Growing in Grace
I often say that my older sister got all the "Grace" between the two of us. Her middle name is "Grace" after my dad's mom. I have always been clumsy and uncoordinated. So whenever I would talk about being "graceful" I would laugh. In sophomore year of college, I broke my ankle walking. Just walking... my heel slid and I broke it. Graceful it not usually a word I use to describe myself. I have broken my nose (also while walking), ended up with stitches in my hand because I tried to catch scissors (is that lacking grace though?) gave myself a black eye because I tripped over the sidewalk, and have permanently terrified my dog from ever running with me again because of numerous face-plants over her. Grace has never been something I have been blessed with.
Well...not that sort of grace. Other grace, the grace that you extend to other people... that's something I have. I have tried my hardest to always extend grace to other people because I know what it is to have grace extended to me. The grace that we acquire from our God and Savior, is amazing astounding! The grace to be forgiven for our sins, and for our shortcomings never ceases to leave me speechless. In my humble opinion, it's the hardest Christian concept to understand. HOW, with all that we do that's not right in God's eyes, can God still look at us and call us beloved children and love us unconditionally? I don't understand it...but I rejoice in it every day.
So this brings me to something interesting that happened to me way at the beginning of January The Moravian Church (Unitas Fratrum) has this tradition of choosing watchwords at the beginning of the new year. The First Moravian congregation did this on Epiphany Sunday, January 6th. This year, my watchword (a verse of scripture to guide you or teach you through the year) was from 2 Timothy 2:1 "You then, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." I thought it was a lovely verse and I put it on my desk, prepared to remove the one from last year and posting the new one in its place so I could always see it.
As I sat down to do so, I looked at the watchword I pulled the year before, January 7, 2018. 2 Peter 3:18, "Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." In 2018, God was asking me to grow in grace... this year, to be strong in it. My heart was warmed by these words and the fact that I do indeed have grace around me and it is something that I can indeed be strong in. Yes, I'm aware that these are "different" meanings of grace, but the fact that now, two years in a row, I have been covered with this word helps me to feel strong in my own faith--a belief in a God and Savior that wraps us all in grace and that we are to know that we are showered in that grace always.
For me, growing in grace was something I did this past year, and yes will continue to do so. Though I can easily show grace to other people and I forgive them and am willing to reconcile, sometimes showing that same grace to myself, it's not easy. This past year, I worked on learning to show that same grace to myself. To know that I am worth having that same grace given to myself and I am worthy of it... because God has called me worthy of it. This year, I will continue to claim that grace for myself for how beautiful it is and grow stronger in it.
What are you prepared to do in the next 11 months of 2019?