Grace is such a beautiful thing. This word has been a recurring theme for me, so far this year. It started on January 1st as I had one of the hardest parenting days I can remember. My temper was short and my 3 year old seemed to be pushing every button I had. I cannot tell you why I was in such a place, but I cried several times that day feeling like a complete failure as a mother. That evening I began reading a book By Pastor Paul David Tripp titled “Parenting”, seemed appropriate after the day I had. As I started reading it a peace washed over me that can only be explained as that of the Holy Spirit and I was reminded of grace. One of the major points in this fabulous book is about how our children are sinners who need a heart change and as a parent we should give them the grace that we as sinners, have been freely given. But, it continued in saying, we also need to give ourselves grace because we are going to mess up, and we are going to have bad days along with the good. The bottom line, we are not perfect and we aren’t expected to be, that’s why we are given grace.
“His choice is based on His grace, not on what they have done. For if God’s choice were based on hat people do, then His grace would not be real grace.” Romans 11:6
There is something beautiful about grace, and this is pointed out in the book I mentioned above. Grace is not just to cover your past or future, it is for the present, too. Grace gives us the ability to do what God has called us to. Have you read the quote “God does not call the equipped, He equips the called”? God gives us grace as we rely on Him to do the things He has called us to do. For example, God created me to be the mother to my girls, but I can’t do it in my own ability because I will fail every time, I’m human. In order to be the mother He created me to be, I need to rely on Him and His strength; His grace. Why His grace? Because I’m going to make mistakes and I’m going to fall, but His grace is what picks me up, dusts me off, and gives me what I need to try again. His grace meets me where I am weak and He is strong.
“I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and difficulties for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10
“Let us have confidence, then, and approach God’s throne, where there is grace. There we will receive mercy and find grace to help us just when we need it.” Hebrews 4:16
I’m so thankful that grace allows me to start over. It is through grace that we are saved! I really like this definition of Grace: the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings. The words free and unmerited really stick out to me because that is exactly what it is. God’s grace is a gift, freely given to us, not owed to us. There is nothing we have done that says we deserve this grace, but because God loves us, He gives it to us anyway.
“But God’s mercy is so abundant, and His love for us is so great, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ- by His grace you have been saved. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:4-5, 8
Since this is a free gift that we can do nothing to earn, we should be careful not abuse it. I think we can sometimes forget the cost of something when it is free to us. Grace, while free to us, was not free at all; Jesus was the sacrifice who paid for our sin. We are covered by grace, but we should not continue to live in our old sinful ways. Back to my January 1st. As a parent, I will make mistakes and I have grace in those mistakes, but I also need to work at not making those mistakes over and over with the idea that it’s okay because I have grace. In a way, grace gives us a learning curve, but we need to make sure we are learning from our mistakes and not recreating them on purpose.
Accept His grace when you make mistakes, don’t live in the guilt and shame of them. But also, learn from those mistakes to make better choices and to become more and more like the person God created you to be – to fulfill the purpose He has set before you.
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your gift of grace. What a beautiful gift it is. Grace to acknowledge our weaknesses so we can abide in Your strength. Grace to make mistakes, to learn from our mistakes, and to do better. Grace to accept that we are not perfect, nor are we expected to be. Thank you, Father, that You equip us for the tasks you call us to. I pray that we will be more willing to quickly accept Your grace when we mess up. I pray we do not stay in a place of guilt and shame over our past or present. And I thank You for Your grace in our future. I also pray that as we are given grace, that we will give grace to others.