I’m a wanderer. A daydreamer. An encourager and a deep thinker. My steps are well thought out even in my wandering ways. Life is not always kind to those who need time to process information or who sometimes desire the path that is less followed. God knows. He sees and He cares. This is where grace upon grace enters. This is where hopeless meets hope-filled and challenges lose their strength as God fills the gap.
It has taken me many years to understand grace. I claim head knowledge of the word, but until I embraced a relationship with Jesus, my heart was lagging far behind. The word “grace” has many different definitions, but the Christian perspective teaches us that it is the love and mercy given to us by God–not because of anything we have done to earn it. This is where my upbringing tussles with what God says about grace.
I grew up knowing that if I followed the rules then I wouldn’t suffer the consequences. If I was good, then I would go to heaven. The Ten Commandments were my rule book and if I broke a rule there would be dire consequences. As a child, the thought of making a mistake terrified me because I might go to hell. Everything was spelled out and the gift of grace was never mentioned. I lived an “If/Then” kind of life.
Where did it all start?
If I were to venture a guess, I would say some of you grew up with similar experiences. My parents raised me in faith like their parents before them. It was what they knew and the legacy they chose to continue. It was a beautiful foundation for me and I in turn raised my sons in the same church.
Grace entered my life well into my adulthood. I always loved the idea of this free gift but found out the true meaning when life threw me a number of left turns I had not planned for. Leave it to God to throw you something unexpected to learn the greatest lesson of all.
December 31, 2012 was the day that grace came pouring out. It was also the same day I began my blogging journey. I wrote:
Today the challenge is beginning my story of grace and how God reminds me in the ordinary routines and chores of each day that He is always present.
You see grace is God’s good idea and He chooses to shower us with it when we become His son or daughter.
I needed a way to make sense of all that was happening in my life. When I began to write consistently, the words spilled out and over into healing. That is grace. It is the intersection of heartache and healing and it is God’s perfect gift for us.
Will grace ever run out?
I wonder if you have ever asked this same question. Does God ever stop granting us new mercies each morning? All I know is that I cannot see myself making it through a day without grace. It seems I can’t live without God’s touch to shore me up when I falter in my relationship with Him.
My Bible study ladies have shared so many hard things lately. It’s not just the pandemic and the aftershocks we are currently facing, but real-life family messes and brokenness that overwhelms us. So we ask …
Is there grace in the moments when we really do not know what to say or what our next step should be? How do we continue to draw from the well of God’s love when it feels like every step forward is really leading us backward?
What I know is this:
I received God’s grace when I accepted Jesus into my heart. My sins were wiped clean and my salvation was secured. God has never said that His grace will run out. Instead, He tells us:
He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time ( 2 Timothy 1:9).
Grace is here to stay. It is not only God’s good idea but the gift He lovingly gives when we choose a life of redemption and salvation in Him.
One thing I’m learning to do is to lean in and hear from God. I am far from perfect in this endeavor but each day is a blank slate to try again and keep on going.
What if the answer to drawing closer is to embrace a posture of grace. What if it looks like the simple act of leaning in and surrendering to God.
This is how I describe this approach:
A posture of grace looks like leaning in close to learn and hear from God. As we lean in and draw near God takes us under His wing and holds us close to Him. Our nearness to God sets us up to receive not only His grace but all He has for us. We are strengthened when we accept God’s gifts and secure when we set them free. Surrendering to grace prepares others to receive the overflow of abundance that comes from the Father.
N.T. Wright describes grace in Advent for Everyone: A Journey with the Apostles, like this:
Grace looks like living for the good name of being God’s people rather than hanging on for dear life to silver and gold.
Let’s live in the name of Jesus. Let’s lean in and let go. Together we can approach the throne of grace with confidence because God is there waiting.
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16).Leave it to God to throw you something unexpected to learn the greatest lesson of all. Join me for more of my grace journey on the blog. #newpost #TellHisStory #linkup Click To Tweet
May God lead you closer to Him this week through your own simple acts of receiving and giving grace.
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Mary, I love how blogging has been one of the tools God has used to help you process your life and your understanding of grace. The visual of leaning and and letting go to accept God’s free gift is a powerful one. Wonderful post!
Writing has always been a place of refuge for me, but for years it was just through journaling. Leave it to God to call me to step out where my words can be read by others. I pray you discover many moments this week where you are leaning in and letting go in a posture of grace.
I started blogging in 2009 – and God knew I needed it to work through some of the greatest challenges I have faced! I was so out of my depth – and through that hard, hard challenge, He brought me closer and closer! I am so glad His mercies are new each day – and that He doesn’t give up on me – that gives me heart and determination to not give up on others! Eight years is a lot of blogging time, friend! Congratulations on the heart of what you’ve done! Eight years of drawing nigh to Him! It’s a beautiful journey!
