What I could not have realized though is how God would begin putting this topic in my path everywhere I turn. It’s like God started saying to me, ‘Okay...you’re going to act like you recognize it and practice it, so I am going to make sure you know what grace is all about!’ Not long after I started blogging, I realized that this was becoming a recurring topic in my life and with all of this totally unknown to the person from whom I got it, I was given the book ‘Putting a Face on Grace’ by Richard Blackaby. It was a good book and it drove me to see how we can often show grace to others in the circumstances of everyday life. The pieces continued to fall into place.
In the spiritual realm, I’ve always heard of grace defined as ‘God’s unmerited favor,’ and although I have never thought I deserved Jesus going to the cross for my sins, I don’t know that I’ve grasped the true spectrum of God’s grace until these last two or three months. That realization alone has broken me several times lately. I am just amazed that I have lived this much of my life being a Christian and knowing what I know, but not having a full grasp of what grace truly is! It is amazing how God works to put things in our lives that we need to drive us closer to Him....even something as simple as a blog name. Who knew? I certainly didn’t.
In addition to God’s grace though, there is the issue of showing grace to others. I’ve not ever viewed ‘going the extra mile’ or ‘turning the other cheek’ as being an act of grace toward others, yet as I read the book mentioned above, my thinking began to change. I started seeing how what I have always viewed as being kind and/or helpful in everyday circumstances can actually encourage others and show them a measure of grace that they may need to experience in their life as well. For every person we meet, we can only see what is in front of us or what they share with us. There may be specific reasons that people are put in our path and God can use that contact with us to give them hope or a better outlook if we are just attentive to God’s leading. My neighbor, a single mom, was sharing with me one night how her grandmother had died just a few days before. Although I don’t really know her very well yet, I knew she was trusting me with something that was a huge personal loss to her. I gave her my copy of '90 Minutes in Heaven' to read. There is no way I could have known the questions she had or how much she evidently needed to read that book, but while we were walking one night a week or so later, she made the comment, “I told my friend at work today that God must have told you to give me that book to read because it has answered so many questions I’ve had.” Then I saw her a few weeks ago and she made the comment that she’s lived this much of her life and now finds herself questioning everything she has ever done. I know the loss of her grandmother has been a huge wake-up call to her. I’m not patting myself on the back for giving her that book by any stretch of the imagination, nor am I saying that I realize every time these opportunities happen, but it is cool to see how God can use us and our actions in others lives if we pay attention. I didn’t really think I was doing anything except giving her a cool book to read that gave specifics about heaven, but God evidently spoke to her through that book and I was humbled when she told me what she told her co-worker. You just never know.
There are times when it isn’t that easy to be obedient though and I am sort of experiencing that right now. In the scope of life, it is a very minor thing and I probably shouldn’t even really share this, but since I am putting my ‘lessons’ out there, this is part of it. People who know me know that once my mind is made up about something, it is usually hard to make me change my mind, but without going into detail, one circumstance has been dropped in front of me recently that I am just going to have to accept and deal with, probably for the long haul. I’m not thrilled about it and I hoped it wouldn’t happen, but it has and as much as I don’t want to, I am going to have to accept it. I have no doubt that this is God forcing me to be kind and show grace when I really just want to roll my eyes and make it go away, but I am also realizing that He is only asking me to give what He has already given to me, only on a much smaller scale. I mean, what if HIS mind had already been made up?? THAT is a scary thought. Very scary!
So I say all this to say that God is working on me about the issue of grace, both personally and with others……and it all started with this blogging experience! It is amazing to think about it that way and how many times God has put the topic of grace in front of me recently. The reality is that He can use whatever He wants to in order to put us where He wants us to be, I’m just glad He has chosen a creative way this time! I have had to learn other lessons that haven’t been quite as ‘fun,’ as I’m sure we all have. As I said above, I am simply dumbfounded that I have lived this much of my life and not totally grasped the depth of it as I should have. Right now, I can tell that I am growing and learning……about grace as a whole……in giving grace and receiving it. It feels good and I am thankful.
I know this is a longer than normal blog for me, but I’ve been carrying these things around in my mind and heart for a while and just needed to get them out. I really appreciate those of you who read this that bear with me through the ‘every day’ of life. I know I still have a long way to go, but at least the ball is rolling……God is at work and I am excited about that...
"Were it not for grace
Life changing words, no doubt.