The skeletons in my closet

We all have them right?

College is an especially ripe environment to accumulate some of these skeletons.  Let me tell you a little story from my university years.

It was 2002.  I was doing a group project, a final presentation for one of my classes during my undergraduate career.  For an independent introvert there is hardly anything more torturous than forced teamwork

Anyway, we collaborated and then presented on one of the last days of the semester, passed the class and never looked back.

That is until I realized that two of the books that I checked out from the library that I lent to another group member for his portion of the project were not returned to me, nor were they returned to the library.  I tried contacting him and even requested help from my professor to get these books back but to no avail.

So twelve years later I have some massive fines and two books still unreturned to my alma mater’s library.

Wait, what?  You expected something juicier when I titled this blog “Skeletons in my closet”?  Something perhaps more scandalous than overdue library books?

I am sure I have plenty of those kinds of skeletons, too.  But you know, this is a public blog soooo….

This might not be the sexiest, juiciest, most scandalous skeleton ever,  but nevertheless there it is  hanging in my closet.  Not a huge millstone tied around my neck, but a pesky one, a small blemish on my record and a nagging fear that the library gods would some day find me and fine me.

Well, this week they did.  I got an e-mail that went a little something like this…

Dear Kirsten.  You have two library books SEVERELY OVERDUE.  Send us our money and our books or we are sending this TO A COLLECTION AGENCY.  P.S. What is the matter with you?!?!

Oh my goodness they think I am some kind of a delinquent!!  Don’t they know I am a mom?  Who LEADS BIBLE STUDIES AT HER CHURCH??!!

I checked my old school library account online and sure enough there were $140 in fines.

Additionally I was notified that I would owe $150.00 per missing book if I couldn’t return them. (okay so $150 seemed pretty steep for a book on the Inca road system, right?  Surely I could find it cheaper.   Um, no.  I did a quick Amazon search and found that just one of them ranged between $150 and $270.  Seriously?  Are these books dipped in gold and organic peruvian quinoa?)

Now I am starting to feel sick as I imagine having to tell my husband that we need to take several hundred dollars out of our savings account for my past wayward ways.

It was time to face my shame.  Even though I knew I could place some of the blame on my slacker-of-a-group-member, these were books that I checked out, on my account and I couldn’t pretend this problem didn’t exist anymore, although I had successfully avoided it for 12 years.

I sent a brief e-mail in reply that went a little something like this..

Oh most benevolent library gods, I don’t have the books.   Group projects suck.  I am at your mercy. Love, Kirsten

Although I could hardly stand the thought of paying all this money, it actually felt good to fess up and know I could put it behind me.

Less then a day passed before I heard back and I was so anxious as I opened the e-mail, cringing at the possible monetary amount surely to be mentioned, and also feeling a bit like a naughty elementary school student waiting for another scolding from the teacher.

The e-mail went a little something like this,

Dear Kirsten,  You’re right, group projects DO suck.  No worries, it’s all good.  Your account is cleared of all charges.

Say whaaaaaaattt?

I immediately checked my library account and discovered that both books had been removed, along with the $140 in fines.

Benevolent library gods indeed!

I have checked back several times since, still in awe that my criminal university record was wiped clean so easily.  Each time I checked, I would feel that sense of relief again.  In fact it felt so good I think I’ll go check again right now…

…okay, still clear!

And , I started to think.

What if not just the small (or in my case, large) library book variety of skeletons were taken out of my my closet, but also the more scandalous and shameful ones as well?

What if I could look back, every day if I really wanted to, and be reminded that “really?  wow!  My account is still wiped clean!” 

What if I could experience that sense of relief for everything in my life?

And hey, what if there was an actual God, not just those library guys, the kind that can’t just see my overdue books but the kind that can somehow see into my past and into my heart (there are some skeletons lurking in there, too)

What if this God wanted to give me freedom, too?

What if no matter how much I owed, how scandalous my skeleton, or how many years I had been avoiding and running and pretending, this God was waiting to reply?

Dear Kirsten,

As far as sunrise is from sunset, I have separated you from your sins (psalm 103)

Please approach My throne of grace with confidence, so that you may receive mercy and find grace to help you in your time of need (Hebrews 4)

It’s all good!

Love, God

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