It’s my favorite thing. Well, it’s on my list of favorite things, anyway. Perhaps the reason grace has captured my heart, is because I need it so desperately, to cover all my broken places. As a woman. As a mother.
When we chose to carry our son Thomas to term, after receiving a fatal diagnosis, we needed God’s grace to take the next breath, the next step. Tears poured over my bible day after day, as I soaked in lifeblood of His Word. It was my manna, my daily portion for survival.
When I cried out to Him, He answered,
And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
My dear friend, Dinah, spoke truth to my weary heart during the months we waited to meet our son.
“I can see the grace in you, covering you. And, when you get to the end of this journey, His grace will be there, and it will be sufficient.”
She was right. Grace carried me through those days of waiting, through the long labor, and through the most precious six hours of my life, as I held our Thomas, singing to him as he went from my arms to the arms of Jesus. God knows the exact measure of grace we need for each moment of our lives.
As my oldest son entered adolescence, I was again reminded of the value of grace, and our desperate need for just the right amount. Jesus whispered two words to my bedraggled momma-heart when I fell at His feet, after a particularly low moment in my career as a mom. I had fallen into a nasty habit of arguing with my son, so bent on correcting his disrespectful behavior. A root of bitterness quickly grew between us.
Grace and love, He whispered.
The next few years, you are not to condemn, convict, nag, manipulate, or do much correcting at all. The Holy Spirit can take care of that boy’s heart much better than any plan your wily momma-ways could conjure. You must display grace and love, without conditions or hypocrisy. The same grace you have been given in such abundance. I will take care of the rest.
I spent the next several years overlooking eye rolls and sassiness. I learned to listen more than speak.
And, soon, not only my son, but many teenage boys filled my kitchen to tell their stories and eat my chili. I learned to truly see them, and thoroughly enjoy the precious gifts inside each one of those boys.
I learned to look through the eyes of love and the filter of grace, seeing each one as the young man God intended him to be. It was a great privilege to be welcomed into their boy world, and I stood in awe of the simple heart-melting power of God’s grace and love.
Those boys have left my kitchen, some for college, others for the military. But, they will never leave my heart. And, I suspect that they remember me just as fondly, as they continue to return to my kitchen during college breaks and holidays. I’ve been invited to do ministry work in frat houses on college campuses, given middle of the night advice from my living room couch, and received texts from young college men getting an “A” in Speech class for telling the story of babies who go to heaven and the mom whose kitchen (and heart) will always be home to them.
Only by His grace.