My name “Anne” means full of grace. I have always loved the idea of grace (undeserved favor) and loved the thought of being graceful. Yet I didn’t really understand grace at all until I became part of a community who gave Grace no place at all. For years our family was part of a church that was very focused on getting rid of our personal sins and iniquities, yet somehow forgot the work of Jesus on the cross. It turns out that is it very hard, toilsome work to try and reform your nasty, sinful self…in fact it is downright Impossible.
After years of this exhausting struggle to make ourselves less wretched and the tiniest bit lovable, God set us free by getting us kicked out of this church. The leaders brought false charges against us, sent us away, and shunned us. One of the best things that has EVER happened to us!!!!
A few years after that, while our hearts were still healing in a very healthy church, God gave me a dream. I was in a room with many other believers. We were gathered around a dark and stoic Jesus. He explained to us what he required of us. We must throw ourselves out the window and plummet down a vast chasm. A young girl volunteered to be first. She jumped and we all watched her diminishing form until we could no longer see her. I braced myself for the sound of impact and the scream that must surely follow…but there was only silence.
The bottom of the canyon must have been much farther away than I had thought! Yet so deep was my devotion to this Jesus, my only reasonable response was to jump next. Before I took the leap, I looked at Jesus and asked, “Will I ever see you again.”
With no emotion in his expression, he replied, “No.”
I loved Jesus and the thought of never seeing him again devastated me. I threw myself out of the window, looking forward to the impact, longing for the deep pain in my heart to cease. Death was all I had left.
Yet before I knew it, a spry older gentleman appeared out of nowhere and plucked me out of the sky. He looked very much like the actor Patrick Stewart. He carried me to safety and placed me gently on the ground. He was my hero!!!
He was smiling peacefully and trying to tell me something very important. Yet I couldn’t concentrate on his words.
“Please, sir! You must hurry! There is an entire group of people preparing to jump off of the same cliff that I did. You must save them!”
He was gone in an instant, and I looked around me. I was in a beautiful forest like the land of Narnia. And in the distance I saw Aslan with a royal crown on his head.
I woke up very perplexed by this dream. Surely it must have been a good thing that I was willing to die for Jesus.
“But why did you tell me that I would never see you again?” I asked Jesus.
He answered me in his sweet, quite way.
“The Jesus in your dream was not me, only your version of me that was reinforced by the other church. That Jesus was cold and harsh and unconnected to your suffering. You will never see me that way again. Now you will behold me as I really am. And the man who caught you? That was Grace. You made a sacrifice that I never required of you, but even in that…my Grace has caught you.”