Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Grace Revealed

I had an e-mail exchange with someone who had seen me on one of the Florida television interviews I did recently to promote "Matthew" the second book in "The Rhyme and Reason Series." It's been out for almost a year now, but I am just now doing a belated publicity tour. Anyway, it's always a thrill when someone contacts me through the website information that's posted on the screen.

This particular woman is a few years older than me and still feeling like she hasn't fulfilled her purpose in life. She was lamenting a lifetime of mistakes. Here, in part, is my response:

As far as making a lifetime of mistakes goes, I think you are standing in a very long line! In fact, I don't know a single honest human being who isn't standing in that line. It's why we all need a Savior!

I used to struggle with feeling like God would somehow be disappointed with me as well, but more and more I am convinced that nothing I do or don't do will make Him love me any less, and nothing I do or don't do will make Him love me any more.

The One who created us adores us with a passion and zeal we cannot fathom. We human beings are trained in conditional love, so unless we have been extremely fortunate to have had someone demonstrate it to us, we have no real frame of reference for what true unconditional love acts and feels like.

I had a grandmother who adored me and spent almost every summer of my young life trying to help me improve my school work. She was a Special-Ed teacher and I would go over to her house every day and work through workbooks of all the subjects I struggled with, which was most of them.

She never scolded me for my mistakes. I never felt her frustration as I did mine when I failed to grasp a concept we had gone over and over. She never made me feel stupid. She always gently encouraged me. It felt so reassuring to have her sitting next to me as I labored over my work.

Every year she would have me pick out something I really wanted and put it in the chair across the table from where I sat to encourage me to reach the goal. If, at the end of the summer, I had successfully completed all the workbooks--you know--earned it, she would proudly hand me the gift I had picked out.

The only one I really remember was the Chatty Cathy doll. Oh, I wanted it so badly! It was almost torture to have her sitting across from me in her box, just waiting for me to get all my work done so I could break her out of her cardboard prison and pull the string that would magically let her "talk."

I didn't get all the assignments completed that year. Math, particularly, was and still is a torment. I was crushed. My little heart was so sad. Worst of all, I felt like I had disappointed my grandmother who had invested so much time in helping me. I knew she really wanted me to be able to earn my prize.

So on that last day of summer, I was feeling very dejected. She went over to the chair and picked up the doll to put it away. Or so I thought. Instead she got down on her knees and handed her to me. She said something along the lines that even though I hadn't completely finished the workbooks I had worked very hard and had learned. She told me how proud she was of me and then she told me the doll was mine. That it had always been mine, since the first day of summer.

That's how I think the love of God is. Everything He has for us is ours already. We don't earn it, because we can't, no matter how hard we might try. It's a futile effort. It's ours because He chooses to give it to us. Everything we have is a grace gift from the One who longs to give us Himself most of all.


Debbie Turner Chavers said...

This was beautiful. Thank you for sharing

Cheryl Barker said...

I was just reminding myself earlier that we receive blessings from the fullness of His grace -- and thus, He doesn't withhold blessings because we may have messed up or missed His leading at some point. So thankful for His grace!