Even though I am a horrible Scrabble player, I love words. I love the way they express my feelings and ideas when written. I love the emotions, wonder and imagination they elicit when read. God chose to gift me creatively with words – and only words. If you need a blog post, a devotional, or a speech; I’m your girl. But don’t ask me to help you decorate a room or make that wreath you saw on Pinterest. Trust me on that one. Nobody wants that.
Getting back to what I’m good at – I discovered a brand-new-to-me word last week that has captured my attention. Palimpsest. Isn’t that a fun word? I have to concentrate to pronounce all of those consonants. It means “a text written over an earlier text that was erased, with a few traces showing.” (from Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life with Words). Who even knew a word for that existed, but the image lives in my mind. I see the paper, clean and white to start with, but soon covered with ideas and thoughts scribbled quickly before they are forgotten. But a mistake – either a misspelling or a change of direction – necessitates the use of that rubbery eraser leaving little fragments behind that are swept off the page and out of the way. The eraser produces an almost clean surface for the correct word or phrase, but indications of the previous tenant remain. Once the author errs, the paper never looks clean and crisp again.
As a writer, I see an exciting and energizing process of invention in the palimpsest; but as a Jesus follower, this new word reminds me of the sin in my life. I make plenty of mistakes. Choices and flub-ups that grieve me. But, mercifully, they are not permanently typeset on the story of my life. Because Jesus took the punishment for my sin when He died on the cross, I can repent of my wrongdoing and He will erase it. But like the palimpsest, I don’t look exactly as I did before my trespasses. No one is free from certain earthly consequences of decisions made. But God often teaches us beautiful lessons as He carries us out of our messes. I have regrets in my life, and I’ve done things that hurt myself and others. But I don’t dwell on them. The Bible tells us that God uses all things for good (Romans 8:28). Every piece of my story helped form who I am today. And God is kind enough to use me just as I am (that sounds like an invitational hymn).
I am not my mistakes. And neither are you. The good news is that Jesus erases those sins so we can commune with our good, good Father (that sounds like a song, too). And because He is so loving, He writes NEW words over our rubbed out flaws. Words like FORGIVEN, BELOVED, BLAMELESS, and BEAUTIFUL. Words so tender and breathtaking that others hardly notice the traces of anything else left underneath.
What words do you feel Him adding to your story today? Comment on this post in thanksgiving for all you are in Christ. If you see a word God has written on a friend or sister, share this article and speak that word over him or her. You never know how you might encourage someone today.
“See, I am doing a new thing!…I, even I am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” Isaiah 43