Monday, May 4, 2015

Embracing Real Grace

An old burr oak, stretches its gnarly branches to form a canopy. Morning released lucent streams of light which pierce the leafy clusters.  A predawn downpour made the air sweet with rich incense of lilacs mingled with just a hint of pine and cottonwood trees. Large droplets cling to blades of grass and the entire bird kingdom seems to sing together in some sort of new harmony, as if they are a well-trained ensemble, joining in with the string, brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments of a new day. The well cared for grounds of the retreat center were like an open air amphitheater of simplicity and complexity and breathable beauty. The days spent there were full of tangible moments like these, breathing in deeply so much of God’s grace.
For a week, I stepped off the well-worn foot path of routine and social media, to press into deeper places. So much that happened in these days I’m holding close and private and asking God what to do with it all, but I want to share a small taste of what is pulsing through my heart this morning. 

The throbbing force of these days has been grace being lived, not just talked about. 

Frankly I've spent most of my years confused about grace for many reasons. I've heard grace preached on extensively, dissected in word study bits and pieces and sung with great fervor–but lived–not so much.

Before you set off to write me a long e-mail, I understand that there is saving grace. The unearned and undeserved gift of salvation that Jesus extends to anyone who will take from His hand, the salvation He died for us to have.

That is foundational truth that I long for everyone to embrace. However I desire to live grace, so that people can see what it looks like, not read about it and define it. 

If you have read here very long, you may know that one of my passions is to actually live in response to the truths I say I believe. I un-apologetically believe, if that doesn't happen, I'm only a religious person talking about Jesus, instead of a grace-filled person living like Jesus. 

So with that little sermon-ette out of the way, I want to share a few things that I'm hanging onto. Somethings I wrote down in response to what I heard others sharing and some things were most likely someones words. I'd love to proper credit to all. I encourage you to go here to meet the speakers from Jumping Tandem and visit them and their words. Or go here to meet the beautiful woman who God has used to draw us together. 

Here are a few thoughts on grace. (Please. Please. A word of caution? Don't allow the familiarity of that word, to take away the deep truth of it.)

Grace is everywhere, even where you are right now. This may sound like a nice play on words, but I meet and talk to people all the time who don't believe that grace is for them. It's for each of us and it is for this moment if we will accept it. 

Grace often reveals itself in retrospect. So true in that?! How often I look back and see God's grace in things I didn't understand at the time.

God's grace is an invitation to e-x-t-e-n-d grace. 

God's grace is not only saving, it is transforming, especially when we extend it to those who we want to withhold it from.  

There is grace in.... gut deep, throw your head back, make funny faces and snort, kind of laughter.  (My take on the words of Amanda Hill)

Grace is being truly known and seen and still loved. -Oh there are some people who need to repeat that sentence slowly!

Grace is received best by the broken.  

When we extend grace, we become a refuge in a world that needs more grace-givers.

Grace is to be our response to the people and circumstances around us. 

Grace isn't only God's gift to us, it's our gift to others, one grace-choice at a time.

Grace is our spiritual heritage and when we give it to others, it becomes our legacy. 

Now, on my worse day I understand the definition of grace, on my best day I live it. 

The fact about grace? How we extend it or withhold it, tells us how much we understand it.  

In the Bible, Jesus was always extending grace to those who were unseen, passed by, and rejected.  That is the example He gave us. So it begs the question. Who do we pass by, ignore, reject?

Grace doesn't see the skin that someone wears.  

Grace is the infinite do-over. Michelle DeRusha

Grace renames the rejected and scorned, the abused and abandoned. 

Grace is God's favor. Favor is Gods abundant and extravagance gift. Not just in eternity, but in the now part of life. I'm embracing this kind of grace and more...... –I want to live like that.

And a song that pierces my heart.


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© Rhonda Quaney