Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Why I Like Grace

Not talking about the kind of grace that makes ballerinas look amazingly beautiful and liquid in their movements.

This is the Jesus kinda grace.

It is what sustains me as a mother of three. It is what makes me feel bad for other mothers who don't know Jesus and are trying to raise their kids on their own strength. It is what makes me feel like I am cross country skiing when everyone else is waist deep trying to push their way through the snow covered world.

For those who's lives have been surrendered to Christ, it is available. It is real. It is what makes living a successful Christian life a possible reality for us.

I use to think grace was like this:
I would try my hardest to do something in obedience to Christ, and even though I totally made a flop of it, the Lord would still put an A+ sticker by my project.

It is kinda like that in the beginning, but it can be so much more. See, in that example, I was trying to do the obedience thing mostly in my own strength. If not totally out of a prideful mindset (I will earn His love by showing Him how good I can do it, yeah right), it is at least an immature mindset (I didn't know there was any other way).

NOW I know there is another way. I call it grace mode. I may have written about it before, I can't remember. The thing is, it can actually work something like this:

I agree to do a project for the Lord, knowing I don't have all the tools/strength/knowledge to do it well, I ask the Lord to help me, and then I do as much as I know how. Step by step I find success, and I do better at it than I know I could have ever done on my own. At the end of it people around me are cheering me on, saying, 'whoa, you did it', but I know inside that I didn't have a clue how to accomplish what I just accomplished. So I thank the Lord for His help, His strength, His wisdom, and His grace. Then, at the end, He puts an A+ sticker by my project.

That is how it is suppose to look most of the time. I wish every day looked like that. Yet there is still plenty of my own attempts that look more like the first example.

Let us not dwell on those times though. It is empowering, encouraging, fuel for my fire kind of stuff to look at the times I have done it better. Better than I could have ever done on my own. Those are the times I know that I didn't have what it took, but I succeeded because of the Lord's grace upon me. He heard my cry for help, and gave it freely! Oh how thankful I am for that.

I have become quite sensitive to His grace too.

I can tell when I am operating in it, and when I am not, and when I am not, I know enough now to stop and ask for it.

So here is a fun story to illustrate this lesson on grace.

My husband was going away for two weeks on a trip. I had three littles and I had never been alone with the three on my own before. I was a bit worried and not sure if I could do it, so I prayed a lot about it on the front end.

The trip came and went, and I not only survived without my husbands help, I thrived and enjoyed the experience. My confidence was boosted and my kids and I had a great time.

At the end I asked the Lord, "was that mostly you, or am I just getting better at this mothering thing? I wish I knew what percentage was you and what percentage was my own ability/wisdom."

No answer at that time, but then Ken had to go away unexpectedly for a three day trip. I was still feeling empowered by the success of that two week trip, so I felt confident to do the three days.

They were a disaster. Three days of hard, hard work, and if anything could have gone wrong, it did. By the end I was a wreck. My husband returned, and with him order and calm also returned.

When all was calm again, I heard the Lord whisper to my heart, "now you know what percentage is your own ability/wisdom." Well, actually, that is not accurate. It was more funny than that. The Lord has a great sense of humor, once you get to know Him.

He whispered to me, in the grand form of that old 'anti-crack' commercial from the 80's (this is your brain *hold up an egg, this is your brain on crack *crack the egg and pour in a hot skillet): this is your life (the three day trip), this is your life on grace ( the two week trip).

I burst out laughing. So now I know. I bring very little if anything to the table. My greatest successes in life are majorly due to the grace of the Lord working in me. I can take very little credit, and yet, I will say this, I am addicted to His kind of success! In that way, I suppose grace is like crack. It is very addicting.

So Lord, I ask for You to always be near me, working in me, through me, around me. With You I am a success. Teach me how to operate in Your grace daily! I want the fruit that is accomplished by Your sure swift hand, not my own! Thank you for grace! Amen.

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