If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans. I’m changing this nonsense: if you want to make God laugh, tell him a joke.
The other day I read The Face of Change by Caralyn of Beauty Beyond Bones. Caralyn shares: “I’m going to put *this* one all the way in the back. Hide this hideous girl,” I groaned to my mom, as I hung it facing the wall, at the very bottom. And without even missing a beat my mom goes, “I love that girl.. I love her just as much as I do now. She deserves all the love in the world.”
I know Caralyn shared more after that, what? doesn’t really matter because Caralyn’s mom summed up LOVE in the deepest, most succinct way possible. Because Romans 5:8 But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.
Normally when I reply to Caralyn’s blog posts the words flow easily. However it’s difficult to reply when tears are streaming down your face, ones of relief, healing, gratitude and deep realization. In that moment when Caralyn physically, and spiritually was at her worst, her mom say through that to LOVE her, she saw her kid in need of being loved in this very painful moment. I can assure you from the work my Sweetie and I did that being loved, accepting love in those difficult moments is painful, sometimes unbearable. Sometimes it’s hard to love another person in those difficult, brutal moments.
You see we attach a sense of “goodness” to God’s love for us. We attach the conditions of doing the right thing, saying the right thing, being the most present person ever to our understanding of being loved. We forget that God loves us, period. We forget because those in our lives that we are supposed to be loved by often fail in some way – falling short of our expectations; or those that we are supposed to love make it unbearably hard to do so causing deep hurt and pain.
We also forget that love desires the best for the other person, not our own expectations of them. We forget that we are charged with loving our very self in spite of the fact that we have our own faults and failings. WE need, and want grace extended when we screw up and forget to extend that grace when others screw up.
God loves us anyway.
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been worried that I’d head into the same dark, weird, heavy funk that happened last winter. However at the same time I catch my self smiling long enough that my cheeks hurt. There is a deep sense of Joy. It doesn’t matter what I do – God loves me. It doesn’t matter what I don’t do, how many times I fail, sin – God loves me. Please understand I suffer under no illusions of the responsibility I have for these sins and failures. Just as Caralyn’s mom saw a young woman, her daughter, in need of being loved, I see that I need to be loved by me, to accept God’s love with gratitude. To be stirred to the depths of my being with love for others.
It doesn’t matter if I make perfect quilts. It doesn’t matter if all my stitches are straight. It doesn’t matter if the colors I choose to quilt go with the fabrics in the quilt top. I am still loved by God. You are still loved by God. You are, we are entering into that Creative Love of God.
Oh yes friends I can bring this back to quilting in so many ways. I don’t think I need to. We all know where the “bodies are buried” in our work. What Caralyn did, what I am experiencing is a moving from the shame of those imperfections to the opportunities they are to grow in love: Love of God, love of self, love of all the neighbors.
Love is more than we’ve ever understood, and experienced. We are coming to the moment at the beginning of our Church year where the Love begins expressing to us the beauty in relying on others, becoming vulnerable, and accepting love and help from others. We will move quickly, almost feverishly to Lent and Easter, where we experience sacrificial love that we can experience in the deepest, most transformative of ways.
So I do want to make God laugh with great joy as I tell Him jokes, and create the quilts I’m supposed to create, and encourage the people I’m gifted to encourage, and as I love deeply, passionately and with great grace and mercy.
Happy New Year!
(the beginning of Advent)