Writing has also provided so much healing and the journey of drawing closer to God. It’s hard to believe eight years have already passed by. It seems like yesterday in some ways and in others not so much. What a beautiful God we serve who uses our challenges to teach His greatest lessons.
Your third paragraph was my childhood too. Then somewhere in my early adulthood I began to discover grace. It is so much easier to live with grace than without it. Excited to keep learning more about it. Let’s never take it for granted.
I agree that when I discovered grace (or it discovered me) everything changed. I would not be who I am today without it. I pray we all find grace and know the God who gives it so graciously.
I’m so thankful for grace upon grace.
Amen. God is such a gift giver. Blessings on your week!
So glad God’s grace never runs out!
It is a wonderful truth, isn’t it? Thank you for stopping by.
Amen! We talk about grace, but it is best learned through experience :). We started blogging the same year!
It’s hard to believe we have both been blogging for so long. Grace is experiential and never-ending. Thanks for being here.
What a lovely intimate picture that gives Mary, “As we lean in and draw near God takes us under His wing and holds us close to Him. Our nearness to God sets us up to receive not only His grace but all He has for us.”
Thank you for these kind words. I love that God spoke to you through these words today. Blessings on your week!
Thank you for a post full of encouragement this morning! I am sure I don’t even begin to understand or appreciate His wonderful grace…and all it means in my life. But I am grateful for it. I fully accept His saving grace but often struggle to depend on it completely to sustain me. But I’m working on it:) It truly is amazing grace!
Isn’t it wonderful to know that God keeps pursuing us even when we are still learning? I relate to what you are saying about struggling to depend on the grace of God for sustenance. I am also working on that same thing. Thank you for sharing.
I am also learning to lean in and listed for God’s words. As you say, it’s a process. I am not there yet. I am never sure if I am hearing God speaking to me or just my own words and thoughts echoing in my head, reinforcing what I want to hear. I believe God, through Christ, gives us much more grace than we ever give ourselves.
God does shower us with abundant grace. I am quick to give grace to others but not so much for myself. I am praying we both continue to lean in and listen. God is ready to teach us and when we become better at listening, we will become better at understanding.
It’s taken me a lot of years to understand grace too. And I know I still don’t really get it. It’s so big! Rules, I understand. Grace? it’s a strange beautiful thing that interrupts “reap what you sow”.
I’m so thankful God prompted you to begin your blogging journey, Mary. Your grace has blessed us!
I’m still wrapping my head around grace too. Your words about grace being a beautiful thing that interrupts “reap what you sow” is exactly the piece I am still trying to understand. Why does God want to do that for me?
I love writing, but I love the community that stops by here each week to hang out like you.
I love your description of the posture of grace ‘leaning in close to learn and hear from God’, that’s when He whispers to our spirit…Thank you
And when God whispers we need to listen. I pray you find many moments to lean in close and learn from God this week.
Mary, I absolutely love the image of grace as being that of leaning in close to God to learn from Him, to hear His voice. We truly do need to draw near to surrender, if we’re to know His grace and His words for us. This is beautiful, my friend!
Thank you for sharing more of your grace journey with us, Mary! I really enjoyed reading it. I think that as humans our ‘will’ struggles against the idea of grace, we want it to be about us and how good we are when it’s really all about God and how good He is. I still struggle to rest in Him sometimes. Praying that as we lean in close to God, He will continually reassure us of His abundant grace which we’ll freely accept and freely share. Blessings!
Thank you for your encouragement, Carlie. You shared some wonderful wisdom =in your comment. I do struggle against grace because I grew up believing I needed to prove myself in order for God to love me. When I learned about grace and received it for the first time, I was blown away. I am joining you in prayer that we know that we know that we know that God’s grace will never run out.
I do too. I feel the love that God has for me when I lean in a little closer. He adores when we take the time to listen and hear and surrender to His ways. I appreciate your kind words.
I’ve always loved Hebrews 4:16, where God’s throne is a throne of grace, and we can have confidence for mercy and grace to help in time of need–every day, every moment, every time.
I have been studying the book of Hebrews with a group of women and when we got to this verse we all just stopped to soak it in. What an amazing God who promises to be there for us 24/7. It is so reassuring in these uncertain times.
Dear Mary, peace floats through your post, your heart and words overflow with His lovingkindness and yes, His grace.
What a lovely start to this day, friend …
Thank you for these sweet words. I am glad God is on the move today through this post and through the chance to connect with others here in community. I hope the rest of your day has been peaceful and grace-filled.
Leaning in and listening are where we begin. Your words portray God in such loving terms. It’s clear you have been thinking long and hard about this matter of grace. Funny, in this crazy season, we’re both sharing grace notes this week.
God is a loving God and He is teaching me about the beautiful gift of grace. I love how God is working to get the word out about grace. Only He knows why and the importance of sharing about it now.