring me to this point in my surrender to God. The night of this walk of Grace I looked in the mirror and saw a frail, weak, feeble, scrawny, fragile looking woman, not much different than the woman I saw in the mirror back in February of 2007. Still five foot six inches tall with an ideal weight of 135 - 140 pounds, the mirror couldn’t lie. Seeing every rib easily, viewing the bruising and skin discoloration of a body that has been fighting to become healthy again made me sigh. I stepped on the scale, just out of curiosity. The number that appeared was no coincidence, one hundred and one pounds. But this time, the load felt a lot lighter. This time, the past wasn’t getting to weigh in with me. It was somewhere outside blowing in the wind. I may be standing frail, weak, feeble, scrawny and fragile but His Spirit is strong in me. My flesh will fail, but my God, You never will.  My conversion to Christ is continuing and I have most certainly, turned the corner. 
(Amazing Grace written by John Newton, Grace Like Rain by Todd Agnew)


  1. Beautiful words of a beautiful work of God! The end of your post reminded me of the bridge of another song:

    Keep leaning into His grace!

  2. Yes Dustin... that is a bridge I repeat in my head over and over... I love it and that it exactly where I got those words from! Thank you Dustin for your gifts and friendship!