winning at football but losing at grace…
This football season has been amazing.
We are so thankful for the gift that it has been. We have seen God’s hand in a mighty way and it’s also been really fun to win.
But it hasn’t been easy.
It’s been really difficult actually, a huge adjustment for the whole family.
And we haven’t necessarily done it very gracefully.
What I mean is, we haven’t always been good at giving each other grace through all of the hard times. In our exhaustion, our family has gotten frustrated and short tempered and harsh with each other, pointing out others’ mistakes and holding onto offenses. It hasn’t been pretty.
As the season gets longer, our grace for one another only seems to diminish.
Isn’t that true in life? When we get weary and overwhelmed, it becomes harder to give grace to the people around us, even though that’s when we need it the most.
I’ve thought a lot about that word these last few weeks. I’ve read about it in the Word. I even looked up the definition. Grace is defined as free and unmerited favor.
To extend grace is to essentially:
Give the benefit of the doubt.
Extend unearned kindness.
It sounds good on paper, but it is not easy to execute in real life.
I’ve been on the receiving end of God’s grace too many times to count.
His grace is limitless. Boundless. Extravagant.
Mine? Not so much. My grace is…human sized.
It struck me this weekend that our family is winning at football but losing at grace.
Let me just say that winning in football is no small task. My hubby works 18-20 hours a day, with a to-do list that never ends. He comes home late, his energy spent, and then works late into the night. He has zero time to himself, and zero time to help me at home. I am completely overwhelmed with all that is on my plate: chores, sick kids and daily migraines. Add to that chaos the dynamic of busy teens and strong-willed toddlers and well…put a fork in us, we are done.
This weekend, until Saturday night, our house was devoid of grace. We were, however, abounding in lost tempers and loud voices.
Losing at grace.
At one point, I went downstairs and found all four of my children – ages 16, 14, 3, and 1 screaming at each other. ALL.OF.THEM. The littles were screaming in defiance and the bigs were screaming at them to listen and obey. It was so loud, I had to yell just to get them to stop. The irony of that moment is not lost on me.
And that’s when I decided it was time we had a little talk. Well, more like a big, loud talk. Ok, it was actually a big, loud, long, come-to-Jesus kind of lecture. I talked and the bigs listened. And it was all about grace.
Giving grace when it’s not earned.
Giving grace when it isn’t fair.
Giving grace when we are tired.
Giving grace when the littles are fiesty.
Giving grace when Dad is busy and distracted.
Giving grace when Mom is overwhelmed and crabby.
Giving grace when we feel ignored.
Giving grace when someone offends us. Or annoys us. Or hits us (Truett).
As I lectured my kids about grace, I was slowly convicted about my own lack of it.
Here’s the truth: I am called to give grace because Christ extended grace to me when I didn’t deserve it and couldn’t earn it and was completely unworthy of it.
Grace is a free gift we receive.
Ephesians 2:4-5, 8: “But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved…God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this: it is a gift from God.”
Amazing grace. God loved us when we were unlovable, and he asks us to love like he does. I can testify to this more than most; I have made so many mistakes that I know I have no business receiving his grace. Maybe that’s why I am so passionate about giving it away.
Grace is a free gift we give to others.
Out of gratitude for God’s grace to us, we get the opportunity to give it away. But there is no way we can do that in our own power. Real grace is only possible with the power of the Holy Spirit working in our hearts.
At the end of my lecture, we resolved to get up each morning and ask the Spirit to fill us with God’s grace.
And it’s helping.
Our home (for now) is like a totally different place. My husband, who missed “the talk,” keeps asking what I said to turn things around.
I talked about being grace-full, I tell him.
Here’s what I’m learning: cultivating grace takes intentionality. It’s a daily choice to extend kindness to the people that make me the most nuts. It’s difficult, especially when I am tired, overwhelmed and crabby. But it is possible.
Here’s what helps me extend kindness to my tribe:
- Being thankful and reminding myself of the good attributes in the offending person.
- Trying to see things from their point of view.
- Assuming the best in them, instead of the worst.
- Taking a huge deep breath.
- Praying and asking for help.
- Spending time in the Word.
Friends, let’s be people that are known for our grace.
Let’s overflow with the love of the father for the people that least deserve it.
Let’s give what we don’t receive and extend what isn’t returned.
Let’s give grace.
As always, I love hearing from you. Feel free to message me or comment below and I would love to get on my knees for you. Let’s do this faith journey together.
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