I read an article about a reformer who didn’t know he was a reformer recently. An ‘accidental reformer’ whose failures created a space of influence that made a way for others. As I trailed the author’s words, in my mind I couldn’t help but think about how everyone of us has someone to thank for where we are, whether failures or success we influence others and hopefully learn lessons from the living together that we do.
I realize, that apart from His Grace, we are lost. But this word seems to float around as if it is a common answer to all the differences and struggles we face, like the leaves that float on the wind of autumn’s changes, easily missed by the abundance of them all. Yet, not one of them is really the same and each of them beautifully unique, if we took the time to look close. They are not so common.
And the people we meet… their lives, their words, their actions… for good or bad have all contributed to where we are today. The author called this series of events in the accidental reformer’s live a common grace. But I don’t think there is anything common about it. I think it is providence.
Because we have a written narrative, 66 books full of intentionally placed words, that tell us about lives that are connected by divine intersections. We read stories of people meeting people spilling grace and giving good to one another, right in the middle of the bad people pour out. And we have experience to see how unique and specific the people we have met, influenced and been influenced by, as confirming evidence.
Is there anything common about that kind of grace?
There is nothing wrong with the commonality of His extraordinary grace being extended to each and everyone one of us, repeatedly, but grace, especially God’s grace, is far from ordinary.
Grace can never be a cliché.
I think of common in terms of clichés sometimes, easily thrown about in Christian-speak. But it is impossible for Grace to be anything but uncommon, because it’s a byproduct of love. All. the. time. It makes what seems common and defines it differently. We may offer the word innumerably, but we can never detract from the depth of its meaning no matter how frivolously we use it.
Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.- 2 Timothy 2:1
I turned 45 this summer.
It’s not a big deal. I am really ok with the numbers that count my days. But I remember a conversation with my daughter recently where she asked me if I was living the life I had planned.
I had to remind her that my plans for my life, at her age, didn’t include a certain Savior that spread arms wide and bled royal red ransom all over the place for me. I had plans, I had goals, I had dreams but they changed when I exchanged my old life for a new one with Christ.
This altered living… a divine intersection of grace in a life... that a meeting with Christ does for a soul, will always change the course of a journey. Instantly we are moved to be movers. Suddenly the grace that is available for all, common grace, becomes the uncommon antidote to the way we perceive our world. Because our souls are remade by the Maker of all things, and we are sealed for eternity in a moment. It should alter us so much that we not only see differently but are seen differently.
We move from the common life into uncommon grace in an instant and eyes once blind now see with hearts that have a vertical view of a cross-shadowed grace perspective.
Perception and conscious wonder are connected in this realm where grace thrives… we are continually changed by the presence of His Spirit moving in an through us as we bend and yield more and more to the diversity grace provides.
“Consciousness is either an inexplicable illusion or else revelation.” – C S Lewis
That conversation with my daughter wound around some lessons regarding people and emotions and all those wonderful things that go along with growing up. I was reminded of the many ways that I was influenced by words and actions of people what were far from graceful. I found myself wincing as I recollected the hurt and the unlovely I spilled into others. And we talked about the way things change but still stay the same. We discussed how hard it is to love one another when we are all operating from a level of brokenness and healing all blending together. And from the perspective of grace, those lessons continue to teach us.
Praying she was listening and not just hearing, and reminding myself none-to-gently, that no matter what age we are, demographic, ethnicity, social standing, education level, …. (you fill in the blank)…we don’t always know how to apply grace to ourselves or to others easily. We see grace as a cliché instead of a promise of hope, because we throw it around loosely and we fail to realize that grace can never be fully common when it is given and received as God intends.
The commonality of grace can never be diminished by the depth of what He offers to us. The ordinary beauty of being grace-dwellers allows us to give in extraordinary measure.
Our perspective of people, situations and circumstances is often flawed when we fail to look through the lens of grace. If our view is distorted we fail to see the beauty in every moment, we lose sight of the good out of everything concept Romans 8:28 reminds us of. There is good in our loss, there is good in our failure, there good in our weeping, if we trust that God is effectively working it out on our behalf.
