I have been in a season of learning grace. Over and over I have been tested. I have been tested in small ways and in large ways.
I didn’t know I was in this season until Mother’s day of last year when I was given a necklace with the word GRACE imprinted on it. I didn’t want GRACE, I understood it, I got GRACE. Why was I being given GRACE?!? What I really wanted was something noble, something strong like COURAGE. Courage I can get behind. Strong women, bold plans, GO FOR IT. “She believed she could, so she did.” These are mantras that attract me. GRACE seemed….do I dare say it?
I left GRACE on the shelf in the bag for a few weeks. I kept thinking of whom I would be able to pass on this sweet gift to because surely I wouldn’t wear it. I know it was given to me, but it wasn’t for me. I knew it.
Then, one day I was reading something on forgiveness and grace. I realized that although I understood God’s grace for me, I definitely had something to learn about giving grace to others. My nature is to walk away when I do not like something, someone or a situation. I can let it go and forgive, but then I walk away. The next time I walked past the necklace, I picked it up and accepted the gift. I need to give grace. To love others truly, to love my neighbor, I must offer grace.
Many trials seem to find me to practice this new found grace for others. Instead of walking away, I turned towards people. I forgave and forgot. It has been a few years since I had a difficult lesson to learn. Oh baby, was this hard! Everything in me wanted to bolt, unfriend, hide their feed, tell people straight where they should go, run. But, I stuck with it. I got stuck in grace.
When you give grace, peace comes. It becomes easier to forgive. It becomes easier to slow down. It becomes easier to stay still and not run. Grace. I finally got it. I discovered that I was tired of running. I was tired of shallow relationships. I was tired of the baggage. I was just tired. I want to live in grace and give grace each and every chance that appears.
I was tested over and over.
Over and over.
And over and over. I got pretty good at grace so I thought. Suggestion, don’t ever think you are pretty good at grace. One of 2 things are likely to happen. One, pretty good leaves plenty of room for improvement. Two, claiming you are pretty good at something just sounds like a serious challenge.
Tonight was a challenge. My grace skills were challenged. At first, I didn’t think I was going to pass the test. I actually didn’t realize it was a test. My heart was hurt and it literally hurt, like a weight was on it. I wanted to run. I wanted to curse someone out and then run some more. My mind raced like crazy, my peace was gone.
So, I prayed. I prayed for words and wisdom. For a moment, I was really hoping I got the green light to run. Running seems easy. Sometimes I just want easy. GO, GO, GO was not what I heard. Instead, God’s instead whispered…grace….love like crazy. Sometimes God’s instead seems crazy, seems impossible. But when you trust God and lean on Him, nothing is impossible and grace flows like a river. I wanted to stay mad at one point, but then I smiled secretly and I knew it. I felt it. My heart was still heavy but grace overcomes. Love always wins.
I give you grace.
For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.
John 1:16 (ESV)