In a perfect world, I would not HAVE a gospel story. In a perfect world, the gospel would have just BEEN THERE, in a way that was so consistent it was BORING (because that is something that we say often of the gospel, yes? Oh, that thing where the GOD OF THE UNIVERSE made himself like me because he loves me to an extent that I can’t even BEGIN to fathom, and then he died a terrible death and even though I don’t deserve to even glimpse eternal life with him, I am given it for FREE? Totes boring. SNORE). I was raised steeped in “church”, surrounded by churchy people doing churchy things. And yet, despite that, the gospel danced around me (well, perhaps I danced around it?), staying just far enough way to not be completely foreign but to stay nice and safe, nice and “understood”. Check, got it, what’s for breakfast?
I was raised in a Catholic home. We went to Church on holidays as a family, and I went every Friday with my school. My teachers were nuns, and monthly confessions were a thing. I would tell the priest what I did wrong, he would give me a list of things to say in my head, and that was that. God, or his heart, was never a thing that I even thought to deal with personally. It was all taken care of by the church.
I ended up going to a Lutheran high school, thanks partly to a move, and partly to my parents insistence that I continue my private education. I remember my first day, being asked if I brought my Bible. MY Bible? Why would I own one of those? I hear those stories when we go to church. It took me three years to understand that maybe God wanted to have a relationship with ME, instead of “you go exist over there and I will exist over here and maybe we will meet when everything is over and done with.” That concept BLEW MY MIND. It literally sent shockwaves up and down my life, changing me down to my bones. My entire future upended when that took root. I don’t say that lightly.
Even so, the gospel danced. It twirled and jumped, and I couldn’t quite pin it down. So I would say JESUS DIED FOR ME, and now look at all these nice things I have done! Isn’t that nice? Aren’t I nice? I have my checklist of NICE THINGS that I can do, and I have my list of NOT NICE THINGS that I try to avoid as much as I can. And because of that, Jesus is my BFF, and I got that WWJD thing DOWN.
That continued, through college, through the early years of my marriage, through my first few years as a (very exhausted) parent. I’d tick my boxes, and avoid the icky stuff, and then get on with the rest of my day. I identified as Laura, Wife, Mother, Daughter, Friend, Sister, member of this club, participator of that group, Cupcake Maker, oh and also, sure, a Christian. Of course.
And then, 2ish years ago, the gospel stopped dancing, and it stood right in my way. So much in my way that I slammed into it, at full speed. And it knocked me (and my entire family) off of my course. The intensity of it broke my back for Him. It morphed from a generalized Nice Thing to an intensely personal story of death, resurrection, and redemption. It changed from a megaphone calling whoever would listen, to a whisper, urging me forward. And, one step at a time, I learned that dance.
Turns out, when you dance with the gospel, you very rarely take a straight line.
I began to forget to check my boxes, and I forgot about the list of things I should avoid. And I just danced. And when I danced, I found that other people would start dancing with me. Put this foot here, it would urge. Turn your head there, it would whisper. Follow me now, it would call. And so we did.
You hear a lot about how the gospel can SAVE YOU FROM YOUR SINFUL LIFE. And it’s true. But I think we forget that the gospel can save you from your good life that is apart from God. It can save you from your good life that holds no weight. It can rescue you from a peaceful life with no direction.
It wasn’t until we came to Hiawatha that we understood the dance we were in. When we started coming just over a year ago, and we heard the gospel EVERY SINGLE WEEK, it was as if the gospel stopped dancing WITH us, but instead, stepped inside of us, and we couldn't HELP but dance. Jesus died for me! Alleluia! Absolutely nothing is dependent on MY power! PRAISE GOD!
I am Laura. I am wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend… but first and foremost, I am SAVED. And because of that, I can dance, I can shout, and I can laugh, all the while singing the words of our Savior:
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?” -Luke 12:22-26