Dribbling Glory

Clay Jar    Last week, a former student stayed with us. We’ve known her since she was a kid, so she knows a lot about us. But for five days she was privy to all that makes us a red-blooded, human family: our arguments, our chaos, our morning breath… Living side-by-side with people, seeing them in all their pre-coffee, bed headed glory, reveals new facets of their character.

Letting others into private spaces where they can see the unfiltered us takes courage. It’s risky. The stakes are high. Having someone observe us day in and day out forces the “R” word out into the open.

    Reality.

And reality is not always attractive. I am a broken, messy person, and the things in my soul are sometimes not very pretty. There are parts of me I would rather have nobody see.

But loving people, letting them in, means opening the deep reservoirs of the heart and taking the chance that ugly things may leak out.

Several years ago, Mike’s parents traveled to Spain. While they were there, my mother-in-law bought us a gift: a small, unglazed earthen pitcher. This pitcher is designed to slowly leak water through its porous walls, cooling the contents naturally as the moisture on the jar’s surface evaporates. Whatever is in the jar eventually ends up on the outside.

You and I are made from the dust of the earth, from clay, the same weak and fragile stuff as my pitcher. We are porous. Whatever is inside us will eventually leak out, droplets of selfishness and grace running together.

Living as a Christ-follower here on this earth is an odd thing.

    I am full of him. I am full of me.

    I am sinful. I am righteous.

    I am living and flourishing while my body marches on toward decay.

    I pour out both healing and wounds, speak mercy and cruelty.

My weakness, my inability to get rid of the old and become new, makes me crave grace.

    It makes me crave the Gospel.

That shocking message that Jesus’ sacrifice is enough. That I don’t have to do anything, can’t do anything to earn salvation. That the Spirit of God is pouring himself into me, seeping into the crevices where darkness hides, washing me clean, and filling me with clear streams of life that dribble through my weakness to the outside, to the people who share my days.

The beauty of God’s glory in me is that it is not diminished by my own failure.  It is stronger than my hurtful choices, more fragrant than my rotten attitude. The river of his grace never slows down as it carves new paths, transforming the landscape of my soul.

He is making me new. Every real little bit of me.

    “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” (2 Corinthians 4:7)

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