I gritted my teeth as drops of blood sprang up, mixing with the black and royal purple ink.
Breathe in. Hold. The needle began following the outline of the butterfly’s wings, grating the bone of my ankle. I couldn’t wait for it to be finished. It would my reminder of redemption, truth, and what God had done; as if this moment marked the past. The door was closing as I stepped out of brokenness and into life.
Less than a month before, after a series of well-timed events that would make anyone jump off a bridge, I was rushed into the emergency room. Struggling to cling to life, I met with God. Our magnificent maker, the Creator our spirits intuitively know, yet our minds reject.
In that terrifyingly sweet moment–truth unfolded and engulfed all that I am, all that I was.
Before then I had heard of God; I had been to church but it was a ritual. I had stayed on the shallow end of the Christian pool. I was surrounded by others, toe-dipping, ankles-wet. Like them, I questioned faith. I questioned God when other church goers standing on the edge with me would say they loved God but their actions spoke louder than their hearts.
They said they believed in God but embezzled money.
They loved God but had just wakened from a drunken stupor.
They said they believed in God but were having an affair.
They said they believed in God turned atheist because church had no place for the drug addict or the binge drinker.
They loved God but had another one night stand.
They said they believed in God but judged me as ‘white trash.’
They said they believed in God but had a deep hatred for those who didn’t walk the same lines of our culture.
They said they believed in God but steered clear of someone who was labeled with PTSD, Bi-Polar Disorder, Broken, Manic Depression.
They believed in God but told me, “I’m a good person, so why bother with church, I’ll get to heaven because of all the good I’ve done. You’d be wise to do the same.”
If that was their God, I wanted nothing to do with HIM.
After years of searching, I found the truth. I found the King, Master, and Lover of my soul; behind the religious rhetoric. My whole life I was searching for something to fill the void in my spirit and nothing filled it. Instead of letting me wade into his ocean of redemption, he picked me up off my feet and immersed me into the deep waters of his love.
As I sat there waiting for Scott to finish my butterfly, he asked the question, “Why a butterfly?”
“Its a reminder that God can take the mess we’ve made of our lives and create something truly beautiful out of it. Kind of like my life, I was an ugly worm of a person until I let God love me.”
Scott, whose background was like mine, snorted and chuckled as he slathered ointment on my throbbing ankle, “Now ain’t that the truth.”
In God’s nearness, I found where I belonged. In the deep waters of the Christian pool, he simplified the view of who he is. I saw and felt the difference between merely splashing on the waters edge and knowing the deep, infinite love that surrounds us as we wade in deeper. There is a vast difference between being an authentic lover of God and wading in the shallow end.
In our world today, there are so many different views. Some love to chant that God hates sinners, but I have yet to find one person who hasn’t sinned. Others love to hide behind God’s word, spouting Scriptures to wayward friends. And still others have a deep faith but withhold the wisdom that’s been instilled in their hearts, afraid to look too Christian-ish.
No. Not me. I know what brokenness is and have seen first hand what God’s presence can do, instead–I live it.
Yet, so many of us are still standing at the edge, maybe you’ve gone to church all your life and have even felt the refreshing spray of misting from the deep waters. Instead, you splash your toes, maybe walk around up to your ankles. But what keeps you from going to church? And what is your view on faith?
Stripped bare, we are all the same, a picture of brokenness, waiting for redemption in God’s arms. And we can find it if we leave the edge and wade farther in.
To view a picture of what I’m talking about, check out this song: Jason Gray – Remind Me Who I Am
Youtube Version: Jason Gray-Remind Me Who I am