We Are All Lizzy

Trying something new. Needs a little work. That’s what practice is for, right?

It was a dark, closed-in space, dank and dingy, and Lizzy wasn’t at all sure how she had ended up there.
It had started with a teensy spot of envy – wishing that she owned what someone else had – and had ended up with robbery and murder when the owner had walked in on her.
She stared at the wall, hardly able to comprehend why she had done what she had done. She wasn’t a bad person. Sure, she could be prideful and sometimes got angry when she shouldn’t, but there were lots of people who were worse than she.
The door clanged open and she was led down the hall to the courtroom in chains. Chains.
It was humiliating to stand there in that orange suit, shackles on her wrists and ankles, knowing that she deserved to be there and hating that now everyone else knew she deserved it too.
The judge came in and sat, looking at her for a long time.
Out of the corner of her eye, Lizzy saw another figure in the same orange jumpsuit, with the same shackles, shuffle up and stand next to her. She turned and saw it was a man. A plain, rough-hewn sort of man. He glanced down at her and gave a small smile. She turned away, embarrassed.
She looked back at the judge who had begun to speak.
There was disappointment in the voice, but there was kindness too.
“You have been found guilty of robbery and of murder. Your sentence is death.”
Lizzy lowered her eyes and felt the breath explode out of her. She knew she deserved it. She waited to be led out again, back to her cell, but the judge kept speaking.
“Lizzy. You will now be released.”
Lizzy’s eyes shot up again, widened in disbelief. That didn’t make sense!
“My son has volunteered to take your place. He will die and you will be released.”
It happened so quickly that Lizzy hardly understood. Her chains were taken off and that man who had stood beside her was led away to be put to death. With dizzying speed, she found herself outside the courthouse – free.
As she stood there, dumbfounded and bewildered, breathing the fresh, clean air of the outdoors, a voice said her name.
She looked up and saw the judge standing beside her.
“You must be hungry. I know that it all happened very quickly. Will you come to my house for supper?”
She stared into the somber, kind eyes of the judge and, despite herself, despite her embarrassment and bafflement, found herself nodding yes.
After a meal of the most delicious food she had ever tasted and the most absorbing conversation she’d ever taken part of, the judge looked at her with a look of the most raw and naked love she had ever seen.
“Lizzy. I love you. I love you with all that I am. I want to adopt you as my own child. I want to be your Father, your Daddy. Everything I have will be yours. I want to give you a home, give you my name, give you my love. Will you have me?”
The judge who had delivered the just sentence of death for her crimes, the judge who gave up his son to take her place, that very same judge now also wanted to adopt her and give her all of him?
Lizzy could do nothing but fall to her knees with her face to the floor and weep.

Seeking Approval

Is there anything quite like the level of desperation we feel when seeking the approval of our parents?
I can remember as a child not being willing to go to sleep until an argument had been reconciled, even creeping out of bed at night to make sure Mom and Dad weren’t angry with me anymore.
Even as an adult, those feelings have not diminished in the least. In fact, since the situations I encounter these days are a bit more important in the realm of the eternal (raising small humans rather than being late for curfew), perhaps my desire for my parents to be proud of me has even grown.
What is this longing we have for those in authority over us to approve of us?
Even those who have had too many authority figures abuse their power have only pushed those yearnings deep down rather than never having had those feelings in the first place.
It must be something placed inside of us, something sown in the soil of our hearts.
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
It must be a need to be who we were created to be, a need for the One who made us to approve of what we have become.
Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well…How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
The desperate hope that I will be able to please my parents must be the natural outflow of my hope that I will be able to please my God.
And just as my parents guided and taught me to do the things that pleased them, so God will teach me how to please Him, and I yearn in my deepest places for Him to do so.
Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!
I have caught a glimpse of the beauty that we can become, and that glimpse drives the desire for God to judge our hearts and help us to look more like Jesus. I want Him to judge me so that He can help me become who He created me to be.
And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!
May God, out of His infinite grace, judge us all.

Scripture is from Psalm 139

I Long

I long.


I long for the day
When it all falls away and
I rest.


When I rest in His grace
Or I gaze at His face then
I know.


I will know He is love
That all light comes from that love so
I trust.


I will trust that someday
All these clouds will roll away and so
I long.

What I Want from God

I expect God to reward me.
Perhaps that is a bit candid, but I suspect I am not the only one.
I expect that when I do something for God, give something up for Him, that He will reward me appropriately.
I think that I can control His response by what I do.
Perhaps this is extreme, but I don’t think so.
Before our children came along, my husband and I went to China for a year to work with a house church that had been established the year before.
When we came home, we didn’t have jobs.
A month went by and we still didn’t have jobs.
Our savings started dwindling, and another month passed with no sign of gainful employment.
When work finally did come? It was a temporary position at a university. Not exactly what we had dreamed and hoped.
Through all of this, there were a lot of prayers hurled at God.
There were a lot of accusatory, “we served You!”, and “why are You deserting us?” sorts of prayers heaved toward God.
We think that if we do something for God (give up our life, give up control, do x number of acts of service), we should gain something from God (love, happiness, more than enough to live on).
Yet if God is holy, if He is worthy, if He is perfect beauty, than to see Him is to bow, to worship, to understand my own unworthiness.
God is offering us so much. He gives us His Son. He promises to make us like Him, into who we were created to be. He promises us His presence, promises to be with us, to never leave us.
So I suppose we do gain when we give up something for God.
Not houses and travel.
Not adoring family and deep friendships.
Not healthy body and intelligent mind.
None of this is promised.
What, then, do we gain?
Nothing less than God Himself.
Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ~ Revelation 21.3