I found grace today. I knew that I would. God gives it abundantly to me each day. Today was different, however, because I went looking for grace. I tried to see when grace was "taking place" in my life today. Looking for grace made me more aware of my own words and actions today. It made me choose to respond graciously, even when my human nature was resisting. When I didn't respond graciously, it made me more quickly realize that I was doing something wrong and made me all the more aware and grateful for God's grace. It truly was an eye-opening exercise.
It's easy to need to give grace when you deal with kids all day long. As a mother of three, my days are full of those extra-grace-required moments. The baby is teething, so I was feeling particularly tense today. She was clingy and quick to cry uncontrollably. It was frustrating and exhausting.
Then the big kid came home from kindergarten, and she was an emotional disaster from about the moment she stepped foot in the house. She was mean to her daddy, mean to her brother, selfish, whiny and ungrateful. She was quickly sent to her room. She must have been completely exhausted, because she fell asleep in her room in less than five minutes. She was out cold. I finally went in to wake her when it was time for dinner, but as soon as I opened her bedroom door, she began to sob. I got her calmed down and before I was even out the door, she was sobbing again. I knew our battle was just beginning.
She was all-out ugly crying through basically all of dinner. She eventually got sent to time out again after throwing a fit about her food. I'll spare you the details, but it was painful. In this situation and as the night progressed I saw grace. Much more grace than I expected. I could see it in my husband, as he responded gently to her and dealt with her in love. I could feel it wash over me like a wave of peace, calming the frustration. It was very frustrating, for sure, but I could see her with the eyes of grace. Eyes that could see a very, very tired little girl. A heart that knew exactly what being tired and waking up grumpy from a nap felt like. A mind that was wise enough to know that she was tired after a long Monday at school and a long weekend. Being able to respond to her with grace felt good. It didn't involve that feeling of rising blood pressure or raised voices. It didn't involve me acting in a way that I'd later regret. We were able to handle the situation and correct her with grace. Grace felt good.
The whole evening, I could see this vision of myself in my head. This time, I was the one acting very mean, selfish, whiny and ungrateful, just like my daughter was. Let's be honest, it's not a huge stretch of the imagination. I think it's pretty safe to say that we all get this way at times, in our own more sophisticated adult ways. I could see myself acting like this. It was ugly and embarassing. As the scene continued, I could see God holding me close and gently stroking my hair. It was as if he was saying "My grace is enough for you." Grace felt very good.
It's hard to imagine God's grace being enough to just so quickly cover our sins, but when I could see it like this--as we were dealing with our daughter--it was the perfect image of our Heavenly Father. We are his children. He is our loving, patient, gentle and gracious Father. This whole vision made it so much easier to deal with her with true grace. It was hard not to give grace when I could see God extending his grace to me. If only I could keep that vision in my head all the time--especially as I enter into situations where I need to show grace to others! Can you imagine what kind of a change that could make in my life? Can you imagine what it would look like in your own life?
I challenge you to go looking for grace tomorrow, too. Maybe you'll see it from your spouse. Maybe you'll see it in a friend. Maybe you'll even see it in yourself. I can guarantee you one thing--it won't be hard to find God extending his grace to you! God's crazy, irrational grace is hard to miss when you're looking for it.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
God, help us to see the grace you give us so we can remember to be gracious to others.
As part of a 31 Day blogging challenge, I will be posting every day in October. The link on the left will get you to the home page for this series, where you can find all the posts written so far. Don't forget you can Subscribe to get posts sent to you by email. (There is a simple form towards the top on the right where you can do this.) Thanks for reading!
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