I never thought when my husband and I named Tori “Victoria Grace” that it would take so much grace to parent her. Her very being reflects grace. After a difficult time conceiving her, we were told to let her go. They couldn’t find a heartbeat. I laid in bed praying only to come into the clinic days later hearing her thunderous heartbeat echoing in my womb. She came into the world after a difficult birth, tipping the scales at over 10 lbs.
Her spirit reflects God’s grace because she has conquered all odds –hence the name. She is now 4 years old and has a fire for life and unquenchable spirit to push boundaries, bend rules, lithesomeness about anything and everything and is the very snapshot of God’s passion for us.
And I’ve been in tears all week because God has unraveled this need I have to earn it–earn grace. Tori constantly messes up, disobeys and pushes the boundaries but she is only 4. A mere child. A little soul in need to love, molding, and instruction. If grace and love were meant to be earned, she would be so very poor. Aren’t you and I the same? A woman child to God? One in need to instruction, molding and discipline?
Yesterday, I came unraveled, a complete mess because of this:
8 For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved ([a]delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God;
9 Not because of works [not the fulfillment of the Law’s demands], lest any man should boast. [It is not the result of what anyone can possibly do, so no one can pride himself in it or take glory to himself.] Ephesians 2:8-9
In other words:
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. (MSG)
Deep down in the heart of my soul, I did not believe I deserved grace. How could God love me with all the fear, envy, and regret I carry? How could someone like me with a dark and dirty past receive the gift of grace? But that’s the marvel, it’s freely given, our beings washed in his love–a tide rolling over our lives each day–sometimes moment by moment.
My prayer since I fell to “peaces” has been a 10th Avenue North Song:
If I lay down all my wounded pride
If I let these dreams die
Will I find that letting go lets me come alive
So empty my hands
Fill up my heart
Capture my mind with you
Grace calls upward to a life filled with beauty, to the best life with room to grow, change, to rest, to breathe. It is the shadow of hope when we realize what a mess we are. Grace is the idea that in all things, it covers and heals what is broken and creates the beautiful.