For the past couple of New Year's I've noticed a trend. People are coming up with one word to label the coming year- "intention," "joy," "peace," "patience," "organize," etc. All fine and dandy, but I didn't think it was for me. How do you pick a word to sum up a year when you have no idea what it will bring?
Yet lately I've felt the Lord impressing one word on my heart. Not in any mystical way, no whispers or shouts or supernatural signs...
...just in my daily interactions, connections, and relationships...
I'm seeing a giant need for grace.
For me to extend grace to others. Especially to those under my roof. I snap at my husband and children, feeling justified in my mean tone because of how inexcusable their behavior is- when really, my patience at its limit is the time when I need to step aside and allow God's grace to flow through me. And oh, it will take a miracle of grace to tame my nasty temper. To speak kindly when I want to just scream. To hug and hold instead of getting away as fast as I can.
I need to extend grace to others in church, where it is so easy to paste on a smile and pretend my ducks are all in a row. Or where its easy to roll my eyes or feel frustrated that so and so is just so much more spiritual than me. Grace doesn't hide behind a facade- grace lets the barriers down so hurting hearts around you can see that they are not alone in their griefs and sin struggles. Grace brings freedom to be honest before God and others. Grace is a heart of compassion that delights in another's good and isn't easily irritated.
And I need grace from others, because I confess that lately bitterness has become entrenched in my soul. I didn't realize how hardened recent griefs have made me until I caught myself thinking ugly thoughts, throwing pity parties, shutting others out. I desperately need people to love me through my current struggles, and to patiently show me grace.
Most desperately of all, I need constant reminders of Jesus Christ's precious, abundant, and over flowing grace towards me. I need to remember that while sin is all I have to bring to the table, He's paid for every. single. last. one. of those sins, and He has clothed me in His perfect righteousness. When I mess up yet again, He meets me with grace and hope and forgiveness. I can't keep it straight, I can't be perfect... but His grace covers me. And I need to remember that, fight to remember that, day in and day out.
We need grace from our pulpits, grace in the grocery stores, grace at our play dates, grace to parent, grace in our marriages, grace for our in-laws, grace in the workplace, grace, grace, grace.
This 2015 I am striving to pray for grace- that Jesus would fill me with His grace to extend to others, that the leaders of our churches and nation would be covered by grace and extend it to those under their authority, that God's gospel of grace would revive, redeem, and reign in our hearts.
Because none of us can get enough of grace.
So if I have to pick one word for 2015, let it be grace.