My columns are usually a journey through what ever God and I are processing each week.
That's incorrect. Actually, I'm the one doing the processing, and He's being patient (and amused) as He watches my struggle.
The thing I've been percolating about lately is so crazy, so impossible, so ... radical, I can barely even frame words around it. If I say it out loud, they might just kick me out of Shelbyville.
I am perfected. Right now, today, in this moment and in the next. It is a done deal.
Count me among those who have said in public, "I am a sinner, saved only by grace."
But in itself that statement implies there is a wrongness in me that requires a correction. In context, it also implies that I might slip up today, and need to ask forgiveness later.
I am a perfect work.
Tracy "was" way back in Genesis. As God was delighting in creating a magnolia tree, a giraffe, and a rock fish that lives so deep under the ocean that human eyes would never see it, God thought of me. I was His perfect work then. I am His perfect work now.
A friend shared that she had Skyped with her son on another continent. The time difference was significant. He had just awoken. She said, "I didn't look at him and think, 'Oh, I wish he'd comb his hair' or 'I wish his eyebrows were smaller.'" Rather she looked at him across the miles and thought "What a delight. And I made that. I gave that life."
God does not look down from the heavens and think, "I love Tracy, but I wish she'd lose a little weight" or "Wow, I'd love her more if she could trust me enough to get over that PTSD thing."
He looks at me (sitting here next to me, omnipresent, p.s.) and thinks, "What a delight! How perfect" and then, "I made that. I gave that life." He smiles, proudly, when He thinks of me, and He thinks of me often.
Meanwhile -- I struggle and fuss and strive to understand a Really Big God. I've regarded this an epic journey of faith, of trying to make sense and understand things in a theological sense. I secretly wish to be as insightful as C. S. Lewis when I speak of my faith. Internally, if I can be 'good' enough, then 'good' things will come to me. If I'm not good enough, the consequences are proof of my bad fruit.
Oh lord, we people of faith make it so hard to be people of faith.
When I look at my son I do wish he would shave more often. He has a brilliant mind and a quick wit, but he needs time and experience to contain both. I know he would like to be more fit. Those are just my casual observations, though. Nothing, not a single thing could change the way I hold him in my heart. He's perfect. He's the product of the love Tommy and I have for one another -- and God made him, perfected, at birth. He is no less perfect at 16, than he will be in my mind at 32, or 70.
Just for today, heck, maybe for a whole week, I'm going to take a mental vacation from striving. I'm going to chuck self-doubt out the window, call a cease fire on the notion that continual self-improvement is The Most Necessary goal.
Bad eyebrows, idiosyncrasies, perhaps bad judgment calls from moment to moment; it's me who has crafted Issues out of things which are not actual Issues, but serve to stand between me and Him.
I am enough. Just as I am.
He's 16. He does not want to be a momma's boy this year, or the next. I watch and I wait, patiently, as he strives and worries about things that I know are only temporary. All I really want, what my heart aches for, is to snuggle with this guy, for him to lay his head on my shoulder and rest a moment, knowing he is loved, knowing he loves his mom. I crave that time with him, but fear I'll have to wait a long while. He's so perfect, so lovely, that I'm entirely willing to wait. He will figure it out, in time.
And so will I.
-- Tracy Simmons is a features writer for the Times-Gazette and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.