Today I’m excited to introduce you to my friend, Kristin Demery. Kristin and I work together on the website for a statewide women’s ministry, Bridging the Gap. She calls herself a grammar geek, and reads much deeper books than I would ever consider. She’s an amazing editor who teases me now and again about my love (and overuse) of commas. I know if you ever met her you’d love her as much as I do. I’m so happy she’s sharing her words of encouragement with us today.
Kristin, her sister, Kendra, and good friends, Julie and Jen have teamed up to write an amazing 31-day devotional called Grace for the Misfits. Friend, you want this book! I have to confess, I didn’t take 31 days to read it. The stories are so real and engaging I just couldn’t wait to read the next day’s devotion, (I’m impatient like that)! Kristin has graciously offered a copy of Grace for the Misfits to one of my readers. If you’d like to enter the drawing for a copy, leave a comment and I’ll announce the winner on next Monday’s post. In the meantime, enjoy Kristin’s story:
Wiping the dust from the grassy ball field on my shorts, I looked up just in time to see a red rubber ball blotting out the sun. The slow-motion effect suddenly sped up to warp speed as the ball whammed into my face with a resounding thunk. At the ripe age of 8, it was a total eclipse of humiliation.
I felt utterly embarrassed. And even though I don’t remember anyone laughing at me, I felt the weight of rejection, too. I vowed never to play kickball again.
My non-athleticism carried with me into early young adulthood. I gave up playing basketball after failing to ever get a foul called on me during the season. Not aggressive enough. I gave up volleyball after a few years of lackluster playing because my heart just wasn’t in it. Not athletic enough. Like my kickball encounter from years before, I felt the weight of rejection. I just couldn’t measure up to a standard set by others, so I wondered: Why even bother? Instead, I found comfort and community in other things.
I think that sometimes, as Christians, we can feel like my 8-year-old self, staring down at a red rubber ball of humiliation. We wonder why we don’t quite fit in, question our role or our purpose. We see other people who call themselves Christians, and yet, we can’t identify with them at all. We’re misfits.
It’s a good thing, then, that Jesus loves misfits. In fact, he’s infamous for taking the on-the-outs folks who don’t quite fit in and using them to accomplish great things. He took Saul, who terrorized Christians, and turned him into the apostle Paul. He took hated tax collectors and regular, blue-collar workingmen and made them part of his inner circle. He embraced sinners and scorned so-called saints and loved people with a scandalous grace that the world couldn’t quite believe. All this and yet we still struggle, don’t we? We think that because Jesus was perfect, he couldn’t possibly understand our struggles, our heartaches, our longing for more. Yet he not only understands us, he invites us to be part of building his kingdom. He tells us, “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule” (Matthew 5:3, MSG).
We’re no longer the last person to be picked for kickball, we are joint heirs with Jesus. Adopted into his family. Accepted even when we wonder how we could possibly be acceptable. The good news of the gospel? That’s it. Everybody’s in.
Kristin is SO excited to announce that her new book, Grace for the Misfits: 31 Days Pursuing the Unconventional Favor of God, is available now! This book will offer encouragement and hope for anyone who has ever felt like they didn’t quite fit in, walked through hard times, or wasn’t sure God could use them–all while discovering the upside-down ways of Jesus, his kingdom, and what (and who) he says matters. Find out more information here.