Pale moonlight filtered through midnight windows. In that half-light, my eyes, though tired, refused to close. My brain hummed with steady thoughts – a quiet, repetitive chorus of self-condemnation reminding me of all I had tried to do and had failed so utterly in doing! Silent tears came as I thought about the tasks left undone, the house still upended from a day of breathless, noisy living. I thought about the schoolwork we had skimmed through, rather than savored. I thought about behavior I had only outwardly managed, and the hearts I hadn’t had the time or energy to reach. I thought of the opportunities to love and serve and disciple – and how I missed so many of them. I had been busy and tired instead of grateful and grace-filled. And my heart ached at the realization that I am so very far from being who I want to be.
Over the last few years, I feel like God has been whispering to me over and over of His charis grace. Grace that forgives, grace that enables, grace that transforms. I have tasted the sweetness of His unending mercy and longed for more of Him. And yet, in the midnight stillness – I forget. Even in the light of day, I don’t remember to live and breathe and pray as one who has known the grace of God. Instead, I fashion rules. And systems. Lists and charts. I think that if I can only be more organized, more disciplined, then I will be able to somehow do it all perfectly and make Him proud of me. I forget that apart from His grace, apart from faith in His Son, I cannot please Him.
I want to remember. I want to be a mama free from guilt, a mama doused in ever-flowing grace from her Papa God. I need to know – with all of my being – that I am approved by God not because of anything I can do, but because He has accomplished everything I can’t.
What would it look like, I wonder, to live full of grace? Not as one striving to succeed, but as one resting in the One who already has?
In that stifling darkness of discouragement and desperation, I feel it. His love. His great, unthinkable, undeserved, unfettered love for me. And for my little ones. His grace is enough for us. His record is ours. His grace, His kindness, His sovereignty, covers all of our mess.
And if I believe that – won’t I walk in it? Won’t His grace also pour out of me onto those sweet ones He’s so graciously given? And won’t I love more and hold back less and just rest in His faithfulness? Won’t I take those lists and charts and systems and use them as tools to love and serve, not as methods of control or false security?
I pull the covers up to my cold chin and wiggle my toes deep under winter-warm blankets. I am so thankful for His grace, covering me.