Tag Archives: Grace

When a Fresh Injury Knocks Off an Old Scab…

Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.[1]

     My anger was visceral.

     A fresh injury had knocked off an old scab. My venomous reaction was stunning and disturbing.

     Distressed, I moaned to my husband. “I thought I’d totally forgiven!”

     Ron listened quietly and compassionately. When I’d calmed down, he assured me I had forgiven and encouraged me to walk through the process one more time.

     That scenario played out many years ago. I heeded Ron’s suggestion. I hope and believe the scab has healed fully and is now a scar.

This incident taught me important lessons about forgiveness:

  1. Deep wounds have deep roots, and the deeper the root, the longer the process of total forgiveness may take.
  2. God understands my capacity to heal from a deeply inflicted wound. The first step might be spiritual triage. God, in the way only God can do, may stop the bleeding and apply a temporary bandage. God knows when I’m emotionally and spiritually equipped to deal with another layer of pain.
  3. It’s critical I trudge through a process of forgiveness with each layer of revelation lest my wound become what the Bible calls a ‘bitter root.’
  4. Eventually, the scabbed-over area heals completely. The scab becomes a scar and a forever reminder of God’s grace and healing. My scar can serve to encourage another who is dealing with a similar wound.

Consider and Imagine:

  • If your heart and mind will permit, consider your deepest wound. What layers of healing have you experienced? What helped you recognize and forgive so a ‘bitter root’ would not develop?
  • Imagine complete healing from your deepest wound. How will the scar that remains serve to remind you of God’s healing grace and help others experience the same?

Prayer:

God of mercy and grace,

Thank you for the kindness you’ve shown me as I’ve dealt with deep wounds. Reveal to me residues of unforgiveness so no ‘bitter root’ grows in my soul. Help me exhibit to others the same grace you have shown me. Amen

May you experience God’s grace in your process of forgiveness and healing…

Sue Reeve

  1. Hebrews 12:14-15 NIV

GRACE and Starbucks…

Yesterday was my younger daughter’s birthday. Today’s post, entitled GRACE and Starbucks, is dedicated to Sarah, a wonderful daughter, wife, mama and 4th-grade teacher, plus a woman who exhibits much grace—and, like her mom, enjoys Starbucks!

     I know. I write often about GRACE! That’s because I never cease being amazed by the sweetness of God’s grace.

     I had a unique thought about grace while wrapping Christmas gifts a couple weeks ago. Let me try unwrapping the story.

     It began at a Starbucks in Williamsburg, Virginia last October. We were on vacation, and I wanted to return with a “Been There…” mug to add to Sarah’s collection.

     As is often the case, Starbucks was very busy, and I needed to wait in line. When my turn came, I placed an order—iced coffee for Ron, an iced green tea for me, plus Sarah’s mug.

     I pulled out my phone, ready to pay with the Starbucks app, when a lady standing next to me told the employee at the checkout counter, “Here, I’m getting that for her!”

     I have occasionally done a random act of kindness, but this was the first time I’d been the recipient. Several months later, the encounter still makes me smile.

     The mug was one of Sarah’s Christmas gifts. As I wrapped her present, I revisited the Virginia incident. Perhaps it was because it was Christmas, but my thoughts transcended the generosity of a stranger.

     Grace thoughts came to mind as I wrapped–cutting paper, taping, affixing a sparkly bow and adding a snowman gift tag: To: Sarah; From: Mom.

     em>This is an example of “First-World” grace.

     Over-priced drinks from a hip Seattle coffee company are excessive. Although I knew the gift would bring Sarah pleasure, it certainly wasn’t a necessity. My daughter already has a cupboard filled with trendy mugs.

     I’m glad God doesn’t withhold grace because I’ve been blessed to live in an affluent land. I sure don’t deserve such grace.

     But, wait! Isn’t that what grace is all about—the divine gift of receiving what I don’t deserve?

     Even after Sarah’s gift was wrapped, I couldn’t shake the thought of “First-World” grace. I’m aware of abject conditions experienced by millions living in “Third-World” poverty. I’m acquainted with the horrors of a little girl being sold as a sex slave because destitute parents can’t afford to feed her.

     My prayer following these thoughts was in the form of this question:

     Lord, what do you want me to do with these thoughts other than to give you thanks?

     Immediately, three organizations I know work hard to alleviate “Third-World” suffering came to mind. Go into your office and write each a check. I felt certain the thought came not from goodness in my heart, but from the heart of a good God who has lavished much grace upon me.

     As I placed Sarah’s Starbuck package under the tree, I realized layers of grace were represented in that one small gift.

     First, the grace-filled memory of a stranger who blessed me.

          Next, Christmastime reminded me her grace reflected God’s grace.

               Finally, recalling God’s grace led me to a gracious action.

     There is nothing simple about God, and there is nothing simple about grace.

     Grace enables us to trek through some dreadful seasons.

     Grace gives courage when our situations are terrifying.

     Grace nudges us to forgive grievous wrongs.

     John Newton wrote ‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear.’ Holy ‘fear’ convinced Newton to surrender his life to God and leave behind his involvement in vile slave trade.

     Then, there are times of sweet, simple “First-World” grace like I discovered at Starbucks. Grace stirring me to show grace to others.

     My Starbucks discovery illustrates that planting a seed of grace has the potential to grow more grace.

     As we enter a new year, I pray you and I will be recipients of God’s great grace and in turn, we’ll be givers of much grace to all whose journeys intersect ours.

Happy birthday, Sarah (and Karol, my sister who shares the same birthdate) & NEW YEAR blessings to ALL!

Sue Reeve

Grace Speaks…Beware but not Afraid

Reminding, “Beware, but not Afraid…”

     The second stanza of the cherished hymn, Amazing Grace, says,

’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
grace my fears relieved;

      The beloved lyrics in the hymn written by John Newton reflect his personal experience. During a violent storm off the coast of Ireland, the terrified, non-believing Atlantic slave trader cried out to God for mercy.

      God’s mercy enabled John Newton to embrace God’s grace. His conversion experience led him away from the vile business of slave trade. Instead, he began studying theology, eventually becoming a curate in the Church of England and writing a poem that would be set to music and revered worldwide.

      The kind of fear Newton wrote about reminds me of the U.S. National Weather Center’s ‘red flag warning,’ which is the highest level of alert for extreme fire danger. When the voice of grace reminds me to ‘beware,’ I imagine the divine ‘red flag warning,’ may be God’s way of alerting me—not to cause panic but to help me prepare and avoid choices that have the potential for extreme danger in my life.

      I was growing up in the church, fear of God’s judgment was often a tactic used to help control potentially damaging conduct. I’ve come to believe the intentions of leaders were good, and this strategy may have protected me from some harmful behaviors. But, behavior modification wasn’t enough to transform my heart.

     Grace is transformational.

          Grace declares God loves little ol’ me—simply as I am, just who I am.

               Grace changes my desires—transforms ‘should do’s’ into ‘want to’s.’

                    Grace reassures God is for me and not against me.

                         Grace promises God will never leave me.

                              And, Grace my fears relieve.

     I agree with John Newton. God’s grace is amazing! How sweet is the sound of this 5- letter word.

     If you are struggling with a sense of fear or condemnation today, I pray these simple words will point you to the promise of God’s Grace.

Sue Reeve