"That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame."
Romans 10: 9-11
As a SP, the topic of grace is so near and dear to my heart. I'm so thankful for God's incredible gift of grace. If you don't, first of, understand that God is a loving and forgiving God this thing called grace may be easily lost. If you don't see yourself as a sinner who makes countless mistakes and is in need of constant forgiveness, grace may continue to be a nebulous concept (Romans 3:23).
As a SP (and as a human being), I am so in need of God's constant grace. I can be doing great one minute...The sun is shining. Inside my home the thermometer reads a pleasant 75 degrees. There is so much joyous laughter that its source cannot be determined, because it appears to pour out from every room of the house. And, then, in a matter of moments things can deteriorate quickly. A dark cloud appears covering the radiance of the sun, the thermometer rises to a steamy 85 degrees and laughter is replaced by less than soothing words. What just happened here?! All things were going well! Who got off the train to "happy town?" And, what direction is this train now headed in exactly?!
Ever think about how parenting is a constant test of your patience and how it exposes you? The morning starts out great - smiling faces welcome mom as she gives the 'good morning greeting' (okay so I have 1 out of 2 who honestly start out this way). And then...hungry tummies take over your precious children and the list of demands is initiated. It's as though a flip of a switch has now activated the 'get it for me now or else sequence.' You recognize the look in their faces, and are cognizant this is nothing to mess around with! It has never been more high stakes than in this very moment. You must move fast with precision and efficiency. There is absolutely no room for error! And just like that it happens... The business mentality takes over and you've gone from lovin mama to conquering task master. Perspective drips away and what follows is less than God-centered. We've all been there. Your head feels like it's going to explode! And then you sigh thinking to yourself, "Ah, I thought I was doing so well too!" You shake your head and wonder if there's hope for you...
With God there is exactly just that - hope AND grace. And here's another amazing thing about our God. He forgives us when we feel shame and embarrassment over the way we've acted. And He gives us grace to counter with the forgiveness. I'm so undeserving of the gift, but He gives it to everyone because of who He is! He lets me know He is there, ready to forgive. There is nothing He won't forgive when we repent and confess. He says, "Start again." He tells me to quit striving for perfection and to take one step at a time. With an attitude like this I can (and will) make progress. It's okay not to be perfect. It's okay not to have all the answers. It's okay to make mistakes.
You see, God looks for what's in our hearts (1 Samuel 16:7). I certainly don't wake up with high hopes to lose my patience by 8 am and cloud my head with as many negative thoughts as is humanly possible in order to be the best me-centered decision-maker that day. I think God knows what we're up against (aka this thing called 'sinful human nature'). Who and what I hope to be like each and every day is Jesus. I want to exhibit the Fruits of the Spirit and live like Jesus did (Galatians 5:22-23).
A Grace I Never Knew
Exposed, vulnerable and bare
You come to where I am and meet me there.
In failure and loss,
You gently pull me to the cross.
In weakness and struggle the path is revealed and made clear.
It is what has brought me here.
On my knees I bow before You - weak and with nothing in hand.
With a loving gaze, You gently pick me up to stand.
You look me in the eyes and tell me, "My grace has always been enough.
Never have I expected you to handle it all - to be so tough.
It is where you are weak
That I can begin to speak.
It is in failure, down on your knee
When you are able to truly see.
For it is where you are weak and in the obstacle you face.
It is then you understand My gift of grace."