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Grace Upon Grace

The past few days away at the beach have been so unbelievably good for the soul, in ways that I didn’t even know my soul needed. I had time to read, rest, and spend time with my family and sweet husband. My heart is overflowing with gratitude right now,

and God truly met me in the beauty of His Creation.

More than ever before, I am reminded that God, the true Creator, is the most beautiful and amazing artist of all. He is the Creator who inspires and gives creativity to us all - His beloved Sons and Daughters. His love is pure, holy, kind, gentle, and

full of grace upon grace.

“From His fullness, we have all received grace upon grace.”

John 1:16

I love the word grace and was forever changed by my dearest friend during my time in Uganda (whose name just so happened to be Grace). But for some reason, God really spoke to me on this topic this weekend and how beautiful grace really is.

Yes, He has bestowed grace upon grace on us, but He has also called on us to show this same grace upon grace to others, too.

When I remember just how much grace God has shown me in my own life and my journey to know Him more, I can’t help but want to show abundant grace to others in my life. Children of God who need this same grace-giving, unfailing, unconditional love. Is this always easy? Absolutely not. But it is worth it. And it is beautiful.

In a book I have been reading here at the beach, I read the most beautiful quote by author Lysa TerKeurst on this topic of giving grace to those who least deserve it –

“I picture myself standing between two boxes. From one the stench is unbearably brutal, bellowing out dark wisps of death. And the other box is full of white lilies. Their angelic blooms are fully stretched and sending out perfume, sweet and pure.

A box of bitterness. A box of grace.

Looking at these boxes helps me see the horrible in bitterness and the honorable in grace. Seeing and smelling bitterness doesn’t make it nearly as appealing.

“Not now” grace soon turns into “right now” grace. I realize if I don’t cooperate with grace in this moment, for this thief, for that friend, for my dad, and for that teacher… I will carry the stench of the bitter box and rub it off on all who come close to me.

And this realization makes me so annoyed.

But seeking what’s fair in this life never cracked the world open to reveal the beautiful reality of a Jesus-loving woman. Only a pure heart with space for grace can do that. Indeed, grace is such a crazy notion to the heart of the one rejected. But if we will step over the hurt feelings and turn from the box of bitter rot, we are then

free to pick up the box of sweet, pure lilies.

We can form bouquets to give away.

We will linger with the smell of one who spends time with her fingers working through grace.

We will see a tweaking of our souls in the midst of things taken that stayed gone. We prove that not everyone in this world is vicious and selfish and cruel. And we even dare to pray for the thief, friend, father, and teacher who may have hurt us or someone we love. For at some point in their lives, someone took from them and left them screaming on a sidewalk.”

I don’t know about you, but this picture and explanation of grace changed everything for me. When I remember, first of all, how much grace I have been given, I can’t imagine not showing this same grace to others. But, second of all, when I remember that each and every person has been hurt or rejected by someone or something else in his or her life, I can view them from a lens of love and grace, knowing that my showing them grace may just be the bouquet of lilies that soothes the deepest wounds of their souls.

I am not saying that we are called to be perfect and naively show grace to people in the sense that justice does not need to be served. But I am saying that, before we start to judge others, we must first ask God to help us see them through His eyes…

through His lens of grace.

I remember my freshman year of college, when I gave my life to the Lord, I heard this quote at a campus ministry I had started going to:

“You are never too good for the grace of God,

and you are never too far gone for the grace of God.”

These words changed everything for me and led me to want to follow this type of God. A God who loved me no matter what I had done, and no matter what I may do. A God that never gives up on me. And never gives up on you, either.

I believe grace is the foundation of the Christian faith. And the foundation of living a life worthy of the gospel. We have been given unending grace upon grace by Jesus Christ, so if we are called to become more like Him, we must also grow in showing grace upon grace to others. So, I’ll leave you with this sweet reminder:

Remember – the law didn’t change people, but the gospel of grace changes everything.

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