Life is full of grace, it is our choice, our obligation, our privilege to receive and share it.
The past couple of years have been a test. As a family and as individuals, we've had our challenges, and in spite of everything I'm still able to look around and see our blessings. That is grace.
As hormones have wreaked havoc on my body and my mind, I have felt strange and out of control. I've spent most of this year in a clumsy, sweaty, painful, slightly befuddled and distracted haze. Most of the time, I'm exhausted from the battle I fight just to stand up each day, yet I continue to stumble blindly forward, and without fail, I end up in a bright place, full of warmth and light. That is grace.
Many times during this season I've been too self-involved to be gracious to others. Having the humility and strength to make amends following those days when I am ashamed to say I showed and accepted no grace. That is grace.
I recently heard a new twist on the comparison of God to a teacher. The speaker said, as you prepare for a test, the teacher is talking to you, giving you tools, guiding you, preparing you, but when it comes time for the actual test, the teacher is silent. Depending on how you did on the test, the good teacher praises and rewards you, or if you failed, the teacher will begin the lesson again, reteaching in a different way and gently trying to rebuild your confidence. During our recent tests, I have been searching and questioning, and I have been so disappointed because I felt my questions and were falling on deaf ears. As usual, I received the gift of this metaphor during this time when I was so desperate to hear it. That is grace.
On a particularly difficult day, crying and praying out loud on the entire drive home, begging for a sign (anything!) that everything was going to be ok. Turning the corner and seeing that sign (literally!): a black and white billboard that said in huge letters "BREATHE" and nothing else. (Be still and know that I am.) That is grace.
I have desperately tried to control every little "peace" of my life, and I continue to fail. Recognizing that I am not the One in control, and that this is my lesson and my test. This is tough, and that is grace.
Understanding, giving and receiving an acceptance and a Love that is without conditions and without end. That is grace, my life is full, and I am deeply grateful.