I was 25 and thought I knew it all. I was in a ministry job at a church I love. But I was prideful and arrogant and stubborn. And so I had to learn the hard way. During a meeting with the leadership above me, I displayed my immaturity in an embarrassing way. They should have fired me, but they didn’t. Instead, they kindly moved me to another area. To this girl who thought she knew it all, it felt like a demotion, a big step-down, a disappointment. I didn’t have any other job opportunities, so I stayed, but my attitude was still arrogant and bitter.
With a stubborn heart, the next few months went by in a blur. I didn’t want to admit how a bitter heart was ruining me. It was pushing me away from God. It was hurting friendships. And I was struggling to reconcile my performing, perfectionist tendencies with a God who loved me in all my imperfection.
It was in this season that I found out I was pregnant. That first pregnancy had come easily, a bright spot in what had been a rough season. But a month later I had my first miscarriage and then a few months after that our second miscarriage. My performing perfectionist self was at rock bottom. The day I lost our second baby, I went up to the church offices to get a few things. Friends gave me hugs and told me they were praying. I was sitting at my desk when I turned around to see my pastor in the door. He was one of the people in the meeting several months back, the meeting I was now ashamed of because I had acted so ridiculously prideful. The meeting where I should have been fired. But he didn’t remind me of that meeting. All he did was give me a hug like a dad would give his daughter.
That day I learned about kindness that leads to repentance.
I got a tangible picture of God gently calling me back—not as a tyrant whipping his people into line but as a shepherd guiding his sheep. Or as a Father welcoming His child home. “Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?” Romans 2:4, The Message
In the same way my pastor gave much kindness, tolerance, and patience towards me, my God does the same. Gratefully, I am not the person I once was, but I still struggle with pride. I’m still stubborn. I still try to do things my own way. But my heavenly Father is there calling me back to Himself with kindness, showing me a different way. His kindness softens me. It lets me drop my guard and allows the Holy Spirit to reveal ugly parts of my heart so God can heal them.
His kindness brings me back to grace. Back to love. Back to Him. When you have received kindness like I did, you want to give that same kindness to others.
How can our homes be a safe place for our family to experience grace and the kindness of God that leads to growth? Do I expect perfection from my spouse and my kids? Or do those I love know that within these four walls they can find a soft place to let their guard down and let God work in their hearts?
**Today’s blog was written by Elissa Roberts – follow her at www.elissawroberts.com