Lately I've been seeing this word a lot. GRACE. It's such a nice sounding word and I've heard it my whole life but don't feel that I've ever truly grasped it's meaning. It's also a popular name, in fact, it was almost CC's name until a person I know named her baby Grace.
God's GRACE. What's all the hype about? I didn't have some crazy conversion to my faith--I grew up in church, I accepted Jesus in my heart when I was 7 years old. I knew from a very young age that Jesus was the only way. Yes, I drifted throughout my adolescence, I sinned (and still do) as all people do, but I never went to rehab and/or relapsed on drugs, I never was much of a party girl, I didn't have an earth-shattering realization of God and His grace. It's freaks me out a little if I'm being completely honest because I think to myself sometimes, "oh my goodness, is something bad going to happen--am I going to fall flat on my face and do something awful in order for me to have this crazy grace moment?!" I've expressed this fear in the past to Rob and to other participants in a small group I was in at church and the general concensus was that I was blessed to have not had some crazy story and that I've still had moments in my life that have revealed the grace of God. This is very true but I still find myself peeking around the corner in angst at times.
I looked up this acronym because I wondered if one existed already. Much like the acronym for FEAR (False Evidence Appearing Real) that I learned long ago, this acronym for grace helps me put God's character in a nutshell, as silly and impossible that pretty much is. Have you ever had a thought or a feeling that was so complex that it was so hard to dissect and put into words that made sense? That's grace for me. It's so vast and so complex to me that it's hard to pin point what exactly it means. This acronym simplifies it well for me because I tend to make things more complicated than they are sometimes. God's grace really is a simple concept if you truly think about it. It can be summed up to one word: sacrifice. God's relief at Christ's expense...Jesus, God's only Son was a living sacrifice to atone for all of our screwups, to put it bluntly. While this is a hard concept for me to accept after a lifetime of knowing Jesus, I feel that as I've gotten older and more spiritually mature, and as I'm now a parent myself, I'm slowly but surely beginning to understand grace better. As I've mentioned in a previous post, I have a bad habit of thinking of God as being a dictator, in that if I screw up, if I get frustrated and a not-so-nice word mutters out of my mouth, or if I completely lose it on my unruly 3-year-old, something bad is coming my way. One Hundred percent of the time, I immediately feel guilty and I apologize for my attitude and pray for forgiveness, still with the thought that I'm going to really get it from God. That isn't grace and it surely isn't how God works. I know this but yet I still struggle with truly knowing God's character. I'm a work in progress though. Grace, right?
I picked up a book at Target last week called Grace Not Perfection and whoa buddy was it written for me! You would think that God breathed the author, Emily Ley's, words right into her book because it basically encompasses the majority of my guilts, thoughts and prayers as of late. Even some of her stories are insanely parallel to my own, including a story about her surrendering her will and plan to God and how that happened through the birth of her first child. I too had a supernatural God moment in the birth of my second child, CC. Of course Bo was our miracle baby (as was CC but Bo was a whole different kind of miracle) but my entire pregnancy and then birth of CC did not go as planned at all and resulted in a much-feared, much-dreaded C-section where I literally had nothing to grasp but Jesus. I was laid out on an operating table, not able to move, praying in my head, "I trust you, Lord. Please don't let me die. I trust you, Lord", over and over. April 20, 2017 was a pivotal moment in my walk with God. I had set out on a journey months before, seeking to really know His character and boy did He show it! Even in my doubts and my sin, even in every ugly corner of my being, He showered me with grace.
I still struggle everyday with the concept of grace, I am super duper hard on myself and I drag myself through the mud but when I'm in the middle of giving myself a fat lip and a black eye because of one reason or another, I stop mid-punch and remember that Jesus paid it all already. I remember that God loves me (and you!) so much that He let His Son die a horrible death. He could have easily bypassed the death altogether, He could have plowed over the soldiers nailing His Son to the cross but He didn't. Why? Because He loves us that much. Because of His amazing grace.