7-10 Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing. Ephesians 2:7-10, The Message
I am grateful for grace.
Not just grateful-desperate! I prostrate myself and plead for God’s mercy and grace to drench me. Alone, I am undone. Rejected. Unaccepted. Inadequate.
One statement cut me back to the terrors of my childhood. The fear of being left behind when I couldn’t find my parents. The shame of being pleased about something that I had done, and being told that “Pride goes before a fall.” Confusion when I told my mom that I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up and she said that I was “too smart.”
And later, during middle school, when all the other girls had boyfriends and none of the boys would talk to me. Fighting demons about my appearance. Never risking finding out who I was in case I wouldn’t like myself. Hiding behind the protection of what I did, without realizing that the very walls that sheltered me also secluded me.
Then the years as a young mother when I didn’t have anything figured out. All I knew was the arid desert of desertion. There were no friends in my church, only responsibilities. There was no joy in my service, only “shoulds”. The days of tears, of pouring over Lamentations 3 to be reassured of the Father’s great faithfulness which He renewed each day. The reams of paper as I sought to make sense, to find God’s purpose in my pain.
It all roared back with his one statement.
I knew that in my mind, but my heart ripped wide open. Not along the scars which His Spirit had healed with patient care. New wounds revealed that I am still vulnerable, still a sinner, still susceptible to the pain.
Head down, eyes covered, I don’t want to expose my throbbing ache. With shallow breath I cry out for the Father’s faithfulness, even in the eleventh hour. Though exhausted, I delay my slumber for I cannot sleep. The raw and bleeding sores seek His soothing touch.
“My daughter, I still love you. My grace is sufficient. You are exactly who I created you to be, even in your great weakness. You do not need to hide from me. I saw those abusing acts that shamed you. Yet I love you. I have prepared works for you to do before the world began.”
God, your grace is better than band aids for my wounds. It is a miraculous skin-graft by the master plastic surgeon. And not only my wounds, but my heart, my love, my forgiving. By your grace.
And now, I will continue to love him in his need.