While it is so easy and joyful and blessed to receive God’s grace, it can be challenging, painful, and even difficult to give grace to others. God call us to RECEIVE His grace, SEE His grace and BE his grace in a word that is yearning for restoration.
One summer, back when my husband and I worked and lived at a Christian family camp, I was helping lead a small group Bible study for some of our college aged summer staff. A lot of the time the Bible study consisted of resting, chatting, laughing and stuffing our faces with chocolate, my friend Melissa (who was leading with me) and I also encouraged the girls to choose a “summer hashtag” (because we were obsessed with hashtagging everything in 2014!) to represent an area of focus we felt God is pulling us towards.
Much like a word of the year or phrase of the year this hashtag was meant to help us lean into the Holy Spirit and what God was shifting in our lives.
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I thought for a while about what I wanted my hashtag to be. As a group leader I felt the pressure for it to be brilliant. (You’ve been there too right?)
But nothing was readily coming to me. Certainly not anything pithy or brilliant.
I didn’t often get time to “just think” as a new mom, so finding time to mull over a hashtag felt difficult.
“Father, give me something,” I prayed. “let me me see what you’re doing even when it doesn’t feel like anything big is happening.”
And then it came to me:
It wasn’t #groundbreaking. It wasn’t new and flashy… it was just grace. Hitting me fresh in a new way as a new mama in a new season, trying to be my old self while also undergoing a metamorphosis into a mother.
God had been working “grace” deep into my soul.
RECEIVE God’s grace.
His grace means something about me….I need Him. I need to receive His grace, and I’m poverty stricken without His intervention.
I’m the new mom feeling lost and unsure how to give my all as a mom and wife at the same time, and therefore “losing it” on the regular. I’m the one who wants to run my own show and be the ruler of my own kingdom. I’m the one who craves attention for myself, who thrives on pride and hates to need anyone or anything.
Although I may look put together on the outside, I need to RECEIVE His Grace.
I learning to SEE His Grace.
I’m learning to SEE His grace. Grace means God’s undeserved gifts to me. That includes my salvation, absolutely, but it isn’t limited to my salvation.
Grace is my daughter’s laugh and her chubby arms reaching up to grasp my face. Grace is legs that move of their own accord, maybe not as lean and tan as they once were, but strong and solidly taking me where I need to go.
Grace is a cupboard of groceries. Grace is in pain that teaches me compassion. Grace is learning to pray when I run out of words. Grace is in stress that forces me to lean on others.
God’s grace is in every moment—big or small–if I look for it.
I get to BE God’s grace.
I’m learning to BE God’s grace, a channel of kindness and love to chaotic and broken world. And I “get to”, not I have to. It’s a privilege to be a conduit of His unmerited kindness.
I’m still leaning into this one, letting my Father use it to sand away my rough edges.
This quote stopped me in my tracks the first time I read it scrolling through Pinterest:
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
or the Bible puts it this way:
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another. Just as God in Christ Jesus has forgiven you.” -Ephesians 4:32
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Can I be real with you? It is HARD for me to be full of grace to others—to extend forgiveness, relationship, and joy to others.
I’m more of what the kids today would call “a Karen”.
Most of the times I want to throw my hands up and say “not my circus, not my monkeys”. I like “calling things like I see them”.
But extending grace (especially to the grace-less) makes me more like Jesus. It’s my calling as His child to reach a hurting world with His grace. So I deliberately choose a joyful and gracious attitude when it’s within my “rights” to be firm, hardhearted and unyielding.
Grace makes me soft. Grace makes me gentle. Grace reminds me that I’m a sinner too in need of forgiveness.
Grace is more than a hashtag or a pithy saying. It’s one of the deepest and richest truths of God’s kingdom. Becoming a person of grace is definitely a process (it might be faster if I wasn’t so stubborn), but God is making His grace more real to me everyday.