God Gives Grace
God’s grace is like the best chocolate I have ever had, sweet and extravagant, always leaving me hungry for more. It smoothes over my rough imperfections and gritty days. Grace gives me a fresh new day, hour or minute and God allows me to have as many do-overs as I need. He never gets tired of second chances. He does not condemn me for the way I limp through life at times, wandering aimlessly through my own misperceptions. Like a loving father, he holds out his hand and gently says, “let’s try that again.” Knowing me intimately, he has confidence that I will keep reaching for him until my heart becomes more and more like his. Eventually gentleness, humility, love and kindness become my natural way of responding, even toward the difficult people in my life.
God’s Grace in My Life
Some days life just seems to loose its colour and I find myself like a beggar with a bowl, “sitting on the corners of life holding up my emptiness, aching to be filled.” (Sheila Walsh The Heartache No One Sees). For a while I become a workaholic, “runaholic”, whatever “aholic” so I don’t have to face the bruising in my heart. I strive and strain to avoid looking under the hood to see what is wrong inside.
But when I finally stop from pure exhaustion and pick up my pen to write in my journal, peace comes in like a gentle tide. God speaks words of life and I write and write his soothing words on the page and life moves from mundane and empty to full and rich. I’m not sure why it takes so long for me to come to God and let him fill me afresh with his love. I can’t count the number of times he has been a last resort. I do a million things before I finally give in and let him heal the holes in my spirit. Without his pure love nothing will satisfy–no sensation, achievement or relationship will be enough to fulfill me, because the empty places within are meant to be filled by him. Anything else is second rate and unsatisfying.
Gratefulness is the Balm Needed for Dissatisfaction
Today as I read Sheila Walsh’s The Heartache No One Sees, I came across a story she told called “The Tale Of The Boxes”:
“In a land far away, over vast oceans and through dark green forests, lived two sisters. They lived in cottages, side by side. They had lived there all their lives and knew no other life. Every morning they would sit together on the stump of an old oak tree that once offered shade but now invited conversation. They would talk about their hopes and dreams. Nothing much changed from day to day, but they enjoyed the companionship they shared. Then one morning, something changed. Both sisters found a gift box on their front doorsteps and, with the boxes in hand, hurried to meet at the oak tree. “Look, sister,” one began. “Look at what I found on my doorstep this morning. She held up her box. “I have one too,” the other sister added. “But unfortunately my box is empty.” “Yes, my box is empty,” the first sister said. “But I will treasure it.” “There is nothing to treasure,” her sister replied. “I will sit mine on the doorstep each night and see if by morning it has been filled.”
“A year passed. The sisters’ experiences with the gifts were worlds apart. One sister had used her box in the spring to gather flowers, in the summer to pick berries; in the fall she filled it with leaves of gold, umber, and scarlet; and in the winter, a single candle stood in the box and added its soft, warm light to the long, dark hours. The other sister had a disappointing year. Each morning she looked to see if her box had been filled. It was always empty. After some time she stopped looking and never knew that the blustery winds of fall had carried the box away one night. For one sister, the box was filled with hope and promise. For the other, the box was simply empty. She saw nothing beautiful or useful in the gift, and it never crossed her mind to put anything in it.”
Sometimes when life seems dull and boring, I need to remind myself to be a treasure seeker. I have a choice about whether I intentionally fill my box with beauty, accepting God’s gifts, love and grace, or whether I remain empty, frustrated, disappointed and shriveled up. The choice is up to me.
“Your eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light.” Matthew 6:22-23