O God of such truth as sweeps away all lies, of such grace as shrivels all excuses, come now to find us for we have lost our selves in a shuffle of disguises and the rattle of empty words.
Let your Spirit move mercifully to recreate us from the chaos of our lives.
We have been careless of our days, our loves, our gifts, our chances. . . .
Our prayer is to change, O God, not out of despair of self but for love of you, and for the selves we long to become before we simply waste away.
Let your mercy move in and through us now. . . . Amen.
— Ted Loder, My Heart in My Mouth
My heart’s words tonight aren’t my own. They belong to Ted. Ted wrote them. I read them in Ruth Haley Barton’s Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership several months ago. As happens, things come back around.
I’ve been sitting here downshifting for a while now, hands poised over the keys. I need rest. Deep rest, especially as a full week will be knocking on my door with a wake-up call in a few short hours. I considered whether I should post anything tonight. Truly, when sleep invites, I should go.
But I couldn’t get this piece from Ted out of my mind, and I needed to know why. Maybe one of you needs the gift of his words too?
I went digging for my notebook, the source book, and a few words I’d written about it when I first read it. At the time, it came at me somewhat twisted. A particular string of words rose up and slapped me with sass. Feelings of judgement pervaded that day as echoes of childhood pressed me deep against the spindles of my rocker.
Some of the phrases that ran through my mind went like this:
“For the love of God, chew with your mouth closed.”
They stopped me in my tracks. I closed the book.
I needed to let the Lord redeem. Not just the words, but me. I needed to be free from the sin of judgement. One who feels too quickly being judged, isn’t remembering the freedom of redemption. Sure, phrases like these filtered my thinking. But they weren’t meant to harm, only to correct. I needed to let it go. I needed to let the Lord speak life and mercy. I needed to receive grace, be grace, and reclaim the powerful truth of these life-giving words: FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.
I want to live for the love of God. Everything I do, all I say. For Him. Laid bare, exposed, given to Him, surrendered.
Tonight Ted’s words gather at the front of my mind in their proper context. As I read them tonight, various phrases rise and fall, inviting meditation. I’ll type his words again, extending my perspective, highlighting the parts that rise.
Will you join me in this bedtime prayer? It goes far beyond “my soul to keep.”
O God [Almighty, Creator of Heavens and Earth] of such truth as sweeps away all lies, [the kind of Truth that sets captives like me free] of such grace as shrivels all excuses, [grace that dispels every shadowed memory—can you see the shriveled excuses in the image of the wicked witch as she gasps, “I’m melting!”] come now to find us [“come,” that word stirs me every time] for we have lost our selves [our true selves, the ones You created to reflect Your glory] in a shuffle of disguises and the rattle of empty words. [My identity is You; my words are Yours.]
Let your Spirit move mercifully [without judgement] to recreate us from the chaos of our lives. [bring beauty from these ashes—by Your Spirit, I am new]
We have been careless of our days, our loves, our gifts, our chances. . . . [Ummm . . . careless of my loves? Forgive me.]
Our prayer is to change, O God, not out of despair of self but for love of you, [keep me open, surrendered] and for the selves we long to become before we simply waste away. [for love of You, my Beloved]
Let your mercy move in and through us now. . . .
O God, for love of You, I lay myself down. You are Grace by which I am healed. Whole. Forgiven. Released. New. Amen.
Goodnight, my friends. If you’re moved to pray this prayer with me, let me know. I want to picture your face, pray for you by name, even as you pray for me. We’re better together.
Yep, the 31-day life-giving process of writing My 500 Words every day with Jeff Goins is kicking my heiny.
A few of you have already come alongside me in this life-giving death. Anyone else care to join us? It’s a commitment to write every day. Somewhere. I’ve chosen to use it as a challenge to post my wrestling here. But you can do what’s best for you! We just interact for support, not critique. For more info, click on the above link.