The beautiful mystery of a second chance that is undeserved.
I’ve known grace many times. To have words seasoned with grace is a prayer that often crosses my lips.
A quote I read today pierced me deeply. It was written by one of my favorite writers, a woman whose words have the ability to simultaneously convict, encourage, and inspire me, Ann Voskamp.
“Anger is contagious. So is grace.”
Oh man. Piercing.
How many times is my default anger instead of grace? When the noise is constant, not just the actual noise around me, but the NOISE from life. The bills, the relationships, the health crisis, the needs of many being met by one, the texts, the emails the messages… the noise. We live in a world of so much noise. So much trouble.
If we don’t take time for quiet, the noise gets to be too much. Maybe that’s why God said, “Be still and know that I am God.”
“The parent must always self-parent first, self-preaching always comes before child-teaching.” One Thousand Gifts
Parents have a tough job. There isn’t one tougher. Trying to mold, to shape, to train our children, all the while modeling Godly behavior in our own weak way. We fail. Often. At least I do.
Grace is not earned. Not by us, not by our children. It’s in their greatest moments of weakness, at the times of their greatest failures we must extend grace.
When they’ve blown it, I mean really, really blown it, be still.
Silence the noise and wait, listen for grace. Ask for wisdom.
Our kids need to know that our failures don’t define us. Who you ARE in the kingdom was settled once and for all 2,000 years ago on a cross.
How we respond to them will form their idea of how God responds to them.
That is one of the scariest truths. It makes me want to cower, run and hide. But I can’t.
The only way I can begin to show anyone a merciful God who is full of grace is to ask for grace myself, and to remember where I was when grace was given to me, to remember when I was walking in the darkness and the road that led me to the light.
You must remember where you came from if you’re going to have compassion. Remember when you were tempted and gave in. Remember when you didn’t follow the rules. Remember when you messed up big time. Remember.
I remember being a 19-year-old college student, sitting in front of my parents, scared out of my mind, telling them I was pregnant. There’s a lot of things they could have done or said at that moment. Things they would’ve been right in saying, but they didn’t.
They didn’t tell me how I was wrong. They didn’t say “I told you so”. They simply said, “We love you, we’re here for you, and we are going to love this baby.”
Grace changes everything.
Grace isn’t wiping the mess under the rug either. No, no. It’s not a license to skip over the mess. It’s merely not making the mess define the person. It’s addressing the mess with compassion and love and helping them clean it up, all the while affirming their identity, their value, and their beauty.
Our kids don’t need us to be perfect, and our kids don’t need to be perfect. We are all a mess of imperfect people trying to love a perfect God.
You may fail and I may fail, we may get angry or say the wrong thing. But when the big blunders happen lets remind each other to respond well, to show compassion, to ask for wisdom and be still to hear it. Parents, we are in this together, we aren’t competing against each other but rather side by side, WITH each other against a common foe.
We are endeavoring to raise children of character and virtue in a world that is devoid of morals. There is a constant onslaught against our children, everywhere they turn. This is a battle that cannot be won alone.
We all need to be on our knees.
This song, Marvelous Light by Ellie Holcomb really speaks to me, to anyone really who needs a touch of grace. Click here and listen and let that marvelous light come in today.
“I am not who I once was
Defined by all the things I’ve done
Afraid my shame would be exposed
Afraid of really being known
But then you gave my heart a home
So I walked out of the darkness and into the light
From fear of shame into the hope of life
Mercy called my name and made a way to fly
Out of the darkness and into the light”- Marvelous Light, Ellie Holcomb