“It is finished. May those words land on your bones for the nights when fear tells you the cross was a beginning and you must finish grace.” – Jon Acuff
Transitions are hard for me. I would imagine that they are hard for most people, but no matter how many times I travel between Azusa and Scottsdale, the journey is without fail blanketed in tears.
I am unabashedly nostalgic. In this present transition I feel the tension between the love I have for where I just was and the love I have for where I am going, the pressure of my conflicting emotions springing freely from my eyes. I rejoice with the close of a dark season, yet I look back on the lessons now clearly carved into my life with a strange fondness. I feel intense appreciation for those souls who stood resolutely by my raw heart and loved me despite receiving little in return.
I am also so grateful for this place that I call home. I didn’t realize what a sweet sanctuary I have nestled here in the suburbs of Phoenix until I left. My parents are RAD humans. I could write on and on about how their stories bleed into mine. They are the ones who cultivated my curious mind. They are the ones who instilled a strength in my bones and a stubbornness in my heart that refuses to let me settle. They are the ones who passionately led me into the throne room of God and pointed me toward the path of divine romance. I could literally go on and on… but I’ll save these rants for another day. For now, just know that no matter where in this world my restless soul takes me, Phoenix will always have a smidgeon of my heart and my parents will always be the water that nourishes my roots.
Another reason why transitions rattle my nerve so significantly is because they force me to stop and look at my life with a particularly critical eye. Where have I just come from? Where am I headed? What kind of person am I being shaped into?
Who, really, is Jacova Kathleen Snyder?
In case you were curious, I just flopped back on my bed and starred at my dusty ceiling fan for a solid ten wondering how I could possibly begin to answer that question.
Looking back, it is clear that through this semester God was forming my identity in some pretty significant ways. I am certain that I will continue to process this season for quite some time, but I do have some over-arching observations.
The other day my dad asked me if this season has left me feeling stronger or weaker. I had to think about this for quite some time, but my answer is this: neither.
I feel neither weaker nor stronger in the wake of this semester; rather, I feel more aware of my strengths and weaknesses. My depravity is no deeper. My courage is no more valiant. I just see with clearer eyes who I am, and who Jesus created me to be.
At the beginning of the semester, I was lamenting my brokenness to a friend who then warned me of the self-deprecating nature of overly-zealous “humility”.
Let me clarify.
YES, I am broken beyond self-repair. YES, I continue to commit adultery against the One who loves me faithfully despite my fickle heart. YES, I frequently need to assume a lowly posture due to my continued disobedience. BUT I have been REDEEMED.
The price was paid in Jesus’ death and resurrection. My sin was vanquished on the cross and His blood has covered me with boundless grace. I have accepted His mercy and chosen to live as His precious child.
But I am still consumed by my sin. I often mourn my unfaithfulness in such a way that the power of the cross is discounted. My posture connotes that my unwise decision(s) to give my heart to things other than the Lord is enough to diminish His sacrifice. This puts me as the center and Him on the sidelines.
The quote I put at the beginning of this post says it all – it is finished.
My friend painted a convicting picture for me. It’s as if I am being guided on the path of life, but I let go of the Savior’s hand and run to hide in the gnarled bushes beside the path. True repentance is beautiful, and absolutely necessary for the Christian faith. But I have the tendency to twist confession into a pity party that leaves me ineffective for kingdom purposes since I am constantly focused on my sin rather than His glory.
The truth is that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I have intense passion that, when misguided, can get me into trouble. But, this Christ has redeemed and turned into an unquenchable desire to see His kingdom expand. I am good with words and infatuated with story telling, which means my imagination is easily captured by whatever narrative is right in front of me. But, this Christ has redeemed and used to shape my perspective of Him and convey His stories to others.
In short, I am incredibly weak because the stain of sin has seeped into every area of my life. BUT I am incredibly strong because the blood of Emmanuel is more powerful than my flesh, and the strength of His sacrifice is the ripple effect that I cannot escape no matter how hard I try.
So now I ask you, who are you? Really. How have you been stained? What parts of your life are marred in ways that you cannot possibly begin to foresee their repair? Yet, do you believe that He is enough? Do you see how incredible and fearsome and unique He made you? Will you take His hand so He can pull you out of brambles and back onto the path of life where you belong?
Whatever transition or season of life you find yourself in this Christmas, I hope that you take time to reflect and ask yourself these questions.
Who are you? Really.