Grace is a gift that God gives each and every one of us. BUT, we must choose to receive it! God freely gives of His abundant grace, but we must CHOOSE to receive it. Just as we must choose to receive ANY of His gifts. God never forces us to accept anything.
Once we receive God’s abundant grace, what do we do with it? Do we allow His grace to transform us? Do we extend His grace to others? Or do we ignore that God has been so very gracious to us with His many gifts?
Grace is defined as, “courteous goodwill”. As a noun, it is also defined as, “simple elegance or refinement of movement”. As a verb, grace means, “do honor or credit to someone or something by one’s presence”.
I’m coming up on the 3rd anniversary of my ex leaving in a few days. Boy, has it been hard to choose grace! I fail quite frequently, as many of us do.
Recently, I finally came to the point that I could clean out closets.
Let me explain for those who haven’t read all of my entries— when my ex left, he took my things, put them on the floor and took the shelves and furniture that housed these items. I boxed all of my books up, placed the boxes in the corner of the dining room where they sat for over a year. As clutter causes me great anxiety, I took all of my other personal belongings left on the floor and literally shoved them in closets and shut the door. What you can’t see won’t cause anxiety, right!?
While I was cleaning closets, I came across a few items that belonged to my ex. His silver baby cup, some gold airplanes he received as awards and a few other random items. I also found a tub of pictures. It contained pictures of my maternal grandmother, my paternal grandparents and my immediate family.
After 3 years, I assumed my ex had mellowed in his anger, so I sent this e-mail:
Granted, it is not this icky, sweet, oochie coochie e-mail, but it wasn’t hateful. I was actually trying to extend grace to this man who has hurt me and my children greatly. Why? First because God has blessed me and continues to give me the grace and strength I need. Second, because it is what God calls us to do. We don’t deserve His grace, but He gives it to us anyway. Last, because I KNOW how important pictures and sentimental items are to me! I would be heartbroken if I lost pictures of my boys. I’m fairly certain that my ex, while maybe not as sentimental as am I, would like the pictures and items. I was trying to treat him as I would like to be treated.
I tried to extend grace, even though he still has items of mine that I know I will never see. Even though it took him almost a year to return paperwork belonging to my father I tried my best to be who God expects me to be. While ex may never extend grace my way, it doesn’t release me from God’s expectations. We do not always receive the grace God gives to us. There will be people who refuse to even acknowledge that you are choosing grace instead of bitterness, anger or hate.
When this happened, it hurt. I was, after all, married to this man for 24 years and I KNOW he knows my heart, though he dare not admit that he knows! I wrongly assumed that after 3 years, my effort to be kind would be appreciated. I wrongly assumed that he would see that I was trying to extend grace through this gesture of kindness. I wish I could say that I continued to choose grace when his bitter reply entered my mailbox. But the second I read his nasty response, my blood boiled and I thought, “You jerk! I’m just trying to be nice and I didn’t even ask you to pay the postage!”
I imagine that God often feels the same way with us! He continues to pour out His grace and time and again we humans throw it back at Him, we reject it. Luckily for us, He doesn’t cut us down with His wrath, He just keeps on extending His grace.
All of this to say that I completed my downstairs guest bathroom and laundry room. One more project complete! Where does choosing grace fit in, you ask? As I looked for something new to hang on the wall, I came across a picture at Hobby Lobby that simply says, “Choose Grace” and decided I needed that reminder in my life daily. What better place that the bathroom/laundry room, right?
It will be a daily reminder that no matter what happens in my life or who rejects me, God’s grace is endless. All I have to do is choose grace.
So, two months later, my bathroom is done. As I painted, I decided to choose grace once again. I packed up a small box and paid $10 or so to mail the ex a few of the things I came across and popped it in the mail yesterday. If ex doesn’t choose grace, that’s his problem.
I love how my house is turning out. In the beginning, my projects kept me busy and helped my anxiety. My projects helped me survive. Now, I am enjoying my projects and love my house!