• 72°

He loves us anyway

There is so much to accomplish when moving from one area to the other. Fortunately for us, the people we have met in Tennessee have been super accommodating. Since I have lived in one area most of my life, I could walk in the bank or the corner store and know at least some of the workers or other customers.

Now, almost everyone I see is new to me. This is both exhilarating, and a little strange at the same time. I have always enjoyed meeting new people, so that part is great. But I guess I almost took for granted that small hometown feeling, much like the theme song for the classic sitcom “Cheers.” In other words, everyone doesn’t know my name — actually, almost no one does.

We attended church this Sunday, and the pastor spoke of the way we sometimes feel that God is happy with us and blesses us when we check all of our good girl/good boy boxes. Some of us feel that when we mess up and fall short God doesn’t want to bless us because we aren’t good enough. He went on to remind us that our best is not good enough, and we are only blessed because God is good.

The pastor stated that one reason people skip out on class reunions is the way our actions for a few years may shape the way others look at us for our entire lives. But God doesn’t look at our past or even our present mistakes. He sees us through eyes of love and compassion, when we accept the free gift of His Son who took our shame.

I mulled the pastor’s words over, and realized that sometimes I actually do feel the way he described. On a day when I may be a little grumpy or fall into some other form of less than stellar behavior, I don’t feel that I deserve God’s grace and mercy. But on other days I may feel pretty proud of myself.

It’s true that hardly anyone knows me in Tennessee, but when they have a chance to see the real me they will know — just as my hometown people do — that I make mistakes and give in to the wrong things sometimes. Truth is I’ve always been a wanna be. I wanna follow Jesus, but my behavior doesn’t always match up with my want to. Some days I’m just so glad that He sees my heart instead of my performance only. Thank God that He puts people into our lives who really love us, look past our faults, and quietly reach out a hand to help us climb.

Those are the kind of friends I’m looking for in my new home. I want to be that friend, both to the people I have yet to meet and form a relationship with, and to those true, blue old friends who remember the crazy times from years gone by, but love me anyway.

Jan Penton Miller can be reached at lilsisjan@yahoo.com.