Tuesday is my Monday.
I should restate. As a homeschooling family, our community day with the Classical Education Community we have been a part of for the last 8 years meets on Tuesday. That means that Monday is essentially our get-everything-completed-day so that we can be bright and fresh and ready to share on Tuesday.
Except, I really can’t remember a Tuesday that has gone down smooth-as-silk in a long time.
Inevitably, Tuesday is full of kinks and quirks that send someone into an emotional display of lacking grace and tolerance syndrome. I find myself muttering a lot on Tuesday mornings, praying under my breath cause I don’t always have the grace thing myself. I am just as capable of reacting rather than responding in a given situation.
I get it. I an imperfect vessel on the same journey as these blessings in my home are taking.
I am so grateful for grace.
I am so grateful there is not a limit on His forgiveness.
When my children were little, I used to answer everything with scripture. If there was a problem, I would find the reciprocating answer in the Word of God. On mornings that resembled the rough and tumble Tuesday-becomes-Monday situation I would say, “God’s not the author of confusion, He is the giver of peace so let’s look for order.”( 1 Cor 14:33)
It was the one sure way that people paused in the middle of crazy to listen, because who argues with God’s Word? Grace spilled easier when I responded with the Word. His love poured out; my frustration was controlled.
It was a good habit to have, counting verses and collecting them close. Holding His Word on the pegs of my memory bank to save for a perfect moment worked. Because that is what His Word always does, right? Isaiah declares it in chapter 55.
“So shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth: it shall not return to Me void [without producing any effect] but shall accomplish that which I please and purpose, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” -Isaiah 55:11
But somewhere along the line, I stopped allowing God’s Word to permeate the air in my responses as often as I should.
Maybe not in the deep and difficult, because His Word is my forever retreat. It is my foundation and my comfort and my resting space.
I found myself reacting rather than responding.
I am not sure why I let myself lose that important faith skill. Perhaps when emotions along with adolescence mixed with a healthy dose of me-attitude rose strong in our days. It could be when we were struggling spiritually and were in a by-way point on our journey. It may have been resulting from the stress of raising a special-needs daughter who longed to do more than her body allowed and not a lot of help was available to us. And a lot of it, I am sure, came from that place in my own prideful heart, that was still broken and bloodied by the real of living life.
Yesterday was rough.
There, I said it.
I didn’t handle something well and I was overwhelmed with both the situation and my response. The thing that bothered me most, though, was my heart response to the still small voice right in the swell of the storm. I knew where the issue was going; I chose to ignore His voice and go my way.
As usual, when I choose my way rather than His, it wasn’t lovely. I pretty much cried on the way to class. And the first thing someone said to me when I finally emerged from the car was, “Hello Beautiful!”
Can I tell you the super-herculean effort it took not to spill salty repentance at that moment? I did not feel beautiful.
But I did smile, acknowledged grace for what it was, said a hasty breath-prayer, and went to meet my students for the day.
When we acknowledge grace, when we breathe repentance, when we choose mercy…He is glorified in it.
As I sat with my Tuesday people around the table, we read from the 119th Psalm together about esteeming God’s way as right and true. And right in the middle of the stanza, the psalmist penned a prayer asking God to deal with him in mercy. Isn’t it like God to show up with His Word as a lamp and a light of grace? I was undone.
“Deal with Your servant according to Your mercy and loving-kindness…I esteem as right all, yes, all Your precepts.” Psalm 119:124,128
He continued to deal with me at lunch when my soul-sister paused to visit before heading back to class. And since my heart was still a little sore, I finally let the burden go. As her actions reminded me about the grace and unconditional love of the Father, it was her words that made their mark. She reminded me of who she always knew I was.
She reminded me in not so many words whose I was.
She reminded me of His heart toward each of us who call Him Father. Abba, the merciful, loving, kind, compassionate, grace giving Father who runs to the prodigals and comes close to the broken-hearted.
And maybe this small offering of transparency today, a literal #gracemoment I am marking a memory, will open up a little bit of grace for you.
Because maybe you are like me and tend to be a wee-bit too hard on yourself. Maybe you are like me and long to control the broken imperfect world you live in. And maybe you want to do the right thing but feel that the pieces of your unloving self are getting in the way of walking like the warrior you want to be.
