Thursday, March 28, 2013

Guilt and the Gospel

Last night, something happened to me on the way home from a women's study on Marriage.  It was something I prided myself on never having happened to me before.  It was something that will affect just about everything I do for the next few months.

I got a speeding ticket.

Like, a 19 mph over the limit speeding ticket.

Like, I'm going to have to appear before a judge in traffic court speeding ticket.

It was not a fun experience.  <--understatement of the century.

I was going down the hill, turning the corner, and using the momentum of the downward slope to help get me up to speed on the other side.  I was rushing to get home.  I wasn't paying attention to the speed change.  And I got pulled.  I saw the police car pull out behind me and thought "$@%#% I'm going to get pulled."  And sure enough, blue lights flashed on, I pulled over, and the officer, who was as polite and business like as ever, handed me the speeding citation.  I was expecting a fine and points on my drivers license.

I was not expecting a barrage of guilt.

How could you be so stupid? How are we going to pay for this ticket? How are we going to afford the jump in insurance? How are you going to face your husband? How could you? How could you? How could you?

All the way home, and on the couch, explaining what happened to J, the guilt kept coming.  And not just for that incident, but every time I've ever sped, every stop sign I've rolled through, every yellow-to-red light I've run, and every single time I have ever gotten angry at a motorist in front of me who was obeying the speed limit and not driving as fast as I want them to drive.  All my infractions kept mounting before me and I kept listing in my head all the problems that are caused by this one little ticket.

Guilt, my dear friends, can be a wonderful tool in the hands of God because it drives us to the cross.  Guilt makes us know just how far we have fallen short, how much we deserve this punishment, how greatly we have sinned.  And when guilt is followed quickly by the Gospel, it can turn into gratitude. But guilt can also be used by Satan to accuse us, to condemn us, to make us doubt God's mercy and blood-bought acceptance.  Guilt, when allowed to fester, can turn into condemnation.

So as I laid down on the heating pad on the couch (oh the joys of being 7 months pregnant), and J and I formed a plan of what to do at my court hearing in two months, I let guilt begin to fester in my heart.  I did not preach the Gospel to my self because I thought "This is a state matter, I did not break the law of God so the Grace of God cannot fix this.  I have to live under the shame of my wrong doing for the next two months until I can go to the courthouse and fix it myself."  Exhausted and ashamed, I went to bed.

Morning brought the alarm clock and the first thought that popped into my head was "SPEEDING TICKET" and in rushed the shame and condemnation, the accusing thoughts, and the guilt of what I had done.  But it was different this time, because what followed at the heels of the ticket was not a litany of traffic violations, but one of all the times I had transgressed before God.  Every time in the last two to three days I had been angry or proud or selfish or lustful; evil thoughts, hurtful words, unkindness, judgmental attitudes, all piled up before me and I saw with more clarity than I ever have before that all rule breaking is a sin against God.

But it is a sin that was paid for.

Jesus died for my traffic ticket.  Do you know how revolutionary that is? I do not have to suffer a weight of condemnation because of what I had done.  Jesus died for that.  And every time I have ever broken a rule and DIDN'T get caught, Jesus died for that too.  Every evil thought, every petty crime, every instance that I was not punished by the laws of men, I would have to stand guilty and condemned for that before the Father, the great Judge of all the Erth.  But I had a Savior who stood in my place, who took that shame, that punishment, that wrath, so I could escape.

And there is therefore now NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 5:1

This is the beauty of the Gospel.  Whatever punishment or fines or trouble I have to endure because of this ticket are so minor in the face of what Jesus did for me they are almost laughable.  I have escaped from an eternal weight of wrath and into an eternal weight of glory and nothing I can do can drag me out from under the Grace of God.  I am free.  No more guilt.  No more condemnation.  No more punishment.  Jesus paid it all.  Oh how my heart sings!

My guilt has turned to gratitude.  That is the power of the gospel.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Daylight Savings Time

