All that I ever did.
“All that I ever did.”
Can we just take a moment to think about this phrase? All that it holds now and all the more it will hold 2 days from now or even 12 years from now. This phrase encompasses so much. It encompasses things that we vividly remember as well as life that didn’t make it to the long term memory bank.
Let’s be honest. We’ve all done a whole lot of things. Good things, great even. But also bad. We’ve all thought even more things. We have dwelled on good things that are truthful as well as lingered in lust or lies. Some of the things we have done are those that are seen by everyone around us and therefore praised or disapproved by them. Some we have to this day gripped tightly as our deepest secrets, things no one else ever ‘needs’ to know.
When I think about all that I ever did I try to reach back into my mind to find my earliest memory. I can’t decide if it was the Little Mermaid cake I ate at my 4th birthday party or sitting on Santa’s lap on a snowy Christmas Eve when he came to visit my parents and I in our little trailer. Regardless, I have done so many things, made so many decisions, and been a part of so many things that I can not even begin to recall them all. Sure, there are those “big” life-changing moments like home videos of my first steps and Facebook albums of family vacations and youth trips, but those are just mountaintops, really. What about the in between?
I want to talk about the things that I wish I wouldn’t remember — the things without any Instagram posts or tweets. Things that tend to haunt me. (kinda dramatic, but true) Things that I would never do again that are dripping with regret. Even those things that I have done, sworn I never would again, yet once again here I am finding myself doing that one thing. Then the guilt sets in. In a unbelievable and strangling way. I can’t think normally, my thoughts are a buzz and the reminder of sin brings me to a pretty quick stop. This is the part when I begin to define myself by what I have done. I cower in my shell of remorse and allow my mind to replay things from my past (or present) over and over until I have bought into the idea that I am only worth my failures.
Wow. That’s dangerous. And a COMPLETE lie, but can you relate?
Let me tell you about someone who can. I don’t know her name. Pretty much all we know about her is that she was a Samaritan and an adulteress, but one thing she said continues to ring in my ears as a reminder of the truth of the Lord’s perfectly complete grace.
In John 4 it says she was getting water from a well when a man came and asked her for some, started talking about a living water, and asked her questions about her life.
What could she have been thinking about that day? Was it just another ordinary day when she was simply considering the task of getting water? Or, was it one of those days when she had bought into an identity of failure as well?
How unsuspecting she had to have been! A random stranger coming to tell her something she had never heard before. Of course Jesus knew she was an adulteress. Of course He knew that she was still sitting in that sin. So, of course Jesus went on to offer the same grace that abounds even still for me and you.
And this is how she reacted.
The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”
… So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” — John 4:25–26,28
Ya’ll, Christ has done the same for us and will continue to do the same for us. He knows all that we have ever done — the things we have forgotten, the things we wish we could forget, and the things that we recall as good memories or accomplishments.
Because he knows the good, he is pleased to show us every work that he has done in each of us. Even further, he knows the bad. He shows us and convicts us of the bad. And he works out of it something good. #graceupongrace
Did you ever think that the most life-changing moments could take place when the Lord comes to show you ALL that you have ever done? How much good he has already worked? All that He has ever done in you?
I sure didn’t.
It gave me a completely different understanding of the truth of grace — one that has allowed me to live without looking back at the shadows of failure.
It has given me the courage to look at and own up to my sin and failures.
It has given me the perspective to see these things as noticed, but not held against me.
It has given me the freedom to let things go.
It has given me the perspective to see Christ as so much bigger than what I can do — good or bad.
It has given me a desire to take part in this same grace by sharing it.
I pray these words give the same freedom to you, too.