I have a special treat for my readers today, my friend Nancy from “There is Grace” has agreed to do a guest post on my blog about “grace”. Now, if you are new to my blog then you may not know that last year I was posting one word every week to encourage moms based upon our alphabet study. Well, we just wrapped up the letter “G” and I just felt this urging to contact Nancy to see if she would write a guest post. If you have a minute you should visit her blog at ThereIsGrace where she is writing with wisdom, and sharing her experiences in her fight with cancer.
It is my sincerest hope that this post would be an encouragement to my fellow moms with preschoolers – down in the trenches with the sippy cups and Capt’n Crunch cereal. May you find grace in the mundane, chaotic, joyous, and beautiful mess that we mamas experience in motherhood.
The words below are written by my friend Nancy…
Having grown up in church, I was sure I had this thing called “grace” all figured out. I could spout the “Christian” definition: God’s unmerited favor. I could explain the difference between mercy and grace: Mercy is not getting what you deserve; Grace is getting what you don’t deserve.
I heard sermons about grace. I sang songs about grace. In fact, my name, Nancy, means “full of grace.” So, I was pretty sure I knew all there was to know about it: God’s grace is what brings us to salvation. Because of our sin, we deserve death. But God in His grace offers us salvation through His Son.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8, 9)
Then, a few years ago, I experienced God’s grace at a whole new level. I was quite familiar with God’s saving grace, but my life, at the time, was quite a mess. Not a drug-and-alcohol-type of mess. Or my-husband-ran-off-with-someone-else type of mess. But an I’ve-got-two-kids-under-5-and-I-might-just-lose-my-mind kind of mess.
Some moms thrive in those seasons. They relish the snuggles through a sleepless night and count their blessings as they pick up 367 preschool toys for the sixth time today. I am not that mom. I was drowning in a sea of sippy cups and fruity puffs and living on 3.26 hours of sleep a night. And I was sure it would never end. I was a mess.
Then God in His grace reached out and got my attention. Through a sermon series, a recommended book, and a handful of other tiny moments, God began to unravel, and then reconstruct, my view of His grace.
I realized grace wasn’t just a one-time act of compassion on a cross 2,000 years ago. It’s more than a gift God bestows on us at salvation.
It’s a daily (sometimes moment-by-moment) offer He extends to us when we need it most.
God’s grace is the result of His goodness and His love for me every single day. Not just the days my house is clean and my kids get along. It’s for the days I’m so exhausted that I weep at the sight of laundry.
The days I yell at my kids and I’m not sure why.
The days I hide in the closet (or the bathroom) just to get 2.75 minutes of peace and quiet.
Grace is for the messy times.
It’s for the little messes like sleepless nights and the times we forget to hold our tongues.
It’s for the big messes like when we suffer loss and when we hear the word “cancer.”
It’s for the normal days and the crazy days…
The fun days and the fearful days…
The simple times and the silly times.
Because I believe in those times…the messiest times…God’s grace is the greatest.
[God] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:9, 10).
In times of our greatest weakness God is there…in His grace…to pick us up, dust us off, and carry us through. And when we rely on His grace,we become stronger than we ever could be on our own.
Because when our messy lives meet an authentic faith…There is grace.
Nancy is a lover of words and all things chocolate. She is married to her best friend, and when she’s not settling sibling squabbles among her two children, she can be found sipping coffee and writing about faith, family, and finding grace in the journey. She blogs at There Is Grace.