Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Surprise Ending

When you hear a word spoken over and over again, the meaning of that word tends to get muddled. Unfortunately, the word "grace" used to have that connotation for me. For a time it felt like a buzz-word, used in prayers and worship songs. But I didn't understand the meaning. The power of grace was often lost in a sea of Christian-ese, usually spoken by myself.

My friend Chris, a Bible teacher and missionary, gives an simple definition of grace that I love:
I love this definition, this picture of Jesus towards us. He is abundantly kind, though we don't deserve  it. He lavishly gives favor, though we could never earn it.

After I graduated from high school, I desperately wanted deeper friendships with other women. I asked the Lord to give me a friend, and He answered. I became fast friends with a sweet girl, and I even got to be a small part of her journey of meeting Jesus. We were close, she was in my wedding, and I was so grateful for her friendship.

Brian and I got married and moved to Hawaii to join Youth With A Mission, just 5 weeks after our wedding. We quickly fell into the consuming rhythm of full-time ministry. Life got busy, I grew selfish with my time, and several of my friendships fell by the wayside. This sweet friend who God had gifted me with years before was going through a lot in her life. And I, in my self-righteous desire to minister to others closer in proximity, dropped her. At a time when she needed a friend the most, I got too busy. Over the next few years, our friendship became basically non-existent. I failed her in many ways and was not an example of God's steadfast, faithful love for her.

Earlier this year, the Lord put this friend on my heart. I began to feel sick with shame about the way I treated her. The Lord, in His goodness, convicted me of the way that I had so quickly chosen other things over our friendship, and how I had hurt her. I was a wreck about it. So I sent her an email. I apologized, asking for her forgiveness, and if there was some way we could re-kindle our friendship. I wasn't sure what to expect. She could write me off, and I deserved nothing more than that. 

I was floored by her response.

She showed me Jesus. She showed me grace. She gave me such un-deserved kindness, and completely unmerited favor. She blessed me, spoke well of me, and desired to continue our friendship. And though I shouldn't have been surprised by her response because she is a Godly woman - I was taken aback. She so quickly responded in love. Though it probably wasn't easy, she simply forgave. She even gave me permission to share our story here :)

Thank you friend, you know who you are. You have fleshed out my favorite definition of grace. You have reflected Jesus. Though we'll never deserve it, He is unswervingly kind. Though we could never earn His favor, He furiously pours it all over us. When we completely fail him and crawl back to apologize in our shame - He lifts our chin, meets our gaze, and responds with "I'll take you back. Over and over again, I'll accept you. I love you." And He helps us stand, brushes off the dirt, and re-kindles our friendship, like nothing ever happened in the first place.

Life of a Pint-Sized Mama

Thanks for reading my first real post in this series on grace called "Freedom Found Me." I call myself a recovering "earn-aholic", trying to enjoy God's grace instead of striving to earn it. Jesus offers freedom, through His grace - and we don't have to go searching for it. It's right out there in the open. In fact, His freedom found me. Click the picture above to see more of the series!

6 comments:

  1. grace is SUCH a beautiful thing. People who allow grace to fill their hearts and take over their lives are truly something special!! I'm so glad you have a refound friendship and I'm sure it will be better than ever before!

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  2. So excited about this series friend!! I loved this post!

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  3. What a beautiful example of grace, thank you for sharing your story. I'm stopping by because 5ohwifey told me that there was a wonderful woman with a heart for God and I wanted to stop by and meet you:) I'll follow along, and can't wait to hear more from you.

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  4. oh girl lil' momma i sure like you a whole lot!! and miss you much. proud of you for starting this series. can't wait to read more. love your heart!!

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  5. Such a great post; I am really looking forward to more from this series!

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  6. Beautiful. What a perfect reminder.

    Just stopping by from The Wiegand's, sweet Casey's blog, to personally invite you to join me for An Aloha Affair; a sort of end of week gathering and mingling and growing together. I'd love to have ya, stop by anytime...

    xo,
    Nicole
    localsugarhawaii.com

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