Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Grace

Grace
God's Riches At Christ's Expense

defined as:  The exercise of love, kindness, mercy, favor; disposition to benefitor serve another; favor bestowed or privilege conferred.

It is given freely, yet costs much to accept.
Is simple to explain yet difficult to understand.

Many years ago, I was teaching in a one room school in Montana and had little furniture and less money.  A dear friend took me to the pound to pick out a puppy ... thus Hank Aaron French became my first fur-kid that was all mine.  For Christmas this same friend gave me a futon for my single wide trailer/home/school.  In a fit of pride. Stubborness. feelings of unworthiness. I declined the gift.  I told her I couldn't accept something so expensive and large.  It was the perfect gift.  I needed a place for guests to sleep.  It was multi-functional.  And I wanted one.  But I said no.

That rejection hurt our friendship.  Our friendship has not been quite as close as it was prior to that event.  I don't know if I have ever asked for her to forgive me, but if I haven't and you're reading this, will you forgive me for being stubborn and prideful? For not seeing the gift for what it was? Please?

A little over a week ago I went on a retreat and was showered with grace.  Initially I was trying to stay disconnected.  Not wanting to receive what was being offered.  Keeping my heart walled off and 'safe.'  Then cracks started appearing in my wall.  God was showing himself in so many little ways.  From the timing of events to songs that were played to people who helped me rediscover my smile and laugh.  Pastors that threw grapes. Tablemates that thought I could draw. A husband that held my hand.  Strangers meeting our every need.  Seeing a flock of wild turkeys fly over a misty lake.  All moments of grace.

Near midnight on Sept 18, I was in a true struggle between myself and God.  I wanted to keep my fists clinched.  I didn't think I was worth God's forgiveness and grace for certain things in the past.  I was scared to release them. To truly live in him.  I was about to turn 40 in a matter of minutes as I stood before the cross and wept.  Wept for my stubbornness. my pride.  my past. my son in heaven. my children on earth. my husband. my fear of opening my hands to God and letting him take the past hurts.  Then, with the help of someone who exemplifies grace, I prayed - out loud - and eventually opened my hands. unclenched my fists and released the hurts. the fear. the pain.

and felt calming peace.

There have been many instances of grace since coming down the mountain.  The person who paid for breakfast one morning.  I was expecting a free sandwich with my coupon and got an entire meal for free!  The beautiful gifts for my birthday.  The rain.

But.

A week later I have had enough time alone.  I am still processing everything from the weekend, but I need people to talk it over with. Someone with skin and ears.  I still feel so new here and alone.  I am scared that if left alone too much, I will end up repairing my wall and returning right back to where I was.  I don't know how to seek help without sounding too needy. I am volunteering for so many things, yet not really getting to know anyone.

We were taught, "Make a friend. Be a friend. Bring a friend to Christ." But what about make a friend, be a friend, help a friend keep growing in Christ?  Isn't that where grace in action continues?

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chris,
I was so glad to get your e-mail. Unfortunatley, my schedule has been unusually hectic for the last few weeks and I was only able to have time to go through my e-mails today, October 13.
Your story of how you came to accept Gods grace has been a real blessing to me. I am so glad you came to the Via de Christo and I'm so grateful that you accepted what God was wanting to give to you. You have a wonderful gift for putting your thoughts on paper in a way that others can really relate to. I feel truly blessed that I had a chance to get to know you.
My prayer for you is that you do not repair the crack in the wall of your heart so that you will always be responsive to what God is leading you to do.
I hope that you will continue to write these thoughts and share them with me. I would love to be your a long distance friend and we can communicate by phone and e-mail. I hope to see you at the ultrea Sunday.
I hope that you will find a reunion group to join also. I wasn't able to find a reunion group for a while after I made my weekend and I have one now. It has made such a difference for me. There are alot of VDC people in your church and I know they will be there to support them. Please let them be there for you and help you on your daily walk with Christ. The support you get from the VDC is truly a gift. Please accept it. It will take you to places you never imagined.

Your friend in Christ,


Gail Brackett

Oct 13, 2010, 10:08:00 PM  

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Speak gently. carefully. thoughtfully. graciously. humbly.

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