Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Identified by Grace

A Precursor to Declaration 10.

[Spoiler alerts/trigger warnings:  my full testimony, which is in the works, involves abortion.  Read with appropriate care.]

For me, grace lives in a certain living room and on a particular mountain top.  I have seen its lithe and willowy arms softly curl about shoulders hung low with grief and bondage and failure; watched as it drew ethereal thumb across wounded visage, wiping away the tears of too much hurt and too much darkness.  And I have seen grace weep, too.  I have fought for this grace on behalf of so many beautiful prisoners; been injured and exhausted, with dented shield and bloodied sword, that they might have the victory given me.  I have heard the thunderous roar of armies of angels give standing ovation when this grace is believed and accepted.  And I have been afforded the honor of witnessing countenances grow luminous as the breath of freedom finally pierces their lungs. I have had the distinct privilege to watch these once shackled souls take their place in the kingdom; not as wretches scurrying about furtively as though they don’t belong, but as beloved and doted upon children of the King, who have a purpose as His emissaries, His image, His very presence to a broken and mutilated world. 

I can tell you, without hesitation or doubt, that Grace is the most beautiful thing in all the world.  It is the very bent of Faith, the climax of Hope, the truest expression of Love.  
It is to this living room, and this mountain, that my thoughts always turn when I look hard after Grace.  [Followed closely with a certain pew in a Baptist church tucked in to ice and berms on the last frontier, where I finally trusted just enough to have the entirety of my sins removed from my shoulders; a burden physically lifted from me.]  I think of these places because that is where Grace was most evident, most palpable, most visible. 

But Grace is all around.  All the time.
Before I can really address Grace, I have to know who I am in Christ.  Because for a very, very long time I held onto an identity that was not true to the Grace which had come at such a high cost.  One that told me that I had to be good enough to deserve God’s love, because of my past; for I was without doubt far worse than any other sinner planted on the pews around me.  And then, even after God used His word and His ministers to remove that lie from my life, I found myself floundering in another.  The lie that Grace saw me through a lens of redemption, a filter dependent on my past that it might define my present and future.  I was Jenni, the post-abortive woman whom Jesus saved.  And while this title is true, I am post-abortive and Jesus did forgive, save, redeem, and restore me.  Neither He, nor God the Father, nor the Holy Spirit have ever called me Jenni-the-post-abortive-woman-who-has-now-been-redeemed-and-set-free.  Not before my abortion, not during, not after when I walked ceaselessly into the darkness that followed, and not even after I allowed His Grace to wash over this pain and to ultimately remove it and make me clean and whole once again. 

The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit have always called me:
          Jenni, My beloved.

Once I traded my sin for Christ's righteouness, there has been no sin attached to my name in the eyes of Jesus.  Though there has been in the eyes of His followers.  And for a time, I allowed myself to be defined by it.  I wore my scarlet A for the glory of His kingdom: surely, my purpose was to show others that even someone like me could be saved.  And I believed that the only calling someone like me could have would be as a post-abortive women who ministers to other post-abortive women.  Because that was who I am. 

And yet, in the scriptures we see that God sent the most zealous of the Jews to bring the truth of Jesus to the Gentiles.  We find that a five-times scorned foreign woman was the first missionary of the gospel.  A prince of Egypt delivered the Hebrews, a woman Judge lead Israel against their foes, an unwed teenager gave birth to the Messiah, and the man who denied Christ three times led the church in Rome.  God doesn’t appear to be in the habit of pigeon-holing people into the roles for which they are most logically suited.

So must it be with me.  And with you, dear one.  Because the only identity I want to claim is the one by which Grace has always known me: Jenni, beloved.  Yes, God can, has, and I have to assume will use my testimony of His Grace to build His kingdom.  But I also trust that He will do it as it suits Him; not as it suits me or anyone else around me.  If I am to minister to women or girls or couples who have experienced abortions, then it will be by His summoning and authority alone; not by the suggestion of humanity.  Or if I am to share this story of beautiful and wild grace with those who have no knowledge or experience with abortion, then it will be by God’s calling and power, for I will be quite out of my league. 
Yet, I know that the call of Grace is meant for every heart.  And it is winsome and overwhelming.  And it is the most beautiful thing in all the world.       

Jason Gray: "Remind Me Who I Am"

If you have experienced an abortion in your past, please know that there is hope and healing through the grace of the cross, beloved.  Christ’s sacrifice is sufficient; and His love is greater than our darkest moments and His mercy pierces our longest night.  If you have questions, concerns, or just to need to talk, I am always available.  Visit my ministry website at and click on the “Contact” button at the top of the page.  This will send a confidential e-mail to my private, personal account.  And I will respond in the same manner: confidentially and privately.  But know that no matter what your past, present, or future struggle, you are greatly delighted in.  And you are loved more than the weight of the universe.  And there is always hope for those who look to Jesus.        

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