Wednesday, January 21, 2015

{Three Word Wednesday} Moment by Moment

Nineteen years and one day ago I decided to follow Jesus. Somebody had just talked about the Prodigal Son and how he came home. The worship band played “Growing Young” by Rich Mullins. And I nailed some sins written on a slip of paper to a wooden cross laying in the floor.

You’d say I was saved that night.

But I’ve since learned salvation is about so much more than that one moment. Of course, that one moment mattered because it changed every other one that would follow.

That night I believed I was saved from myself and eternal separation from God. I’ve since realized I was saved for something too. My salvation frames my story. My choices – where I went to college, who I dated, who I married, trying to conceive, deciding the adopt, how I spend my time, how I spend my money, what we teach our kids – are continually filtered through my identity as a daughter of God who decided 19 years ago to come home.

Although, really, it’s not about just coming home.

I’ve never been the rebellious one. I’m your stereotypical first-born child who follows rules, wants to please people, and has controlling tendencies. When I first heard the story of the Prodigal Son, I figured God wanted us all to learn that we need to come home – to him. And when we do, he’s waiting for us.

While that’s absolutely true, I don’t think that’s all the story is about. {If you don’t know the story, read it here.}

Truthfully, I identify more with the older brother – the one who kept the rules and was bitter when his brother got a party and grace when he deserved judgment and punishment. My natural ways tend more toward justice than mercy.

But I follow a God who is the exact opposite.

“You can choose, like many, to chain yourself to your hurt. Or you can choose, like some, to put away your hurts before they become hates. You can choose to go the party. You have a place there. Your name is beside a plate. If you are a child of God, no one can take away your sonship.

Which is precisely what the father says to the older son. ‘Son, you are always with me, and all I have is yours’ (Luke 15:31). And that is precisely what the Father says to you. How does God deal with your bitter heart? He reminds you that what you have is more important than what you don’t have. …
The brother was bitter because he focused on what he didn’t have and forgot what he did have. His father reminded him – and us – that he had everything he’d always had. He had his job. His place. His name. His inheritance. The only thing he didn’t have was the spotlight. And because he wasn’t content to share it – he missed the party.”

{Max Lucado in “He Still Moves Stones”}

Because of who God is, I’m not the same person I was 19 years ago. It began with a moment of salvation and has continued as God has saved me, adopted me, promised me, grown me, transformed me, taught me, strengthened me, forgiven me, trusted me, and celebrated me so many moments since.

Some hurts still haunt me, but I know God is dealing with those now. I’m sure there will be more hurts, but God promises in the end everything will work together for the good for those who follow him (Romans 8:28).

I was saved then. And I’m being saved now. Moment by moment. Grace by grace.


I'm also linking up this post with Holley Gerth's Coffee for Your Heart and Jennifer Dukes Lee's #TellHisStory

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  1. Kristin, this is a most powerful post! I want to be able to celebrate & come alongside others & celebrate with them & for them. Yet how often the "older brother syndrome" can creep in if we are not careful. May I continually focus on Him and His grace offered to me today, in this moment. Powerful & beautiful reminder!
    ** Are those your children? They are beautiful!
    Have a blessed Wednesday!

  2. Kaylie Hodges1/21/2015 6:16 AM

    Kristen, I too am more natural inclined toward justice and I have found learning mercy and compassion has led me through some hard lessons! Thanks for sharing this!

  3. There were my two favorite words at the end . . . But God. Thank you, God, for your grace and for all the ways you continue to grow and transform us. Loved this post, Kristin. xoxo

  4. Yes- I am the older brother, too. This moved me today. Thanks for working through this powerful message and putting such beautiful words to it. Loved it!

  5. I so get what you are saying. It could be because I am the oldest, a rule follower, a justice lover and slowly recovering control freak who falls off the proverbial 'I am giving it back to God' wagon. You said, " My salvation frames my story" and I get that, too. It should, though, you know. It should frame our everything. It should be the one independent factor in all the variables of our living. It is good to be in such like company with you, Kristin. :)
    Bless you!

