Monday, October 7, 2013

Day 8:: Grace

Grace: unmerited favor. A gift that we do not deserve. A love that we can not earn.

No matter where you are at in this journey, I ask you to look at your blessings. What has God given you to be thankful for? Your children? Your home? A car that works? Family that supports? A job that provides?

All examples of grace. Every good thing we have ever been extended is grace given in our lives. Grace is weaved in and out of our lives and it is as constant as the waves on a shore. Blessings washing over us.

photo credit: kern.justin via photopin cc

Grace for yourself....

Several months ago I attempted a simple Pinterest project in my bedroom. I had a decorative towel bar I had bought years ago and never used.  I decided it would work perfectly to hang all of my necklaces on.

Simple enough right? Hang the towel bar, buy some hooks, hang the necklaces. One Saturday without the kids, I headed to Lowe's to get exactly what I needed. I picked up some drywall anchors and screws, some hooks and headed home. I figure this would be quick. Painless. Easy.

Yeah, not so much. By the time I was done, I had lost an anchor somewhere in the abyss of the wall, had four massive holes in my beautiful paint and a towel bar still collecting dust with hooks that were too small. I was hot, sweaty and angry.

I can name a million more seemingly simple household tasks since my separation. Some, I have learned to conquer: mowing the yard, smoke detector issues. Others I have had to admit defeat and move on.

It's unpleasant to realize failure; to want perfection and always come up short.

When you are behind on laundry. When your house is a wreck. When you have to mow the yard again and you are too worn out. When you stand exhausted at the stove at the end of a long day. When you lose your patience with your kiddos and snap again.

Give yourself some grace. You do not have to be perfect. Let go of perfect.

And more importantly, do not dwell on your imperfections.

Hebrews 8:12
And I will be merciful to them in their wrongdoings, and I will remember their sins no more. (TLB)

Psalm 103:12
as far as the east is from the west,
so far as he has removed our transgressions from us. (NIV)

If you need to confess a sin, confess it and move on. Your sins are washed away. He does not remember them; you do not need to dwell on them.

Unfortunately, I have lived for years with another reminding me over and over the ways I have messed up. Magnifying my brokenness and refusing to give grace. Wanting forgiveness and grace in their own life, but never being able to muster forgiveness in mine.  It aches deep.

But I've come to realize the only opinion that matters is that of my Savior. Accept His grace and move on.

Grace for others...

Not only do we desperately need grace in our own lives, but we also need to give it away. I do not think that God sacrificed His one and only Son to give grace and forgiveness for us to hoard all for ourselves.

Ephesians 5:1-2
Follow God's example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

The easy...
A few weeks ago, my son was just in a rotten mood. Anytime he was around his sisters he was teasing and tormenting causing chaos and fuss. I was at my wits end. I talked and lectured. I punished and yelled. Nothing worked. Nothing changed his behavior.

I finally got to the bottom of his hurt: he was missing his Dad. I talked to Dad and we decided number one: to come as a united front against this bad behavior. And number two: Dad would call and check in, between his weekends.

I gave my boy some grace. I dropped some of his punishment. I gently reminded and corrected instead of disciplining and reacting to his bad behavior. And after a week, his attitude dramatically improved.

I love him and I have compassion for him. He is my boy; a part of me. Yes, I want to see him make the right choices, but giving him grace was natural because the love I have for him overwhelms all other senses.

The not so easy...

Here is where grace for others can be challenging. Remember the definition. Unmerited favor.

Our flesh wants to fight against this gift to someone when deep pain and hurt is involved. When we feel justice is more appropriate.

This giving of grace becomes crucial.

That is when our faith is tested.

My relationship with my ex-husband has been strained, to say the least. We have hurt each other so deeply in many ways. And instead of being able to lie down past hurts, we have both continued to pour salt in old wounds and create new ones.

But several months ago, after wrestling with God, I sat in a church service and heard a Word so clearly: How can I want grace from my ex-husband so desperately, yet not be willing to give the same?


I can tell you it is an agonizing process. It's uncomfortable and excruciating. Especially knowing I may never receive the same extension.

And I'll admit that I give grace and snatch it back. I extend His love and His mercy and then feel a fool.

But my faith and my hope lies in the One who gave His very life to extend a grace to me I do not deserve. I can rest knowing that my obedience in extending His grace; this stretching of my faith; He will honor in my life.

The one I'm giving it to may never care nor want it. But he's not the one who matters. Who matters is my God whom I serve and who loves me no matter what.

And that my friends, is Who I live for.

Matt Redman has a new song out entitled "Your Grace Finds Me".

Will you take a minute to listen to the words of this song?

"It's the same for the rich and the poor.
Same for the saint and the sinner.
Enough for this whole wide world
Your great grace, oh such grace."

Breathe in His grace and breathe out His praise.

For all is grace.

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