Our conversation was illuminated by the glow of the dashboard and the undeniable sound of teenagers behind us. There were moments that talking was not easy, simply because I couldn’t hear my quiet friend speak. Of course we were both exhausted, so I am surprised any spoken sentence was actually coherent.
We let the silence wade across the car for a moment when a question opened the door to a conversation. That is the way it works, though, isn’t it? We find the similarity, we take a risk, we ask a question…because we are looking for that space where grace allows us to let go. Pondering the direction our words went, the encouragement that was shared by the passing of grace between pilgrim souls longing for similar things….I was reminded of some recent lessons on grace.
Grace is always a lesson in God’s goodness. Always a reminder of the character of the Holy One.
Goodness, Light, Love, Eternal, Righteous, Merciful, Faithful.
Always a chance for us to let God live strong in real life. Because faith makes room to know.
We talked a little about the hard things. About the way that grace leads us into deep places. And how the difficult discussions remind us that it is ok to not be ok. And though we didn’t solve the issues that we found pressing heavy and weighty enough to spill out as questions looking for confirmation, we did release the hold they carried upon us.
And that, that is the thing that I am starting to see is really part of the answer to the shedding of burdens, the pouring out blessings, and the counting of grace we as we grow in the knowledge of God.
“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” – 2 Peter 3:18
His grace is a byproduct of our knowing Him more; a firm reminder of how desperately we need to continue the journey to multiply His favor in life every single day.
Apart from a knowledge of God, true grace is impossible.
“So you…be strong in the grace that is to be found only in Christ Jesus.” – 2 Tim. 2:1
Our discussion stayed with me. The logical part of me wanted to analyze and try to understand why these hard moments tend to happen. Yet, because our most logical conclusions don’t have the foundation to ratify the power of merciful loving, the words we shared provided a glimpse and a confirmation on the lessons layered in His Word for us.
Grace and growth are bound in the sacred holy act of consistently remembering God.
I mean, surely, when we focus on His love, His mercies, His hope… our troubles are transient and light in reflection. But our habits preclude the effort that consistency requires.
Our nature is to recall, we are good at that. But what are we reminding ourselves to consider? God’s truth or the facts as they were presented to us in the midst of living in real life with faulty people…and in truth, perhaps the facts really weren’t presented in the first place.
I have to confess something, friends. Sometimes, people are hard for me, especially church people. I am not good with drama or unkindness, and I find myself withdrawing in record time if I feel my defenses rise. It is easy to fall prey to the ‘stinkin-thinkin’ that doesn’t consistently remember God’s attributes when we let the faults of others steal the joy that Christ bled red for us to know. My limited knowing comes from thinking too hard and too long on the unsolvable.
These lack of faith moments usually occur when I am wholly unprepared. It’s a lot like the wandering in the wilderness, grasping for a way out, void of the light and the direction to see goodness. We do that to one another when we choose to forget to remember the way of grace.
The wilderness is often a place of destiny for the wanderer. A place where though hope feels ancient and out of reach, it is always there full of mercy. It becomes a preservative that keeps us from spoiling when the atmosphere threatens to destroy what God has already prepared for a harvest
“By Grace…we must be kept in joyful expectation of His glory, fitted for it and preserved to it…”- Matthew Henry.
Friend, you are preserved to grace.
And this preservation, this is the way we lean into it, the way we are cultivated for it, the way we are changed by it. Reminding ourselves of His way through His Word. Reminding ourselves to love others no matter how they act. Reminding ourselves that choosing the way of the Word is the antithesis of the world.
Collecting Grace for the hard moments is the salty preservative that keeps us, but remembering God in every moment is the place we are called to cultivate and mine out favor.
Sooner than later these difficult places become sacred testimonies of His faithfulness. They become moments we collect and remember and choose grace because we all need it.
But it takes work, it takes effort, it takes stripping of self to bring us in the state of being molded by His hands. And maybe that means the wilderness way is not just a solitary journey but a refined moving in and out of living with others so that we can shave off the rough edges and purpose to glorify God together.
We are all, at one time, the difficult person. We are all, at one time, those who experience the amnesia unloveliness can produce. We are all, at one time, the thirsty and the hungry for the thing we can only find in Him.
“The LORD does not delay and is not tardy or slow about what He promises, according to some people’s conception of slowness, but he is long-suffering towards you, not desiring that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” – 1 Peter 3:9
There is powerful love in long-suffering.
We are the recipients of His grace in this.
The joy is in replicating this favor towards others.
His is a sufficient kind of grace, the fullness of full… that fills us up in our wilderness wandering and our restless retreating….the kind of grace that grows within us leads us to love others because He does.
Ultimately, His commands lead us to growth of something more than we could coax or will. The more of God multiplied in our present moments, the more we possess grace for the distractions tomorrow may hold, the more we walk in the way of remembrance…the less we hold onto grace.
We have the potential to become memory keepers for ourselves and for others as we study His Word, as we pray, as we love His commandments, as we share His sayings, as we care for others.
And when we are faced with the fight or flight reaction to the flawed nature that is often a part of living life with others, we have to choose the power of remembrance. Remembering that we are never to expect anything from others except our willingness to love them because we have first loved God.
“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you…” – Revelations 22:21
His patient grace is a binding reminder of the power of choosing to let love cover the multitude of our imperfections so that we can let His love filter through us to others.
As we talked about the way of loving others, the loving life way of living, the sacrificial choosing God over ourselves, grace became the fervent reminder of this favor we can spill onto others. The little things do matter, like seed-deposits for our souls that grow with His diligent tending. It is perspective changing, burden lifting, and grace growing. It makes loving people less about my sacrifice to them and more about my service to the One who has paid the ultimate sacrifice for me.
When the way of remembrance is a reflection of collecting grace in order to give it away, it becomes more than possible to set aside the limited for the limitless and choosing grace a little easier to do.
How are you choosing to spill grace into others when it is the last thing you want to do?
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.