  6. KristinHillTaylor1/21/2015 10:07 AM

    I am so grateful my salvation is the foundation of everything else is life. And I'm glad God didn't leave me who I was 19 years ago. Thanks for your encouragement here, Dawn!

  7. KristinHillTaylor1/21/2015 10:08 AM

    I'm glad you were encouraged, Karen. And I'm glad you're here.

  8. KristinHillTaylor1/21/2015 10:08 AM

    I actually thought of you when I wrote them. :) Love you, friend!

  9. KristinHillTaylor1/21/2015 10:08 AM

    Thank God for mercy and compassion, even if it's not my natural tendency! :) Thanks for being here, Kaylie!

  10. KristinHillTaylor1/21/2015 10:10 AM

    Hi, Joanne! Those are my kids FOUR years ago. Goodness, time flies. They were 1 and 3 then, but that's the picture that came to mind when I was reading Max Lucado's comments on the Prodigal Son story. :) Thanks for being here today. I'm glad you were encouraged.

  11. Oh Kristin, I missed linking today. My granddaughter's birthday and she posted. I'll catch TWW next week!

  12. One of my greatest regrets is not marking the date I accepted the Lord. I knew the whereabouts and I remember the details, but not the date. I'll put on the list of things to ask Jesus in heaven. :) I so related to your words today, Kristin. I wasn't the rebellious one either but instead the consummate people-pleasing-rule-follower. I think that is one of the biggest things Christ saved me from - myself. Depending on me and following after me and instead turning to Him for all things. He still saves me from that every single day. I'm just blessed beyond words to be able to link hearts here. Hugs!

  13. Kristin, You are right...our acceptance of Christ is the first step of being transformed into the image of Christ. Our salvation plays a part in every decision we make (or it should). Blessings, sweet friend, Kasey

  14. Kristin, your words truly are special for me too. So thankful that you came over today for reading yours is my story too and that confirmation. I laughed a bit when I read the oldest child's too!! I have been learning that God may have birthed me before my sisters but He wants those things...the controlling spirit, the pleasing everyone and all, etc. to be laid at the foot of the Cross. I have and have also picked them up again, just to have to place them back. : ) Still learning...still in school.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

  15. KristinHillTaylor1/22/2015 9:18 AM

    Thanks, Melody! :)

  16. KristinHillTaylor1/22/2015 9:19 AM

    It's good to know we aren't alone. Thanks for being here with encouragement, Linda!

  17. KristinHillTaylor1/22/2015 9:19 AM

    Thank you, Kasey!

  18. KristinHillTaylor1/22/2015 9:20 AM

    I don't know that I would have remembered the exact date except it was a retreat type weekend so I could go back and look at the calendar because I knew which weekend it was. I didn't document life then like I do now. :) I'm so grateful for you being here. xoxo

  19. KristinHillTaylor1/22/2015 9:20 AM

    I missed you linking up too! Hope she had a lovely birthday!

  20. Wow...I wonder what was happening in heaven 19 years ago? That's when I gave my life over to Christ as well! Since that time (and even before) God has been continually growing and shaping me, changing me into the person I am today and who I will be tomorrow. He has seen me through some ups and some major downs, but, He has never left my side. What an awesome God we serve!

    Blessings, Joan

  21. KristinHillTaylor1/23/2015 1:43 PM

    Ahhh! I love thinking about the party in heaven. In fact, I have chills right now. So glad you shared that piece of your testimony here, Joan. Looking back on a salvation experience is so interesting. I can see definite moments used to get me to that moment in the months (even years) leading up to then. Thanks for sharing here, Joan.

  22. KristinHillTaylor1/23/2015 1:44 PM

    Hi, Jennifer! I love seeing you here and reading your encouraging words. Isn't God amazing?! xoxo