My name is Brandi and I believe in Jesus. Chances are, we’re friends because you do too, but I wanted to be clear about something, so I’m writing you this letter.
I love Him with every fiber of my soul. I grew up in a pew and am now raising my own children there. But I struggle with pride and I have, at times, crumbled in fit-throwing fear.
I get up almost every morning to pray and read the Bible before the sun rises. I pray for me, for you, for my family. I pray for our nation, our town, our church, my neighbors. But I sometimes loose my temper with my kids, using words like daggers.
I volunteer in my local church and write Bible studies and devotions for an online christian ministry. But I grumble in selfishness on my way to awkward family gatherings and leave guilt trips for my husband when he doesn’t read my mind.
I crank the worship music, obnoxiously at times. It fuels my soul in ways I can’t begin to describe. But in the past I have danced on bar tops and won a beer drinking contest or two. I’ve even let curse words slip through my lips on the way to church.
Yep. It is true.
I guess I wanted you to know that I am human. I have flesh and it comes with its own set of baggage. My struggles are real, just like yours. I have felt the sting of rejection and nursed my wounded heart. And I’ve done those things in the wrong way. I’ve risen up in selfish pride, only to fall flat on my face when bitterness took over. I’ve faced new opportunity with great fear of vulnerability, sometimes to the point of shrinking back and biting those who got too close. I have loved with my whole heart and I’ve seethed with hate too.
I’m human. Like Judas who betrayed, and Barabbas who murdered and Peter who doubted and denied. I have deserted my faith in exchange for worldly comfort. I have thought hateful, murderous things about others. I have doubted the very God I claim to love, trying to put Him in a box of explanations and predictions. I have even run the other way when His infallible love met my sin.
Like Judas, Barabbas and Peter, I am a human with a heart that longs for the presence of God. And I wrestle out my faith in this messed up planet. Some days I get it right and others… well I drown in a prideful, fearful, anger-inducing, self-binging pit of despair.
“The Father would have to treat Jesus like Barrabas so that He could treat Barrabas like Jesus.” ~Judah Smith
Jesus still called Judas to be one of the elite twelve, even though he knew the ending. Jesus knowingly and willingly set Barabbas free, not because he would do better this time, but because Jesus loved. And even while Peter waffled, Jesus still embraced. I am just flesh and bone, and I will fail again and again. I choose Jesus’ love. I surrender both my failings and my successes to His grace, all of me for all of Him.
“The greatest challenge is not your discipline, devotion or your focus.
Your greatest challenge is believing the gospel.” ~Judah Smith
Friend, I am not perfect. Don’t lie, you’re not either. But we are free. Free to embrace this life through the undeniable, unconditional love of God. Because of His forgiveness and grace for me, I can look at you through the eyes of Love. We are friends not because of your perfection, we are friends because of His favor. I will press onward in my pursuit of righteousness and I pledge to be your cheerleader as you do the same.