For my Daughters, A letter of Grace, is a series of letters I began writing to my daughters to speak words of hope, love, and grace in their lives as they grow and face the challenges life always presents. These words are an invitation to give yourself grace and to rest in the sweet embrace of God’s love for you. You see, we are all daughters who need to be reminded that we are seen, we are heard, we are loved, and we matter. It is an invitation to read my heart and I’d love to have you, my friends, along for the journey.
You shall know the truth, and the truth will make you free. – John 8:32
Every example of Christ’s gracious love in scripture compels us to pursue this burden-free journey like Him. Our humanity prefers to demand righteousness, we like the idea of creating lists, laws, and guidelines in an effort to control the situation. Yet, God requires something bigger, something profound, something sacred in our connecting with one another.
Mercy merged with grace leads us to a place where unity is bound in the freedom He gives rather than the atonement we require. As we realize our common sinfulness, we can let grace change our wayward hearts.
Community can be hard because imperfect people are difficult to do life with. And the reality is, we are all incomplete pilgrims on this journey towards this grace kind of living. When we figure out that we are all bound to make a few mistakes along the way, (Hello, Romans 3:23), we may find it easier to leave stones lay and pick up garments to shield and protect one another.
This is my second attempt at writing this letter. I have tried to be a woman who gives grace to others routinely, though I make so many mistakes. My thorn in the flesh, well.. one of them, is the lack of ability I have in forgiving myself, and well… sometimes the ones I hold so close in my heart.
And that is why this letter is so hard to write to you. Because there have been days when my patience level was not that of one who is following hard after Jesus. There have been moments when my words have not been building words, but the ones that tear down, instead. I grieve for those moments; I am sorry.
Those things we know we should not do, the ones we said we never would, they trip me up. I can identify with Paul who said, I sometimes don’t understand myself because I do what I hate. (Rom 7:15) I pray you will have more grace than I have, and a better ability to bend than I do,my sweet girls.
On those days when we are tired and words flow, or when we don’t feel good and division steals grace, or when disappointment clouds our vision and we miss the fullness of His provision, or when people leave or change and we’re empty for the going… pause with me and remember a few things we have learned together…
Words hurt when hastily delivered, the abundance of them leads to sin.
Hearts bleed wounded when cold indifference reveals the absence of love within.
Disappointments steal joy from the soul and we forget to look up on the journey.
Relationships are changed when we are greedy to hold on to grace rather than give it away.
But the One whose way is grace, peace and love in action and deed, extends the gift of forgiveness in the name of love and we have no choice but to follow when we wear His name as our own.
Do you know what? Love covers a multitude of sin. Forgiveness, dear ones, starts with a decision to love like Jesus would. Love. Always. Wins.
It sounds simple, doesn’t it?
It isn’t easy to write to you about forgiveness when there are times I still find my hands clutched tightly, holding to righteousness rather than mercy. However, we should always yield to the proof of grace in a redeemed life where the most evident reality is in the power of forgiveness.
When we choose forgiveness, we choose freedom.
When we choose the Way of Grace, we ultimately choose life.
When we take ourselves out of the equation it becomes easier for us to forgive others as well as ourselves.
Forgiveness doesn’t have to be as hard as we make it.
Forgiveness, dear ones, takes the burden out of our hands and places it squarely in the righteous hand of God. Keep in mind, He is fully able to mete out discipline in fairness with no shadow of turning. He is more than fair, daughter, He is super-abundantly so full of grace and compassion that it oozes out of everything He does. It is all built on a foundation that is first and foremost founded on love, hedged in by grace, filled up by mercy, and sealed with reason.
CS Lewis said once, “The hardness of God is kinder than the compassion of men.” While the compassion of men leads to burden and sometimes indebtedness, it is not like that with God. God’s compassion is meant to liberate us and make us free from the bondage both sin and the law have become in our daily living.
If we can learn to forgive…both ourselves and others..we are like a soul bloom full of love, when we open wide people are filled with wonder.
I remember a story about mothers and daughters and their relationships through the generations, some time ago. It was poignant because it held such a tender view of the complex relationship between mothers and daughters. These, our first connections, often frame the way we love and forgive others. The telling involves a grandmother, estranged from her daughter, reminding her granddaughter the importance of forgiveness and transparency. The truth is, we don’t always get it right, but forgiveness allows for a bit of a do-over. Sometimes, most of the time, we just need to let people, be people, and only expect God to be perfect. The moral of the story was summed up in this statement she shared, ” I forgive my mother… I hope my daughter forgives me.” Timeless truth all daughters need to consider. We need to follow the path the Savior shows and let forgiveness be a garment we wear well.
When we let people live, we let ourselves love and be loved. When we forgive we give permission to be human and release the need to be judge and jury. We don’t condone sin or allow for abuse, but we separate ourselves from the dangerous emotions that unforgiveness weighs down. When we learn the heart of forgiven living, we choose the path that denounces shame and strife by embracing the art of letting go.
Forgiveness, it is not about setting someone else free, it is about releasing the bond we feel we may hold over the head of another. It is letting go of the things that steal, kill, and destroy the loving relationships in our lives. It is compassion that leads to liberation.
In the book, The Hiding Place, by Corrie Ten Boom, she talks about the power of God’s overwhelming love as she is brought face to face with a guard from her days in the concentration camp. Her memories were of a man who was ruthless and cruel, unloving in his action towards others. She wanted to run away from the chance to offer grace. The love of God, shed abroad in her heart, compelled her not only to shake the offered hand of the former guard, an enemy, but to embrace and forgive the newly converted grace-follower who asked for forgiveness and mercy.
Forgiveness heals the broken heart and frees the offender to the Lord. – Corrien Ten Boom
The way of grace is peace and love, daughter. Learning the art of forgiveness is more for you than it is for others. As we choose to love like He does, hopefully that power not only flows into us but through us, so that we may display the gentleness yet powerful passion of extending the act of pardon.
Let His love so fill you that gentle grace and powerful mercy flow out for yourself and for others.
A challenge to study God’s Word:
He penned a love letter to you, lots of precious words that tell you about His heart and His hope for your living. They are the connection we have to the Father, dear one, powerful and alive and able to bring death to life. Don’t hesitate to spend as much time as you can resting in their wisdom, it will be the best time you have ever spent.
I challenge you to look these scriptures up and write them down in a journal, with this letter. Spend more time with HIS Words than mine, daughter. Let it resonate in your heart. Meditate on the promises. Make them your own. Breathe deep of His love for you and know I am praying always, never ceasing.
John 8:7, Romans 5:5, Colossians 3:13, 1 John 4:9-10, Genesis 50:17, Matthew 6, James 1:19, 1 Peter 4:8, Luke 11:4, Psalm 130
November is a month for writers. You may be familiar with NaNoWriMo and NaBloPoMo through BlogHer, where eager wordsmiths dedicate time each day to write, with the goal to complete a novel or at least post daily on their blogs. Encouraged by some writing friends, I am joining with the many to write words of purpose daily ( or at least every other day) through the month of November. You can read the previous posts in this series below.
Joining with friends on the Journey: