Monday, September 21, 2009

It's Not About Me

My nineteen-year-old daughter, Kelsey made me cry the other day.

It wasn't out of frustration or anger (though that's happened a couple of times), it wasn't over some sad story she'd come across, or empathetic tears brought on by some major life issue she was dealing with. These were surprise tears, and she was crying, too.

Kelsey and I don't tend to be big criers. Tears are usually a last result, and often the by-product of someone else's pain (Kameron comes immediately to mind), or frustration (you know, how you get so darned p.o.'d that you start to cry?). I do cry more at movies, although she can't claim that she doesn't do that anymore, because now she does from time-to-time.

Since she started going to Northwest University last year she's been crying a lot more. They have all those God things going on all the time like Chapel services and stuff. The Chapel services often have guest speakers. Local pastors like Mark Driscoll and Judah Smith come, former NU students like Natalie Grant (singer), and people who've traveled the world doing mission-type things (getting their hands "dirty" all the way up to their hearts for Christ's sake), as well as current students from time to time.

These services touch her deeply. Beneath her witty, tough-girl exterior beats the heart of a servant. Kelsey's always loved our "special" kids. In fact, she's told me for years that she wants to adopt a Down's Syndrome baby. Future husband, beware.

So, back to how she made me cry.

Apparently they had a guy speak at Chapel on loving others, Jesus-style. You know, in a First Corinthians Thirteen unconditional love everyone truly and from your heart kind of way.

He talked about how easy it is to love those that love us: "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven . . . For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others?
" (Matthew 5: 43-47) and about how the Christian Church has the unfortunate reputation of picking and choosing who to love, like His Church is some sort of private club.

But Jesus was all about finding the people who had no future - "the things that are not" - the prostitutes, the lepers, the ugly folk and the despised. Those are the ones He loved specially. He came to seek and save the lost, not those who think they're found. The Chapel Speaker Guy said it was about loving "all in" because that's the way Jesus is.

This is the place where, in the front seat of our car at Burgermaster, telling me this story over the sound of arguing kids in the back, Kelsey started to lose it, which of course, made me start to lose it. She said, "And I thought, 'That's my mom. That's what so special about her. That's how she loves the kids, that's why my friends and Kris's friends all love her. Because she loves everybody
that way'".

You know, that was so not where I thought she was going with that story.

There was more to the conversation, of course. I know I don't love everyone the way Jesus does, and I told her that. It hurts me that I can't be pure love, that I let all kinds of stuff interfere. I'm not the friend I want to be. I'm not the daughter I want to be. I'm not the responsible adult I want to be. I can make lists of all the things I'm not.

But you know, I think that's why God loves me. That's why He loves you. All those broken, imperfect places we have are what He wants us to give to Him. He doesn't want us to try to get all cleaned up before we approach Him:

It's not about being fit for the "Club". It's about knowing how messed up we are and needing Him to take our torn up, bloody, world-weary hearts and gently hold them in His immensely capable hands, forgiving our mistakes and helping us let go of all the hurt we've received.

Maybe that's what Kelsey sees in me. Not super-mom or super-Christian (definitely not), but super-sinner saved by great grace. Luke 7:47 says that one who has been forgiven much loves much (my loose translation). And I have been forgiven much.

He really is the answer. Him, not Christians. Him, not the Church. Him, not even me.

I love you guys - thanks for reading.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous4:49 PM

    As always, Kathleen, beautiful. I especially laughed at ,"You know, that's not where I thought she was going... (loosely paraphrased). I think you love people like that too. You certainly show Christ with your love. Love ya, Annette