The Marvelous Gift of Grace

The Marvelous Gift of Grace May 13, 2024

A filed with beautiful flowers.
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“We witness other people’s storms from the shelter of our own perspectives. Let’s be mindful that we don’t add the cold rain of judgment to their already soaked spirits.” Liz Newman

When I read this quote I was reminded of a very dark time in my life. I was a teen mom in a small very religious town in the 90’s. To say that I was judged was an understatement. My emotions ran the gamut. Shame, utter loneliness, desperation, fear, terror. There was one moment that I still remember as if it was yesterday. Have you ever seen someone walking in the pouring rain with no umbrella, no coat, no shoes and to top it off it was cold? There was a day when all of those feelings descended down like an ice bucket of water. Totally alone. The words that were uttered about the situation were: trash, trollop, sinner that can’t be forgiven, you will never amount to anything. Your child will not amount to anything. You will live a life alone. 

Judgement Stings Terribly

Each word that was said felt like another pin in the cushion that was my mind and heart. Luckily through God’s grace and mercy none of that happened. There were definitely hard times and more judgment for years to come but those words, those professions stuck in the back of my mind like a millstone weighing it down. In that time I had some folks in my life who were truly kind. They were true believers of the passage of scripture in Ephesians 4:31-32. They let go of the shame, anger and malice that accompanied my dire situation. After these precious few made the decision to extend grace rather than judgment, they rose to give what help they could to a teenager who was quite scared. 

Was Grace Deserved?

Why did they give grace when others did not? They too had made choices in their lives that brought the disdain of others. These dearly ones knew that grace received needed to be given. Am I saying that you have to put up with continued bad behavior? Of course not. But we can in our way pray for those struggling and give them grace. Grace is not earned, it is freely given. Grace is there when we don’t deserve it. 

A person walking down a mountain road. Grace
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What Does Grace Say to Our Lives?

Grace is there to say, “I know you don’t deserve it, but you need it.” We all judge. We do. It is a normal human activity to engage in. However, let us remember that when you are in the depths, you need that grace rather than buckets of ice cold rain of judgment. It will make all the difference in the world. Embrace grace like our life depends on it. I am reminded of the old hymn by Julia H. Johnston. “Grace that is Greater than All Our Sin.”  The third verse of the old hymn often speaks to my heart: “Sin and despair, like the sea waves cold. Threaten the soul with infinite loss; grace that is greater- yes grace untold- points to the refuge, the mighty cross.” We have a wellspring of grace untold inside of us. We just need to tap into it. I pray that we can and will draw from that well, particularly when we are dry, but also when others need that refreshing drink of water. In all of those trying times, grace and music was there to give comfort. 

Grace is Truly Marvelous

Today my son is grown, and he is a true marvel. I am not saying that our lives with not without struggle. It was hard being a teen mom. But we continued to soldier on. My son joined the Army, he’s been deployed, he has graduated college and now has a little family of his own. Thank goodness for the grace that was shown to both him and to me. God’s grace is not deserved, yet he gives it. We in turn, must give grace to others who are struggling. I leave you with the words of Rick Warren: “In God’s garden of grace, even a broken tree can bear fruit.” 

A field of lavender in the sunset. Grace
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The Marvelous Gift of Grace

As we walk through this grand adventure that we call life. 

We see others who are having quite a hard time. 

You are not sure what happened to bring them where they are. 

You see from your glasses and your perspective’s mind’s eye. 

Those circumstances may look grim and you may have a lot to see. 

Stop and wait a moment. 

Take time to pray. 

Remember when you had a very rough time. 

What would you have given to have someone simply be kind. 

The wonderful thing about life is that it rolls on and on. 

Time moves, minds change, forgiveness can be won. 

When you were in the pit, grasping for a twig to grab. 

You probably needed a simple reason to be glad. 

In that pit, you had to climb out. 

You had to find some relief. 

You may even had to cry and shout. 

Did others look at you with judgment in their eyes? 

Or in their experience in this life. 

Did they look at you with grace in their heart?

Practice grace, practice prayer, practice real empathy. 

So that others can walk through their storms into the rainbow of clarity.

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