Sometimes it astounds me that I am, and I will say that I am this very loosely, a "Christian writer". I am a Christian, and I'm shaky when I say that. I believe in Christ and try to follow Him. I believe in all points of the Nicene Creed so I can write for Tyndale House. Ha! Was it them that said there writers had to believe in the creed? And you know what? I love that my church, which, come on, is the Orthodox Church, believes in the Creed, and not something we made up in it's place). So, let's just say, I bought in in that respect. I got baptised. I got baptised again. And because somebody said I had to I got baptised again. Thank God that upon converting to Orthodoxy nobody made me do it again, but I did have to get Chrismated, which is a BIG--the Orthodox faithful do EVERYTHING BIG--anointing service. Exocisms happened. Spitting upon Satan. And this was before they even let me in the door! I got a lot of oil slathered on me in blessing. It was wonderful. And I try to love Him. He knows I do, even though I fail Him so much more often. So let's just say for my resume I'm a Christian, me the chief of sinners. And because I write things I'm a Christian writer. And let's take this further and say that because my books generally speaking feature Christian people who are often as big a mess as I am, and some who are not, I write Christian Fiction. All clear? Well, it astounds me, chief of sinners still.
What astounds me more is this online phenomenon ragamuffin diva. Honestly! I show my draws! My dirty, stankin' draws! And there you are telling me how brave and honest I am. It's a little absurd, isn't it?
Once I asked a publishing person what my future could be with their publishing house. She asked me what Ann Lamott's publishing future could be with CBA. I was quiet for a moment as I pondered what she said. Ann Lamott has no publishing future with CBA that ANYONE, including me, can forsee. In fact, I'm pretty convinced my CBA days are numbered and there may even exist the possibility that I may be on the Orthodox Church's hit list if they have such a thing! I should add that I should have seen the writing on the wall as per that conversation with the publishing executive. Turns out I didn't have a future with that company afterall. So you see why this whole thing of being a Christian writer, me, raga-d, has me trippin.
Last night, admitting how lost I am. Angry that I couldn't FIND my favorite Bible--there were others, but I am a brat--I told a friend who loves me and thinks I'm the bomb that I am literally a Christian with NO meaningful spiritual practice right now. The only thing I do, I said, is write. I rarely pick up a Bible. My prayer life is a very heartfelt, "God help me. I'm so sorry." But we all know that is no way to live in Christ. I haven't been to church since before Christmas. And hadn't been so much before then.
I say all of this to say that I realized something very important about myself last. Something deep and profound. Something I need to always remember, treasure, and take with me. You ready???
There ain't a damn thing about me that's worth anything.
It's true. I am the worst wife, mother, friend, Christian, example, leader imaginable. When I say I am the chief of sinners I say it without stuttering or without reservation. I don't even have enough left in me to dredge up any pride.
This is what I did last night when I realized my atrocious habits are going to ruin my family. I might bust hell wide open, but I don't want that to happen to them. I cried out to God with my whole heart to have mercy on me, not for my sake, but theirs. The Orthodox Church has great appeal to me. We know how to ask God for mercy. We know how to say we're sinners. I picked up the Bible I found in the wreckage of my bedroom. I can see why sloth is a deadly sin. I dusted off my altar. Kissed every saint, Jesus Christ of Sinai and the blessed Mother. Lit all the candles I had in prayer, and went to the cross. I did all I could. I did some business with God. I asked Him to save my family. Next I'll stretch out and ask Him to save y'all.
I don't know why you come here except for this. Here is my one thing. And you probably knew this before I did. I thought it was because you liked my writing! Ha! Okay, I know you come for Jesus, but there are so many, so much more worthy that can give Him to you better. Despite my utter inability to do anything right--What I want to do, and God knows I want to, I don't. What I don't want to do, that's what I do. I want to love Him, but I am fat, lazy, cuss too much, am completely undisciplined, completely self-absorbed, I can go on and on. It is Jesus that keeps coming to me. He keeps loving me. And the only thing I do, my one blessed thing in this life, is that I write down that He came. He sees worth in this mess that I am. His creation. His loved but soiled bride. He loves me. He hasn't left me nor forsaken me. He's poured blood over each and every sin. Every sin I've committed since I gave my life to Him.
Yeah. I've got my Bible right here with me. I'm reading it. We'll have new wheels next week and I've already told Father Leo we'll be back home. As many as can fit in my godfather Laike's car will go tomorrow. I'm sick of myself. Of my selfishness. I'm ready to walk the walk and clean up the mouth. Yeah, I said it. I want to sound a little more like Jesus. Well, when He's not cursing fig trees.
God, be merciful to me, a sinner.
"We love Him because He first loved us." I John 4:19
And hey, don't tell me you think I'm great. You want to do me a favor, comment and tell me, "Me, too." Or at the very least, say, "Yeah, you really do suck."