It is no coincidence that grace is my favorite word… because grace is the one thing that has kept me from letting fear and failure completely ruin the journey. And the more I walk with God, I realize that there is simply no coincidence in these #gracemoments we collect.
They are appointed.
I was going to write to you about my word, or prayer, for this year, but God keeps telling me not yet. As I settled in the book of Hebrews, I was reminded of why we collect these memories of grace.
“Let brotherly love continue. Do not forget to extend hospitality to strangers, for through it some have entertained angels unawares….Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with what you have: for He has said, I will not in any way fail you nor leave you without support. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper.” Hebrews 13:1-2,5-6
His Words, when planted in our hearts, they don’t return void friends… they are not absent of fruit. Even though I may not always respond with the grace planted in my heart by His Word, doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Even though I don’t recognize the ways that He intercedes… even in my difficulties, doesn’t mean He has forsaken me. Even though chaos seems to appear in the midst of the busy and the overwhelming, doesn’t mean that there is no order.
You see, the rest of the story… ( insert Paul Harvey voice)… is that I had a headache for most of the day Tuesday. One thing or the other seemed to go wrong throughout the day. The chaos, which erupted in the morning, was directly related to circumstances out of our control ultimately requiring a quick change to plans. We don’t always handle change well, do we?
Because l hadn’t been able to manage my pain level effectively, the fog I was operating under seemed overwhelming by the end of the day. It had been windy and raining all day. On the way home I ran over a stick in the middle of the road. Not on purpose, but I didn’t see it. And it made such a horrible noise, that I had to stop the car to remove it. Not to mention I was a little nervous I damaged the undercarriage of the car.
But I couldn’t reach it and bending down was the equivalent of someone stomping on my head.
As I looked up there was a gentleman watching me. He was yelling at me not to cross the road and telling me to stay still. To be honest I had no intention of crossing the road, but he didn’t know that. He crossed the road, crawled right underneath my car, and removed the offensive object.
I could see the paradox the Lord was teaching me…the stick, the chaotic day, needing to stop, not crossing a road of indecision, etc. It was all rolling in my head. But in my silent reverie my new hero asked, ever so politely, if I needed anything else?
I am sure I looked like I was incoherent with the whirling thoughts in my head. I quietly said no and thank you and thank you again.
He smiled and walked away, never looking back. Not once. I know, I watched.
“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.” -C S Lewis
Here’s the most humbling part for me. I was thinking about myself, my issues, my bad day. This stranger was thinking about me, too. And it was the way God would ask us to think of others, as better than ourselves. To do unto others as we would have done unto ourselves.
But outside of this situation, I am not sure I would have given him much notice. His clothes were ragged and dirty. His hair was long and looked unbrushed. His unkempt beard covered most of his face. And I am a little ashamed to admit that this is what I noticed first.
But he had eyes that looked like the sky and a voice that sounded like a whisper. And when you see kindness, it is apparent no matter what else is visible. Kindness is a character that Psalm 119 attributes to God. And when he left, I felt like maybe God cradled my heart a little bit, even in my selfish pride.
I wept the whole way home.
Because grace and favor and love are connected.
I can’t tell you that I would have let him approach me at any other time. I can’t tell you if I would have allowed him to help if he had asked. (Hello, pride girl!) And it wasn’t the first time in recent weeks that God sent the most unlikely of people into my present situations to teach me to see things differently.
All I could think of was the way we are possibly entertaining angels without knowing it and how the lessons we teach our kids about Golden Rules and doing what Jesus would do always smack us right in the face.
And on this day the lessons were large….seeing others the way God does, heeding that still small voice, selfish pride is not my friend…I could go on. But God… He met me at the end of a long difficult day. He held my heart gently, even though I didn’t feel like I deserved grace. He reminded me that He never left my side. And honestly, He’s not all that flustered by my less than stellar moments.
Because love always covers a multitude and He has seen my end from my beginning.
And in this space where He’s constantly teaching me to collect grace, He is showing me just how often He provides the very moments I am supposed to hold close. Praying for you to be entertained by angels today, to collect grace in all those unaware moments, and that you will be cradled in the heart of the Father. Because you are loved!
***The Winner of the Book, A Life of Creative Purpose by Tammy H. Meyer is Sarah Geringer. Congratulations Sarah!***
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.