Grace Extended

I recently wrote and discovered that my personal definition of grace is Jesus covers me.  Since that discovery, I’ve realized that my definition only pertains to Jesus because that is the only person I’ve learned how to receive grace from.  I haven’t completely learned how to receive grace from myself or others.  That doesn’t mean I’ve never been given or shown grace toward myself or others.  Alternatively it does mean that I’m familiar with grace, but defiantly need to know grace more.  I said in a recent blog, “I have met grace.”  Now I want to get better acquainted with her; grace and I are going to hang out.  I am going to give myself to grace.

One of the ways I’m going to give myself to grace is by letting my house go, and be okay with it when it is not in perfect order as I would like.  Truly my house is never in perfect order, but I like it to be presentable when guests come over.  Recently my husband and I had plans to go on a date and a friend was coming over to watch our kids.  That morning my plan was to wake up, make the bed, vacuum, fold clothes, put away dishes etc.  I did get the dishes put away and my 5-year-old vacuumed our living room so there was some progress.  However my active two-year old decided to participate in whatever he could find available.  In addition, the 5-year-old got distracted from vacuuming and started to play.  So there were messes being made faster than I could clean up.

Due to four hands making messes and only two hands cleaning up, I started to cry.  My thoughts were, “I just want a clean house!”  I felt so overwhelmed, frustrated, and angry so I decided to call a friend.  My friend has four kids, and totally understands.   Her conversation to me was beautiful and grace filled.  She said “You can’t shovel snow as fast as it comes down.”  She continued to say words of grace and encouragement and I started to cry more.

As tears came down my face I got more acquainted with grace. I started to allow the grace to replace the shame I had let build up.  I had shame for getting upset with my kids making messes faster than I could clean up.  I had shame that I wasn’t going to look my absolute best for my friend coming over that night.  I had shame for having shame.

In that moment as grace replaced shame my friend showed me how I could practically hang out with grace that day.  She said, “Andrea you can clean one room, – only one room, and it can’t be the messiest one.”  Leaving my house undone that day made me feel vulnerable.  Daniel my friend at GFU has an excellent definition of grace. He says, “Accepting grace requires that you accept that you are inadequate in some area.”  I am defiantly inadequate to keep my house spotless.

That day even though I just said I was going to make the bed, vacuum, fold clothes, and put away dishes, I had SO MUCH MORE to clean up.  To give you a clear picture of our home that day, I had stacks of bills on the table, crayons, coloring books, plastic Easter Eggs, Bendaroos, sandwich meat all over the high chair, a  cup of coffee, and much more.  Do you get the point there was absolutely no room on the table?  In addition, I won’t dare to describe my kitchen counters or the 1000+ square feet of mess that was surrounding me.  (I hope your laughing because you can relate.)

So although my house sounds messy, I’m not saying that it’s a good idea to keep ones house a mess.  My house really does get cleaned most every night between 9 and 11PM, and then everyone wakes up and it’s a mess all over again.  What I am saying is that I’m going to give myself grace when I don’t look the best, when my family doesn’t look the best, when my house doesn’t look the best, when my church doesn’t look the best …when anything or anyone doesn’t look the best I want to represent grace.

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Are you Welcoming Jesus?

Matthew 18:1-5 NIV
1At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
2He called a little child and had him stand among them. 3And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
5″And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.

I like how Jesus references someone who is humble like a child is the greatest. I think anyone can get to this place of humbleness, no matter what age they might be. In addition, if we welcome someone who is humble and returns to God like a child then we are welcoming Jesus. Therefore it doesn’t mean that we exclusively only welcome children or that Jesus exclusively only welcomes children, but Jesus welcomes everyone who comes to Him! Jesus called the child to Him and the child came. He responded to God’s voice of acceptance. Jesus welcomes adults, teenagers, and children who have messed up their lives, but are going back to square one relying on God’s grace and forgiveness to make them new like a child. I love that! It doesn’t matter how old we are, Jesus can still change our lives and make us like a child!

The most important thing I got out of this passage is we need to change! We need to change, if we are not like a child. In addition, we need to change if we are not welcoming people like this passage describes. We can’t change on our own. We have to respond to Jesus; come to Him, and He changes us. We need to become like a child; someone who is humble. The Message says, “that unless you return to square one, and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in.” In order to get in we have to change! In order to be accepting as Christ is we have to change. That change is a new beginning, like a new birth; a brand new baby! We can all become like children.

Overall, I think often children have more spiritual understanding then we give them credit for. I want to stay like a child. Do you need to start over like a child? Or do you need to accept someone who is like a child? I want to welcome Jesus and I will welcome anyone who is willing to change because that is what Christ calls us to do. Here’s to being like a child and welcoming all those who want to be children too! ♥