The words were written long before my fingers found the keys, well before the words that needed to be said were formed on my lips. I knew they would come, the pardon was asked by another; likewise, I knew what my answer needed to be. And though I wanted to respond differently, actually, I wanted to respond indifferently… for the slightest of moments, I think I did. And then the heartbeat that pounds close in my own broke mine. I knew, that I knew, that I knew what I was supposed to say, what I was supposed to do.
It is tattooed upon my heart, marked in my soul like an encrypted seed that follows the cycle of time without hesitation. It is real and it is living and powerfully full because it is of God and not of me.
This grace destination that has been my journey for decades, it is not of my own doing. It couldn’t be. It can’t be me, but always must be Him…His Way…His Passion…His Hope…His Grace.
And that is what makes it possible to be grace givers when our fragile crusty hearts want to beat our own tune. When we, the broken, want to make the broken see their fault. The irony of that image makes me want to laugh, literally… out loud. And still, I let those thoughts jumble up in my head in a way that when they tumble out I perceive my own understanding as reasonable.
Yet, apart from grace, we don’t have a full and valid understanding of this truth that is His in us.
Understanding dawns because of grace. -Proverbs 13:15
Grace is grace because works don’t count in our collecting. Romans 11:5-6
The purpose of God’s unmerited love comes with an understanding of grace. – Colossians 3:1-6
Will you walk with me a bit today, collecting some grace as we go?
I learned a lesson this week about sheltering my heart from the blessing He prepares ahead of time. I learned to see it by saying yes to grace instead of yes to being right. I shouldn’t be surprised, but yet somehow I found myself easily willing to be detached and unconnected. Honestly, I prayed for it, because I knew it would present itself. By making a choice to obey His heart where my heart was precariously unbalanced, the outcome resembled a better way.
Understanding grace exposes the cracks in our shells and allows us to see the power of being both a hearer and a doer of His Word and His Way. I am so glad I stopped to listen to that still small voice instead of giving in to the trials and hurts that I was willing to let get in the way. And then I ran across this quote today quote by one of my favorite authors.
“On occasion I stumble upon transformation.”- Margaret Feinberg
I couldn’t help but think about the transformation that understanding grace gives in every situation. As much as I talk about it, you would think that I ‘get it’. But friends… sometimes I feel like I take one step forward and 3 steps back where grace is involved.
We are being changed from glory to glory without even realizing the diverse minutia involved.
When His words are a catalyst for the perfecting our hearts are experiencing….
When His presence is the spark that kindles the flame of holiness that burns within…
When His promises are the vitamins of grace that strengthen our daily journey…
We are being changed to look more and more like Christ as we submit to His careful touch of mercy. Because we are loved, He continues to work in us: molding us, bending us, and stripping us of the world.
When we wear the world we are blind to the way of grace. We miss the nuance of hope in each moment of the trial. We miss the shedding of each chain that keeps bondage tied close. We miss the light that slips through the cracks which allow us to see His way instead. The world’s way will always lead to a dying, to a finality that ends here in this temporal space.
But the Way of Grace is eternally focused.
The more we choose to be grace walkers, looking for moments where grace hangs low, the more it becomes the pattern of sight for our eyes. Think with me on this: The more time we spend training ourselves to see grace as it is presented, understood, and displayed, the easier it will be to recognize the print it makes on our path.
(living + loving) +(giving + forgiving)= (restored and healed)
The Way of Grace is eternally focused: it is living, loving, giving, and forgiving. It brings restoration and healing because it is founded in love.
Choosing to see grace is choosing to collect it. Grace is the pattern that weaves itself in our heart so intricately that it becomes the anthem our hearts beat to. We recognize its rhythm and we know how to sing its songs. Grace removes the stigma of expectation altogether and reveals that our response can always only be like His. When we have made grace our way, he changes our DNA. We no longer look in the mirror and walk away forgetting like James 1:24 says, because grace-walkers are word-doers.
We are extended and expanded when we respond with grace, like a wise friend-of-my-heart reminds me.
• The way of grace does not demand the restoration of self, but forgets and forgives the span of the east and west way of loving.
• The way of grace does not hold onto hurts or expect explanations, but chooses to see through eyes of the heart recreated in His image.
When the Father of Lights shines on our path there is an illumination of hope that proceeds forward on the journey. It is like standing at the crossroads and making a choice: Your Way or His Way.
Grace chooses to extend a hand rather than point a finger… and we all need a hand on the journey.
When grace is the way we choose, the reality we have come to know, it makes us react in opposition to self because we are so radically changed that our response becomes metered by an un-explainable scale. We can’t react the way of the world when our balance is held by the author of love. Therefore, we have no choice but to pile grace upon grace upon one another.
Because He fills us, we can be grace counters for one another.
For every seeming injustice I encounter, I wonder how many more I myself have been the source of for someone else. What if we choose grace instead of the retribution we long to fling? Would a restoration occur? Would hope be the by-product? I don’t deserve grace, so I shouldn’t measure whether or not someone else does either.
My selfish heart wants to itemize and list the hurt. To protect myself from feeling the pain of rejection and judgment, yet again. My immature spirit wants to point out the false accusations or the missed moments where people didn’t get all the story. My brokenness wants to hide from the harsh words and the unfair actions of others. But we can’t , because sometimes we only get a glimpse of the picture, and we don’t know all the details.
And then GRACE says… Expand. Extend. Embrace.
I am learning that sometimes God allows a breaking to bring us closer to Him. He allows a distance and what feels to be an ending to redirect our path. He opens the door to more of Him and less of the world because Grace marks us as His own.
And when Grace marks us as different it chooses our path and paves the way.
• It makes you weep with the offender when they fall rather than rejoice.
• It forces you to build up favor instead of walls because spilling love is worthwhile working.
• It pushes you into the ring of life speaking hope so that healing takes the place of wounding.
Grace changes your outlook and becomes your calling card simultaneously.
Like the tides that flow and the storms that roll with the jet stream, like the lilacs that burst among the dead blooms of seasons past, and the tulips that are clothed with beauty but whither quickly… the seed of grace is encoded with faithfulness and reveals His covenant mark.
When grace makes a mark, you are changed for the eternal Your responses daily become like His own. How are you counting graces in your relationships this week?
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.
Your words never fail to fill me, teach and remind. Grace is the gift that has brought me where I am today and coming here is a beautiful reminder that without it, I am nothing. I also have been on this journey to grace, or a passage through grace! But I am still in the hallway because I have not fully embraced the gif of grace nor do I understand it. As much as I would like to say I do, grace can be elusive and the last thing on my lips when faced with a difficult situation. Thank you for the renewed blessing of grace and for opening up your home for all of us.
Thank you Mary!:) You bless my heart and I appreciate this. This was a hard post to write because there were some big spaces where I realized grace was missing for me. I am so grateful for His gentle way.
Choose to extend a hand, rather than point a finger — Love that, Dawn! 🙂