For those who know me, this will not come as much of a shock: I HATE Daylight Savings Time.  Like, with a passion.  I understand that there was a point in time when adjusting the working clock to enable factory employees daylight hours to garden seemed like a sensible thing to do.  But that time has LONG passed.  A majority of Americans don't need that extra time, or they work from home, or their working schedule is flexible.  The time change lasts a period of 8 months (Mid-March to Mid-November), much longer than the seasonal light and the traditional vernal to autumnal equinox period.  Energy is wasted cooling houses (especially in the south) for longer evening hours in the summer and for lighting dark rooms in the spring and fall mornings.  There are even studies out that show a dramatic increase in accidents the Monday following the time loss with no correlating increase in safety after the time gain.  I could go on and on and on about damaging effects that happen on other people.  For me personally, though, it's really hard to adjust my sleep schedule and takes me about a full week each time we have to do the DST change. 
I don't like it at all.
And don't start on the "I bet you love gaining an hour in the fall" bit.  'Cause I don't.  It messes up my sleep schedule for another full week and leaves me feeling in the lurch. 
Terrible, thanks for asking.
This vile loathing was made worse this morning by the fact that my iPod alarm clock for whatever reason set itself forward ANOTHER HOUR last night after it had already set itself forward an hour Saturday night.  So when my alarm went off this morning at 6:30 and I showered, dressed, got breakfast made and lunch packed, I looked up at the kitchen clock (an old manual one I had already changed over Sunday morning) and realized that my alarm really went off at 5:30 this morning. 
I had lost ANOTHER hour of sleep. 
And this morning I was dragging.  Work was lurchy.  I was hungry all day.  I couldn't think straight.  It was terrible. 
And it's really hard to be thankful for a computer glitch that caused me to lose an hour of sleep after the US Congress already made me lose an hour of sleep. 
But on the radio this morning, KLOVE started playing this:
It's Chris Tomlin's new song "I need You"
Lord I come, I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
Without You I fall apart
You're the one that guides my heart

Lord, I need You, oh I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

Where sin runs deep, Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
And where You are Lord I am free
Holiness is Christ in me
Yes where You are Lord I am free
Holiness is Christ in me

So teach my song to rise to You
When temptation comes my way
And when I cannot stand I'll fall on You
Jesus You're my hope and stay
And when I cannot stand I'll fall on You
Jesus You're my hope and stay

Lord, I need You, oh I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

And I was so overwhelmed by my weakness and my dependency on God and His Strength.  I need Him every hour, but I really need Him today.  When I am tired and weary and bitter towards my circumstances, I need Him. 

My One Defense, My Righteousness, Oh God, how I need YOU!

Thursday, March 7, 2013


As a kid, my favorite category on Jeopardy was always Potpourri.  It was the stick-all-the-random-questions-here category, the junk drawer of Jeopardy, and it was inevitably the hardest category because the questions could range from cookies to cowboys to chemistry.  It was fun.  It was random.  It was a general collection of useless information.  And for someone who generally collects useless information, it was always my favorite. 

Think of this blog post as the potpourri of the last few days.  We're gonna go through some random stuff...

1) Today I have been pregnant for six months.  I am not as huge as I thought I could be at this point.  But my pants are getting uncomfortable and my shirts need to be longer.  So not quite tiny, but not quite huge.  Pretty good, size wise. 
2) Baby R is a KICKER!!!  If my waistband is too tight: kickkickkick.  If I'm leaning forward for too long: kickkickkick.  If I roll over to a different position at night: kickkickkick.  If I balance ANYTHING on my tummy: KICKKICKKICK. And ESPECIALLY when I have a full bladder and am on the phone at work and there's no possible way I'm getting to the bathroom anytime soon, kickkickkickkickkickkickkickkick.  If I don't see soccer scholarships in about 18 years, there will be retribution, is all I'm sayin'.
3) I realized that, because the baby is growing, I needed to increase my calcium intake and should probably be getting more fruit and vegetables in my diet.  I didn't help that Kroger had strawberries on sale 2 packs for $4.  Bright fresh sweet summer fruit in the middle of gloomy rainy windy February/March?  Yes and please
4) Thanks to Goldberry's Seven Day Smoothie Challenge Blog Post Series, I started drinking smoothies with lunch at work.  I did this instead of at breakfast for two reasons: 1) I need my morning coffee and having two drinks for breakfast would just not work and 2) it keeps me fuller longer if I have a smoothie in the middle of the day. 
5) Strawberry Banana Smoothies are delicious.  If pink could have a flavor, it would be strawberrybanana.  Yum.
6) I now own a green tumbler from the WalMarts.  Isn't it pretty?

7) I also bought a small electric heating pad for my back because six-month-old Baby R is giving me back pain and sciatica.  The little dear.
8) Sciatica is NO FUN and I really am empathizing with all the people who have to suffer with it daily, rather than it being brought on and limited to the duration of a pregnancy.
9)  I ordered some fabric from and am super pleased with how quick and easy it was to order from them. And their prices are fabu!  So so so so much cheaper than Jo-Anns (even with coupons) and by combining orders for three different projects, I got free shipping.  Awesomesauce
10) Those projects are:

This Maxi Skirt

Some form of this A-Line Skirt

A cover for our entry way bench modeled after the above (just no bunnies)
11) I have no idea when I'm going to find time to do these projects, but hopefully long before the baby arrives because I really want to wear those skirts and they would be soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo comfy as maternity skirts.
12) J and I are going to plant blueberry bushes this weekend. 
13) We are also celebrating my Grandma Dot's 87th Birthday.

Isn't she the cutest grandma ever?
Happy Birthday Grandma!
And on that note, we shall end Potpourri.