The shelf has been there as long as we've lived in this house. It's a weathered board, a piece of an old grainary, once the storehouse of someone's bounty, now it holds treasured keepsakes, each a memory of a special friend and a unique blessing bestowed. It hangs at the main intersection of our house, between kitchen and dining room, where all our intense living happens.
On this day, I placed five letters below.
G R A C E
I need the bold reminder.
I need grace. Badly.
I'm so not perfect. I hate it. I find myself wishing I was a better wife, mother, friend. To make matters worse no one else around me is perfect either! Sometimes in this space of intense living frustration brews and impatience stews. Sometimes it bursts out and shrapnel rips and wounds. Sometimes a sense of inadequacy drains all my energy. All my wishing accomplishes nothing. The only thing that will make any difference is grace. I must open myself to receive it, acknowledging my failure/inadequacy and His tender desire to come and redeem. Apart from Him I can do nothing. I can't make myself better so He'll receive me. I need to make myself humble so He can restore. I need to receive grace for myself. I need to extend grace to the imperfect ones I love.
Grace floods in when we open the door! In spite of my weakness, because of His greatness, amazing things happen. Relationships are strengthened instead of eroded. Love grows instead of bitterness. It's an inside out, upside down economy where the deficit of failure, and the zero of my ability to do things perfectly are turned into treasure...because of grace, amazing grace.
To receive and give.
Because he first loved us.
If death got the upper hand through one man's wrongdoing,
can you imagine the breathtaking recovery life makes,
in those who grasp with both hands this wildly extravagant life-gift,
this grand setting-everything-right,
that the one man Jesus Christ provides?
Romans 5:17 MSG