Grace… A Fresh Perspective

I always believed grace to simply, yet still powerfully, be only a reaction to sin. And even if that’s all grace was, it would surely be enough.

BUT WHAT IF… what if grace were more? Could it be that grace, clothed in all her splendor, is rooted not only in the outcome, but even more so in the exposure? We tend to see grace as the response to the exposure of sin, but it seems in His glorious yet odd way of doing things, He is gracious to expose our sins to the world, even expose ourselves to the gravity of our sin and blindness.

Grace is two-fold. PAIN and COMFORT. Both show God’s incredibly deep love for us. Too often we see the pain as punishment, when in fact it is discipline entrenched in grace. We avoid pain and seek comfort. The irony is that we can’t find true comfort without pain. I wonder if that is why we are not expected to venture out in this battle against sin in isolation. Sharing our sin with others is painful, sometimes our worst nightmare coming true. But in the sharing we also experience true comfort and love lavished upon us, the weary sinner. Shame will hunt you down like a ferocious lion, forcing you deeper into isolation. Pain, yes the embracing of doing what’s painful, is the way home to freedom. We have to embrace the grace that the Father is wanting to freely give. So when we are blessed enough to have our sins exposed, we should take that as a hint our Father in heaven abundantly cares for us. Embrace the pain, embrace the comfort.

If you are one that is hiding, thinking there is no way in hell that you could ever say anything, I want to encourage you to reevaluate. Choose not the temporary comfort of hiding from others. Which, side note really actually sucks. Like David said, it feels like your bones are wasting away. It’s a false comfort. Choose the temporary pain. I plead with you. It will bring about the opportunity for peace and comfort that is deep, meaningful, and everlasting.

God’s grace has no bounds. It reaches down, it reaches out. It breaks and it mends. It hurts, it embraces. God’s grace is not halted by our personal preference, but tears down the walls we put up because God will stop at nothing to rescue.

-Michael

 

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Yesterday I cut and taped and tied bows around boxes and bags for a group of precious mommas in the fight of their lives… the fight to cling to Jesus to heal and fill their emptiness so they can be mommas that choose the better portion.

when my sweet friends told me their idea to shower these women with gifts, I jumped in… cause although our lives may seem really different from those in a sober living home with court cases for custody, ive been there before. and I see myself in their eyes. the loneliness and ache can seem to reach out and beg me the question “am I seen? am I loved? despite all my brokenness and neediness, can I do this hard thing?”

Christmas morning a few years ago we stole away to a mountain and I drove down 45 minutes with my 3 babes strapped into their seats, all of us as sick as could be with no voices and fevers and all out hot messes, so their daddy, states away in a detention center could whisper merry Christmas to his girls over a collect call. I hoped we would make it in time so we wouldn’t miss the scheduled call, even as I struggled over the reality of leaving the cozy cabin on this day that was supposed to be a certain way. never in all my mind had I imagined this day would ever hold these memories.

I pulled into a deserted parking lot of a grocery store. all the signs reading merry Christmas and closed up so families could gather and celebrate the season. the loneliness and ache threatening to make my throat close even tighter than the tonsillitis had swollen it already. moments after I parked, waiting and watching the phone to be sure not to miss the call, the truck full of my family pulled in behind us.

“as soon as you left we thought, how could we not come? of course we want to wish Michael a merry Christmas too!”

the weight of this moment hits me afresh this year.

what more meaningful gift can we give than our presence? don’t we all ache to know that we are not alone? and of course, what hope we have in knowing the Christ child, the baby born in the manger, the stable fit only for animals that housed the King of the world for His birth, He CAME. and He brought LIFE and He brought HOPE and He brought the peace that our souls so desperately crave.

but there is something really powerful when we as the body of Christ SHOW UP and offer our presence to one another in our tired, hurting places.

God started stirring my heart at the beginning of December to not miss the places He would be found…to not miss the ways HE wants me to give this Christmas. He has been so faithful to show me where His heart is. Yesterday, as I watched 16 beloved women open gifts put together in a collective effort from the generosity of the body of Christ, the deepest kind of joy filled my heart.

He is in the lonely places. He is with us, Emmanuel. with YOU… in your wondering, in your pain, in your places of mourning and brokenness. Take heart. He came and HE IS COMING.

The Daystar, the literal ‘Light-bringer’, He came and is coming again, to all our darkness.

Glory to the Light of the World.

take a moment and go listen to this beautiful song by Christy Nockels.

Advent Hymn

 

-Bryana