Grace. It’s a word we hear a lot as Christians. We say it before we eat a meal. We sing it as “amazing” or “scandalous” on Sundays at church. In all the forms grace comes into our lives, what does “grace” even mean?
I know what grace means in the Christian sense. It’s simply defined as “getting what you don’t deserve from God.” Yes, but sometimes I wonder: how does this relate to my day-to-day life, amid my struggles, or when I feel I don’t deserve grace? Thankfully, God showed up with a tangible and powerful example.
It was already a long day and I was waiting on my youngest son, then four years old, to finish his afternoon snack. (Friends, this kid eats excruciatingly slow….like worm slow…like watching peanut butter drip.) My patience was already wearing thin when he proceeded to mess around with his food.
“Hey! Please stop that before you get food everywhere! We just got this place cleaned,” my voice was starting to rise with my blood level. The kid continues to ignore me.
“Don’t do that with your food!” But he did. And then food was ALL. OVER. THE. PLACE. On the floor, the walls, the table and chair. By now, I was furious!
I started yelling and screaming in his face. “LOOK WHAT YOU DID! WE JUST GOT THIS PLACE SCRUBBED DOWN! WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!??!” I continued as a crazy banshee. (I ain’t proud of this).
Frustration and anger were swirling in me (and some four-letter words I won’t repeat), as my four-year-old just stood there. I was immediately flooded with guilt. “Calm down, Sanli! He’s only a kid. Now you’ve ruined him for life…” Arggh. I covered my face as more feelings of guilt and self-loathing washed over me.
Then I felt him. My son had run over to me and wrapped his little body around my leg as tight as he could. I started sobbing, feeling like a crappy mother and knowing he’ll have a lifetime of therapy ahead of him. He deserves a mom so much better than me.
I knelt closer. “Honey, Mommy is so sorry…”
Before I could even finish, he hugged me tightly, kissed my cheek, and brushed away hair from my tear-stained face. He then tenderly held my face in his two little hands and looked right into my eyes.
“It’s okay, Mommy. I forgive you. I love you.”
There are no words to describe this moment, except for GRACE! I did not deserve this amount of forgiveness and love, and yet I received it.
Right at that moment, I knew God was holding me. God is just like this, isn’t He? He runs to us, holds us close, looks deep into our hearts so tenderly, and says, “My dear, you are forgiven! Even when you mess up, I still love you. It’s never earned. And take these gifts of joy, comfort, and peace, too. There is no judgement, no shame, no strings attached to these. True. You are not worthy, but I see you as worth it.”
My son’s gesture was just a touch of God’s immense love for each of us. God knew I needed a glimpse to understand the full potential of His grace. He just sent it in the form of a four-year-old. I learned a valuable lesson: grace is a heart experience. Grace is about relationships–with God and with others.
And, we are not meant to hoard the grace God so generously gives us. We are meant to use it to spread God’s love in tangible ways. We are meant to touch the lives of others around us, even when they don’t deserve it. Because they are worth it.
As I write this post, I still struggle with receiving God’s grace and doling it out to others. But when I think back at this moment with my son, I know that others need grace just as much as I do. So, the next time I’m feeling unloved by my husband, or deeply wounded by a close friend or family member, or disrespected by my clients, or annoyed by a coworker, I know grace can bridge us. It may be humbling and hard to do, but heck! If my four-year-old can do it, we all can, too!
Friends, when was the last time you allowed grace into your life? When was the last time you showed grace to others? Please share in the comments below!