On Discipleship

My living room walls are this awkward tan-stucco pink color.

I hate you, pink-tan. 
It was picked in a hurry and there was no turning back once my husband rolled the first coat. Z was due in mere weeks and our new place still had unpainted walls and no baseboards and no kitchen appliances and a giant hole in our master bedroom wall. 

So the paint stayed up. 

Now we have random patches of sample greens and browns on our walls as we consider a new color. Our remodeling emotions are scarred and we dare not make the same mistake twice. 

I've had to explain the patches many times as college students have traveled in and out of our front door. Heaving their backpacks onto a living room rug scattered with blocks and board books and collapsing onto a couch covered in spit-up stains and avocado smears.

And they could care less, because my living room is not a class room or a library or a computer lab or the counter at their part-time job.

It's just that, a living room.

Whose main occupant is a rambunctious toddler with a voice modulation problem and an admirable talent for making messes; but our family tries to fill the space between the ugly tan-pink walls with as much peace and grace and truth and love as our humanity will allow. We hope to keep filling it with the same, so when these students enter and sit at our kitchen table and talk about their lives they might see Christ and come to know and love Him. 

Discipleship is messy work, and I doubt it's supposed to be anything but. On the bad days I've had accusations flung at me and on the worst days some of those have been more true than is easy for me to admit.  

The good days though, which there are more of, thankfully, I've seen forgiveness heal broken places and I've seen grace crumble walls.

I've seen a student meet Jesus, the real Jesus, for the first time after years of searching and whisper a first prayer out loud to the God that she had loved for some time, but could now understand exactly how much He had long loved her.

I've seen a student shed tears for a whole nation of people who are broken; and neither of us knew that those tears were the first step to her getting on an airplane and moving to that country and living among those people, so that they might know Him who can heal.

Yes, there are definitely good days.

It is a humbling gift to give and receive. Because all discipleship really is, when you get down to it, is allowing another human help you figure out what it means to follow Jesus.

Yes, I'll listen. 
Yes, I'll speak with grace and truth. 
Yes, I'll risk letting you into the shakier places and step into yours. 
Yes, I'll take a chance that you care more about my heart than you do about my behavior. 
Yes, I'll forgive if (and when?) we fail each other.  

No, there's nothing pristine and orderly about that.

But there is the goodness of God and the love of Christ. And the Spirit weaving through conversation and tears and laughter, bringing counsel and comfort.

When I sit down with someone for the first time, whether it's just to get to know them or they asked to meet for a specific purpose, I try to remember that all I have worth giving is Christ.

That this world has had enough of the blind leading the blind.

That discipleship looks a lot more like the people in the Bible who brought their sick loved ones to Jesus and left the rest up to Him, rather than trying to do the healing themselves.

That really, what people want is life, they want to breathe without the weight of shame or regret, they want to act in security, they want to love wholly.

And the only reason I have any life to give at all is because I know the One who is the unending source of it.

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