Thursday, June 16, 2016

there is the grace

It started with the substitute mailman who rang our doorbell to deliver a large package that required my signature.  Pointing out the unique postage on the box, he joyfully began to comment on how far the package had traveled to reach our little neighborhood, but all I could notice was his contagiously upbeat demeanor.  So, I asked.  "Tell me, Ciro, why are you so happy today?"  Excitement filled his eyes and he began to tell me about Jesus.

I smiled in agreement.

A day later, I was on the hunt for an open check-out line at my local Walmart.  I successfully scooted my cart to register #10 where a beautiful woman and her teenage daughter were finishing their own check-out process.  As I began to assess and unload my items onto the counter, the woman's eyes met with mine and she immediately paused her transaction with the cashier to step over and hug me.  No explanation, no words... just robust hugging from a random Walmart shopper.  Curious, I patted her back and questioned, "So, how is your day going today, sweetie?"  She chuckled and said, "Just wonderful.  God loves us, you know.  He takes care of all our needs.  We have so much to be thankful for because of Him."

I hugged back tightly.

Only days before, I had asked the Lord for more.  More of Him.  More of His dazzling love.  More of...  well, just more.  See, of late I have been intently studying the age lines on my face along with the few white hairs that have slowly been changing the appearance of my hair color.  So many visible differences that have become more noticeable as my years have passed by.

I was doing this because I've realized that this year I reached the half-way point of my normal life expectancy.  Honestly, this somewhat terrifies me.  Not because I have an issue with getting old.  No, I've always felt old.  Rather, I am uneasy to consider how I have lived my life so far, and how I will live out the remainder of my days.  For when I look into the mirror, I still see all my flaws.  I still carry the burden of so much that weighs me down.  I still am broken, and frightened, and selfish, and, well... a mess.

"But there is the grace, Victoria."  (The still small voice whispers to me encouragingly.)

Ah yes.  The grace.  Greater than me.  Greater than my sin.  Greater than my tarnished, old, weary ways.  Mmmmm, grace that brings along with it contagious joy.  Grace that provides, and cares, and undeservedly gives because.... well, because my Savior first loved me and came to renew, repair, and restore me into His kingdom.  This is the good news of my Jesus.  This is the hope I willingly and vulnerably place all my trust and surrender all my weakness.  For His grace is sufficient.  His grace is enough.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (Romans 5:1-2)

The grace in which we stand, Believers.  The grace that we rejoice in real hope.  The grace we each obtain by faith in Jesus Christ the Lord.  This grace... this GRACE... makes us excited to share His Holy Name.  This grace causes us to be mindful, to care, to love no matter what the circumstance.  To live differently... abundantly... communally... eternally.  This is His Way.  And His is the only future to embrace as we stand in line at Walmart or sign for a package at our doorstep.

Lord, teach us to stop looking at ourselves and instead look upward to Your abounding, everlasting, irrefutable grace.  Alone, we are nothing, weak, broken.  But praise Your Name... there is Your freeing grace.  The grace You lovingly give.  Sing Hallelujah!  For there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  Yes, teach us to live every second in worship of Your joy and beauty.  Afford our every step, our every day, to become a celebration of your endless glory!

For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. (John 1:16) ...upon grace upon grace upon grace upon grace... Hallelujah to the King of kings!

Today, dear friends... stand hopeful in His amazing grace.

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

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