An Adventure of Grace

BY MARIAH COWARD

I’ve always been a very passionate person. Adventure is my favorite thing. Adventure where? Anywhere. I’ll do it. I’ll go there. I love to discover and push limits. When someone even implies I can’t do something, I prove them wrong. I’ve never been satisfied with simply existing. I have to do more and push harder. When I laugh it is heartily. When I cry it is gut-wrenching. When I love it is fiercely and when I am shunned my wrath is terrifying. I’ve always been mercurial, going through weeks of great depression followed with the same of the greatest highs.

I’m independent, yet needy. I can be insane, yet incredibly put together. Routine is my enemy. So what happens to this kind of girl when Jesus saves her and puts her in a Southern Baptist, highly conservative, legalistic church? (And yes, I do think Jesus put me there and not through a set of unfortunate accidents.) Well, she dies and in perfect extremes I clap and cry at this girl’s funeral. I clap because this girl could never have had a family. I clap because this girl was bold and willful, never able to follow anyone or anything but her own emotions. I clap because this girl left people in the dust the moment they lost their purpose. I clap because to this girl people were her playthings. I clap for countless reasons, but I cry for only 1. I cry because….what now? Being redefined is a terrible process. It’s a mid-life crisis at 23, lasting for what I can only assume as the rest of my life.

My mind wanders and I think, Isn’t that what sanctification is all about? A process of redefining? Or rather a process of knowing your new definition? It’s a never ending juxtaposition of absolute agony and equal joy.

That girl who died would have loved this. That girl who died thrived in indecision. That girl who died never lasted a full lease before moving again. The law I was fed at that highly conservative, legalistic Church kept that girl in chains until she withered away to nothing. Most of the time, I’m thankful for it. However, I can not say I am better because of it. The problem remains, what happens when who you are is nothing? What happens when you’re ever reminded of your burial, but being brought to life remains an ambiguous concept.

You see, the Law binds the old Adam, but can not bestow life from the New. The Law left me shrill and withered like a deflating bouncy house at the end of a long day, telling a tale of the fun that could be had there while the wind is slowly sucked from within its lungs. I was tired. Oh boy, was I tired. Until one day, I stumbled on an incredible idea. What if...what if I really believed that God loved me? All of me...And not by accident, but by pre-determined choice because that was all that there ever was and all that was ever possible? What if the Gospel meant more than just to pull me from the pit. Ah, that first breath of life when I realized the significance of double imputation, that great exchange. His death for my life. My sin for His righteousness. My faithlessness for His faith. My running for His steadfastness.

Let me tell you, that sad, dusty, lifeless bouncy house never inflated so fast. I began to read the Bible with new eyes. I saw Christ in places I had never seen Him before. Each page was a new adventure and each discovered Truth ignited new passion within me. I wept and I laughed. I danced and I sang new songs to my Lord. My world became bright and full of Christ’s wondrous love for me. How scandalous a Gospel it really was. I will never forget the wonder of discovering for the first time the Jesus who was mine and realizing that I was His too. Safe and secure and well-loved.

Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bid’st me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come! I come!

Because of my great sin, the Law for me was death. That girl I told you about...she really did die. However, Christ has resurrected that girl to be as she ought to have always been. Pure and undefiled, united with God the Father to live forever in His arms.

So what now? The seemingly empty question that had plagued me for so long...What now? Where do I go from here? The answer? “Anywhere and everywhere,” says Christ to my remade heart. “We’re going on an adventure, my dear child.”

Mariah is the worship liturgist at Trinity Church NWA. She loves music and theology and the intersection between the two. She is wife to Daniel and mother to Clara and Amelie. She lives in Rogers Arkansas. 

Twitter @MariahCCoward