This month marks the ninth anniversary of Perfection Road. What a journey it’s been! Many of you wobbled those first baby steps right along with me, and I can’t thank you enough for the love and encouragement you’ve given me. To those of you who’ve recently become “Roadies”, thank you for taking the time to travel along. What better occasion to restate the purpose of our journey together and allow you to see a treasure I received Saturday!
First, the Purpose
A few weeks ago, I was asked the same question I’ve been asked many times, “What do you write about?” Normally, I give a pat answer about writing Christian books or I mention Perfection Road’s tagline: Filling life’s potholes with God’s perfection. However, this time my newfound joy inspired a much better answer to that question! I blurted out a very simple answer, “I write about everything Jesus has done in my life!”
Isn’t that what this life is all about, sharing the new song of joy that Jesus places in our mouths so that others will hear it and want what we’ve found? My journey differs from yours only in that we often experience similar things in a different order. We all trek through hurts that need healing, negative thinking that needs changing, grief that needs counseling, relationships that need mending, stress that needs rest, and yes, we are all addicted to something. When we share our struggles, we learn from one another. Giving God the credit for working everything out for our good grows our faith and the faith of our listeners.
I constantly see things in my life that need more than a little tweaking. I’m sure you do as well. However, for the first time in my life, I am finally convinced that God loves me no matter how many mistakes I make. I will always be His and He will always be mine. You can have that confidence too if you are willing to place His hand on your steering wheel. Nothing can separate you from His love. You can remain confident and secure in that fact from now through eternity.
In the meantime, I’m willing to allow others into my story because I realize I am not the author of my story. Thank God, He is! “His way perfect.” (Psalm 18:30) Perfection Road is one way I can give God the glory He deserves. “Not to us, Lord, but to Your name be all the glory.” (Psalm 115:1)
Of all the topics I’ve address here on the Road, none got as much response as the ones describing the depression I felt. Our world suffers from a spirit of heaviness. Just take a glance at social media or the news and you’ll see all the symptoms: criticism, anger, rage, slander, abuse, and suicide rates. It’s enough to make even the strongest of us depressed.
In the depths of my depression I found the cure – His name is Jesus. Yes, some depressed people definitely need medication to cope. All need counseling. But I will contend until my last breath that depression cannot be totally defeated without experiencing the presence of Jesus. There is no true peace without the Prince of Peace.
How we experience His presence will be different for each of us. It may take a moment of great drama or it may happen in a quiet, subtle moment.
For me, it was at the beach last summer. You can call it a dream or a vision or just something I made up. I really don’t care. All I know is that at my lowest moment I saw Jesus sitting on the beach, looking out at the ocean. I knew it was Him, so I entered into that vision. As I laid in the rented beach chair, He turned His head and smiled that great big smile of His and said, “You know I love you, right?” My eyes teared up as I answered, “Yes, but do you know how much I love you?” He just kept smiling as He walked over and sat next to me. I felt Him stroke my hair away from my eyes while I looked into His. He quietly said, “You just need to rest.”
There were a few more words we shared that are between Him and me, but there in that one moment I heard the remedy for depression. Rest. Not just physical and emotional rest, but spiritual rest.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”Matthew 11:28-30, The Message
Since that day, I have closed my eyes many times and seen the same Jesus I saw on the beach. He comforts and reassures me the second my peace is threatened. My Sunday morning worship means so much more now because I know to whom I’m singing.
I wanted to capture that special moment at the beach, so I asked my artist friend Katie Wilson to paint what I saw that day. She was the only person I knew with the talent and relationship with Jesus that could enter into that scene with me. She asked for a recording describing the scene in detail, then she did exactly what I knew she would. She asked the Holy Spirit to help her see what I saw that day. You may doubt this whole story, and that’s okay. But, can I just encourage you by saying that Katie painted EXACTLY what I saw that day – to the very last detail? That couldn’t happen without entering into His presence and asking for help.
Perfection Road exists so that the name of Jesus can be magnified. He is more than ready, willing, and able to reveal Himself to you if you give Him the chance.
“And the one who loves me will be loved by my Father. I also will love him and will reveal myself to him.”John 14:21
As Katie handed me the painting she said, “I titled it, You Know I Love You, Right?” What better title!