Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Most Important Lesson I Ever Taught

Have you ever come to a place in your life where you ask yourself ,,."is this all there is?"
There was a time like that for me.
It was a time, not too long ago, when my Faith walk had come to a deeply troubling place. I felt that I was working and struggling under the weight of a church religion without experiencing the joy and freedom that it promised.
This particular time in my life often found me worried what others thought of me, and less worried what God thought of me. Unfortunately,..the same oppressive mind-set was devastating Ralph and the three girls.
Where was our peace?
Where was our joy?
Our home was not as it should be.

Over a period of months,..and without a real intention to do so, Ralph and I began to "work out our Faith with fear and trembling".

One day, as I prepared the Wednesday night lesson for our teenagers,..I began to pull together a lesson on Grace. I began with a background of Moses,..the 10 Commandments,..the Laws of Leviticus and how priests were to interpret and intercede on behalf of the children Of God.
I explained how religion all revolved around "rules" and then I would read the teens a few rules from Leviticus.
I then I discussed how generations and time had somehow changed some of the interpretations and duties of the law and it finally reached a point where no one, one,... could hardly ever keep the law.
It was crazy to try.
Interspersed throughout the lesson, I would read several rules from Leviticus.

Most people couldn't read in those days, and were dependent on the scholars and priests to teach the right way of salvation. The Pharisees had a reputation of being pious and proud and the regular 'ole Jewish person was often left wondering if they were "good enough".

Enter Jesus of Nazareth.
Teaching wonderful things like "God will now begin to base His judgement on the one thing you can control,...your heart!"
This was Good News indeed!

But what about the "rules"? the church leaders asked.
Actually it probably was more like:

Grace was a new word,..but was the wonderful freeing Word of Salvation to the people who had been straining under the weight of their religion.

I declared that Wednesday night, that I would be turning over a new leaf! I told the kids that as of that very moment,..I was living my life differently. I asked them to join me as we began focusing on what God thought of us,..and stop worrying about what others thought.

It felt rebellious!
It felt mutinous!
It felt liberating!
Teenagers love all of those feelings! :)

That Wednesday evening,..a beautiful young girl sat there, in her softball uniform and her ponytail, captivated and staring at me as I spoke this passionate and personal lesson on the freedom of Grace.

The lesson was for me.
The lesson was for my teenagers.
But the lesson was mostly for that young girl, 16 y/o daughter, Jae Lynn.
I felt as if I was telling her,.. "Jae baby,..this Grace is for you. You are way too unique to be forced into a stuffy religion and we're not gonna do it anymore! From now on,..Let's follow God with our hearts! Let's live in the freedom of grace."

I could tell. She understood the message.

The date of that lesson was March 17, 2004.
Less that 24 hours later,..Jae Lynn was killed in a horrific car wreck.


I have often wondered why God inspired me to teach that lesson on that night.
Was that His gift to her?
or was it His gift to me?
Both, I suppose.

The real gift, however, not the memory,..nor the lesson,...
It's the subject,....
The real gift is Grace.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing that Becky!I never knew that you had taught that the day before! I love you!


JTCRangers said...

I'm about 2 weeks in to reading as I fall asleep "In the grip of Grace" by Lucado. Grace is such an unnatural response of mine it is good to read what Max has to say about it and your thoughts reinforce it for me - thanks again for opening up your heart and allowing me to follow along on your journey!