Grave Clothes and Coffee Dates
August 31, 2018
I began my morning, as I do every morning…hitting the snooze. I go to bed telling myself that I am going to wake up early, do my bible study, maybe go run…just to turn over and begrudgingly admit that I have to go “adult.” This timeline results in me sleeping until about 6:15, where I then rush to get ready and out the door by 7.
You see, I preface with all of this because I have been going through a transitional time in my life recently. I have almost been at a tug-of-war with God and myself. For a while now, I have been slowly starting to prioritize things in my life-for the better. However, since I am human, I continuously struggle with earthly desires, as anyone else would. I love church, but I also love to drink. I love Jesus, but I also feel like that other things deserve my time first. There has always been a “but”. As Christians, I feel like we deal with this more often than anyone would care to admit. I have just been feeling very convicted recently to truly lay all of my burdens down at the foot of the cross and pursue this beautiful relationship in front of me. I have been tired of running and going through the motions with my faith. Going through the motions is what has gotten me to this very moment in time: Very broken, and very desperate for the grace and love of God.
Most of y’all know that I have been an avid Porchie (a.k.a. someone who goes to the Porch. If you don’t know what the Porch is, you should. It’s amazing.) I also started going through membership classes at Watermark because I really felt like I need to be rooted there. All of the vices I’ve been assuming are not actually a vice in my life, started to catch up with me. I had a reality check with myself, and really try to pinpoint exactly what it is that has been holding me back from completely trusting and following Christ. I can tell you right now, what my top 3 vices are:
1) Idolatry of MYSELF, and who I thought I needed to be to feel loved by people.
2) Allowing drinking, social status, and partying to become my identity.
3) Being a victim to past circumstances that I allowed to mold the way I view my body image and therefore how I treat myself.
With all of that being said, I have felt very convicted to work on humbling myself and come before God. I wanted to actually leave all that junk at the foot of the Cross, like I have said that I have done countless times before now. Therefore, in response to my convictions that God has so gracefully placed on my heart, I decided to join Watermark and really embrace the community that they have to offer. I have realized that I need to run in that direction and run away from the ways of this world. All that this world can offer me is instant gratification and Christ can offer me eternal gratification.
Which brings me to why I am here today writing this all out: I am trying to convince myself to wake up and exercise discipline in spending time with God every morning. I am trying to exercise discipline in walking with Him and away from all of the earthly things that have tied me down. God has so graciously met me right in the middle of my messy life and I was able to experience the story I am about to lay out for you.
I listened to a testimony today that was just incredible. This man came from about as far into the darkness that you can possibly go. He dropped all of that and started relentlessly following Jesus. After I listened to this testimony, I felt like I just needed to drop everything and go spend some time with God; Seeing as I have been pushing Him to the side all week long because I valued my sleep over my Savior. I left work, didn’t eat lunch, and I drove to a Starbucks close to work and had some one-on-one time with the Lord.
This entire week, the story of Lazarus has really been in the forefront of my mind. I decided to just sit and really dig into John 11 and read it in depth. My favorite part of this entire 44-verse story is the very last line. To preface, Jesus had spent the entire chapter so graciously silencing the doubt that His disciples and other people had expressed. I love that you really get to see the character of who Jesus was (and is) so clearly laid out in the scripture. The last verse, we see that Jesus has raised Lazarus from the dead and He says, “Take off his grave clothes and let him go.” What I love so much about that line is the fact that Lazarus’ grave clothes symbolize sin. They symbolize the vices in our lives, whatever form they may come in. Whether it be drinking, idolatry, sex, pornography, drugs, etc. We all have, or had, grave clothes at some point in our life. By the grace of God, we have Jesus who can take away those grave clothes and tell us to go free. Whom the Son sets free, is free indeed, ammirite?
So here I am, in all my junk and sin, realizing that I can let go of these things. I can walk away from the lifestyle that I have chased after for YEARS and pursue a relationship with Jesus wholeheartedly. This was just the pinnacle of years and years of God chasing after me and my heart. Why I share this story, you may ask. Well, as I have said, my life has been in a scary, awkward, transitional phase. Recently, I have not felt like enough, I have not felt worthy, I have not felt like I can truly disciple and be a follower of Christ until I lay these burdens down. This is why the story of Lazarus has spoken so deeply to me today.
After I closed my bible and started to pack my belongings up, a man that was sitting near me turned around and said, “Kayce?” I gave him an incredulous look because I was confused as to how this man knew my name, I then realized I had my badge from work on and awkwardly laughed because, well, I am awkward sometimes. He then began to tell me that he felt very compelled to come to Starbucks during his lunch break today. He said, “I just told God, ‘Okay’, and decided to come here. I don’t know why, I didn’t eat lunch, I just knew I had to come here. Then I saw you sitting here doing your bible study and I just wanted you to know that God told me that it is okay to be careless. By that I mean, it’s okay to toss all your cares about the world aside and turn those over to Him. I just really felt like God was telling me to tell you that you are doing an amazing job and to keep it up. I do not know where you are at in your life right now, but God is telling me to tell you to keep it up.”
Um, wow. I just talked to him for a minute and sat in my car and began to cry. Is it NOT amazing how God can just speak to us in so many ways? I am still completely dumbfounded that this actually happened, but I am also not surprised because I know that my Jesus can do anything.
I’ll leave this story with this: Whatever you are struggling with is not too big for God to handle. Whether you have been a Christian for your entire life and are just reconnecting with your faith, or you’ve never bought into the whole Jesus thing – God is relentlessly, graciously, and continuously chasing after you and your heart. We all stray, that is in our human nature. God knows this about us. This is why he sent Jesus to remind us that even though we stray, we always have a Good Shepard to come home to. He will ALWAYS chase after us. He will ALWAYS find the one. No one is left behind. His love is endless, His love is reckless, and His love is the most amazing love that you will ever experience in your entire life.