And grace allows us to have a measure of peace when we are looking and listening and waiting in those moments. Because it shines a light on the places we all go, the hard and the sad and the lonely spaces. And it makes us more human, but makes us more like Him when we hurt and we ache for the uncommon glory that only His grace in our living can provide.
Time has a way of teaching us to look at things differently, but grace allows us to see it beautifully.
Grace reminds us that people are people and deserve to be treated kindly, no matter what they believe.
Grace reminds us that because of love we get a do-over, so others should too.
Grace reminds us that the struggles don’t define us, but they refine us.
Grace is certainly not common, but it is a lot like a comma in the narrative of our journey. A gentle pause that makes us reflect, a contemplative holding over that causes us to yield, an influencing mark that separates the lists and the clauses that are clouding up our story. Grace reminds us that the periods on the end of our sentences, the things we thought changed our direction for good or bad, really can become the commas that continue to add to the telling of His extraordinary grace in our days.
Where are you becoming more conscious of the narrative of grace in your days?
Due to the change in my schedule it has been increasingly difficult for me to have the #GraceMoments Link Up posted by Thursday mornings. I apologize for any inconvenience that may be causing for you as you bring your words and join me here each week. Starting next week the link up will still be on Thursdays, but will be open after 12:00 pm each Thursday for you to share your posts and encouraging words. For those of you who have stuck with me in this transition, thank you so much for your grace and friendship. I am so thankful you are here. -Blessings!
IT’S YOUR TURN TO BE A GRACE COUNTER! SHARE YOUR GRACE MOMENT IN THE COMMENTS BELOW AND THEN COUNT GRACE WITH A FRIEND WITH COMMENT ON A BLOG OR TWO.
If you are a blogger, link up here with a post about finding grace moments in your life or one of your favorite inspiring and encouraging posts from this week. Share your thoughts in the comment section telling me about the #Grace Moments you experienced this week. *(only 1 post per link please)*
Take time to visit your neighbor next to you, and if you want visit a few more friends on the journey. We all need a little encouragement and affirmation as we travel together.
If you don’t have a blog, you can connect with me via my Journeys in Grace FB page by sharing a photo or a comment. Or you can join the party by sharing your images on Instagram with #Gracemoments hashtag.
Each week I will try visit as many of your amazing posts as I can.This is a safe place to sit and dwell in grace together, friends. I can’t wait to pour a cup of friendship with you and take in the grace moments you have to share. Don’t forget to leave a comment below, I love to hear from you.
I sat around a crowded table, in a room that was not built for the sound it contained. Waves of noise and notes and echoes bounced from each wall and structure and soul in an unorganized and chaotic path, yet relevant because life was happening all around. People...read more
This last week as I sat at a table of people listing out names and characters they wrote about for an assignment, I was reminded of the way our stories are an allegory for our own spiritual journeys. As my student's and I discussed Bunyan's classic, "Pilgrim's...read more
There are days in the year that have the potential to blow me over. The enormity of their impact being built by the intensity of the memories that bind them to my timeline. And it always surprises me the level of emotion that flows from a soul in a split second......read more
I know both how to be abased and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things, I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to be abound and suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me. - Philippians 4:12-13 These bold brave...read more
I lost the diamond out of my wedding set last week. I took a picture of the empty bracket of gold bent and worn, and noticed a word right above it scribing a feeling I wasn't exactly owning at the moment....thankful. I didn't realize till the photo was taken the...read more
When I was young, I would lace up shoes and run. It was freeing. It wasn't till later, much later, when I read Eric Liddell's story that I realized, in part, why I loved it so. There was a peace in the pursuing an end, a joy that spilled out as feet fell to the ground...read more
The days are slipping by faster than I can count them. It feels like one season is here and gone within a heartbeat. And the busy season or the prepping season seems to be converging upon one another, morphing into a single space that has little room for pause. It...read more
In my journal I make notes as I read through the Word of God. I add names and dates and prayers that I am collecting on this journey to count grace in each moment. If I write it down, I will remember it better. Writing down graces is a habit I try to keep...read more
I was reminded the other day of some words I penned to a group of grace-dwellers who sit around a table with me every now and again. I forgot I wrote them, to be honest, though I recognized the message when I looked again. And I was reminded of the necessity...read more