Sunday, April 21

Thinking about grace

I have been thinking a lot of about grace in the last few months.

It occurs to me that I don't really know how to define grace. I know how to use it and can share examples of grace, but to say this is what it is...that is where I draw a blank.

I have felt grace when I have been really emotional and easily angered and my friends have asked me what is wrong, told me they pray for me, and offer to help. Or when another friend told me that she just assumed I was dealing with transitional stuff, having only been here less than a year, which was exactly what I needed to hear but hadn't occurred to me until she said it.

I have felt grace in gifts from others that have touched and amazed and exceeded far more than what I imagined.

I have felt grace from Mexican friends as they have oh-so-patiently listened to me oh-so-slowly put together a spanish sentence and when they provide the word I am missing or stumbling over or in how they continually and lovingly try to engage me in conversation even when they know I am by no means fluent.

I have felt grace by family and friends who supported me and have cheered me on even if coming to Mexico wasn't on the top 10 list of places of where they'd like me to go, just because they know that I was going where God was leading.

I feel flooded with grace whenever whenever I think about the Lord and how He has blessed me so much over the years despite the fact that I have not been as faithful as I should have been or as grateful as I should have been.

I just recalled that from Sunday School days, we were told "Grace is getting what we don't deserve." Looking back over what I just shared, I guess that is close...grace takes the form of blessings when we haven't earned it, love despite our selfish moments, friendships despite being too busy, acceptance despite our shortcomings, and encouragement when we deserve a rebuke.

Not to be at all confused with mercy, which I feel I can easily wrap my mind around...forgiveness when we deserve punishment. Maybe a working definition that I can start with is that "Grace is gifts that we haven't earned."

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