Growing up Catholic, the idea that God has chosen the elect before he even set to creating our physical forms left a bitter taste in my mouth.
I’ve always been in favor of choice, of people making their own decisions and basking in that warm beautiful glow of free will.
And of course, when I became an atheist, this notion took root and weeded through my barely beating heart.
But ultimately, I’m a writer. And if I look too deeply into my (newly renewed) blood pumping organ, I can feel the idea of knowing and watching and willfully deciding fate at any given time sitting snugly behind my breat bone.
As a creator, I control the created.
As God, he controls our salvation.
I was listening to a podcast about this by Dale Partridge. If you haven’t listened to Real Christianity, I highly recommend you do. The American version of Christianity that runs rampant on every street corner does a poor job of giving followers a real Biblical perspective of the world around us.
And if you’re anything like me, books are the road maps to this life. Good thing, God has written us one.
“The Bible isn’t true.”
Okay. Then what is true?
Your individual feelings on a subject?
Well that won’t work. Everyone has feelings, and they’re not the same.
Maybe the way you were raised? The particular paradigm you ascribe to in order to process the world.
But there‘s a mixed bag of paradigms, some the complete antitheses of others.
Maybe everyone’s right. Maybe morality is relative.
Fair enough. Can I borrow your purse? I’d like to swipe a twenty.
What?? Morally, it’s all relative, man. Chill out.
A lot needs to change. We’re all in agreement with that. But I what I think needs changing are the hearts of those who keep fighting against Christ.
Because deep down, the electric undercurrent that keeps our eyes focused up and collectively structures all of us within an authoritative realm is absolutely no mistake.
God is the head of all things. He has hierarchically organized law and order to keep the ones we love safe and to bring consequence to wrong action.
It’s people who bastardize that initiative. It’s people who allow their own rotten hearts to beat.
Heart change. It only comes when you humble yourself and submit completely, giving every ounce of yourself to Christ.
The hardest choice you’ll ever have to make.
“Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” Romans 13:1 (NIV)
“Blessed be the fruit.”
I absorbed The Handmaid’s tale when it wasn’t a show but a book that only hardcore feminists who didn’t shave under their arms read.
Well, maybe I’m exaggerating about that last part.
I wanted to be Margaret Atwood. I wanted to be a million things.
I realize now “I want” is the epidemic that’s slowly killing us all.
I want but does He?
When you reframe your perspective, you start to understand things from someone gentle, someone who loves you.
It’s easy enough to say “You hate me!!” when life starts to taste like a lemon, and you’re being redirected from your hoard of wants.
But how would I ever be a good parent if I just gave that pile of everything to my child and watched as she slowly burned and fizzled out?
I’ve learned that. I am learning that.
No, I’m not going to be the next Margaret Atwood.
I’m going to be the first Ericka Clay.
And I won’t be blessing the fruit.
But as I look up and around, I see He’s blessed me.
My mind is shot.
I’m having a typical moment. Well, really not so typical as of late.
Just a moment that’s similar to ones in the past. Where I’m tired and coiled into myself and regret every choice I’ve ever made.
Hi, I’m Ericka. Nice to meet you.
It’s just a few things. Little things that weave together into a much larger blanket.
Or straight jacket.
It’s a moment where I walk away from the God of the universe and sit and pout because “life isn’t fair.”
This is apparently going to take a awhile.
Life’s hard when ADHD is thrown into the mix. It’s just…hard. But everything’s hard.
I’m not naive to that fact.
And there God is. Waiting patiently in all His glory.
And there I am, hole in my bleeding brain, offering him that alongside my weather-beaten heart.
I’m afraid He might be getting the raw end of this deal. But something tells me He is and always will be okay with that.
Parenting is hard.
A lot of things are hard, but I digress.
The phrase “His mercies are new every day,” keeps hitting me like a ton of bricks.
My mercies are hardly ever new. They’re barely refurbished.
I can hold a grudge so hard, it’s a miracle if it doesn’t break apart in my hand. And I’ve realized, I store up these angry little rocks in my heart even when it comes to the ones I love most.
Even when it comes to my daughter.
She’s a beautiful girl. She’s funny and outgoing and incredibly athletic (girl practically back handspringed out of the womb…ow), and is one of the most street smart people I know.
The only reason I’m not still looking for my car in the Wal-Mart parking lot is because of her.
But she’s strong-willed. And divisive. And manipulative. And an 8 on the enneagram (just like Stalin…but so was Dr. Martin Luther King so there’s hope, y’all).
And a sinner.
Just. Like. Me.
His mercies are new every day.
My mercies have to be new, too.
So that’s my big breath mantra getting me through this tween stage of parenting.
Nobody’s perfect. Not me. Not my daughter.
Only the Lord who grants us favor even when we least deserve it.