The Grace is Gone

A new friend shared an experience she is going through at work. After a season of sensing a change was inevitable, she walked in one day and “no longer felt the grace of God.” That phrase has stuck with me – mainly because I don’t know what it means. What is this thing called “grace”? Is it so tangible that you can feel it? How would it feel to lose it? She spoke of it like it was a physical presence.

With my “transformation” early last year, my old habit of justifying behavior was broken…it seemed almost easy, really. My old desires were gone, and I was so acutely grateful for the change in my life that there wasn’t any big temptation to guard against. The last few months, however, I have been allowing some things to creep in to my life that are keeping me distracted, keeping my heart from knowing him on a deeper level. How disappointing to see that I’ve been justifying these tiny temptations, and now they have a pretty strong grip again.

My struggle isn’t with anything evil, illegal, dirty, or hurtful to anyone. It is with things that I enjoy when I’d like to be lazy. The bottom line is I’ve been choosing these things over spending time with him.

My spare time has been devoted to him. He has used that time to nurture a beautiful relationship, establish a firm foundation, break all kinds of strongholds in my life. In this time, he has spoken to me. How could I possibly value anything higher than that??

Today (after another episode of choosing something over him) I woke up to a feeling I have known intimately my whole life. I was physically fine, but so…flat. There was a bleakness. Everything felt grey. I was irritable and I felt so lost. It hit me mid-morning that I had experienced the loss of something I’ve been buffered with for many months – HIS GRACE.

My pastor (Robert Morris) has given these definitions – I just rediscovered them today:

  • Justice = giving a person what she deserves
  • Mercy = NOT giving a person what she deserves
  • Grace = giving a person what she DOESN’T deserve

Grace is a gift of his favor – which is “the state of being approved or held in regard.” I found a scripture showing that he understands our temptations, and that he longs to wrap us in this abundance:

For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
– Hebrews 4:15-16

With newfound appreciation for this grace, I have responded with a “fast” from these things I love. Anything that causes this much of an internal dilemma needs to be removed for a time and reevaluated. Tonight, as I resolved and took concrete steps to follow through, I felt his grace being extended towards me again. His grace is amazing, a welcome covering of abundance, warmth, and peace.

Ready to Bloom

The dry season is coming to an end! There are sparks in the sky and renewing rain. It finally feels good to walk outside.

Summer in Texas is so STRONG. It just makes sense somehow that my own personal dry season would follow summer’s example, making this drought a little more exciting.

God’s words seldom make sense to a human ear. When I was prompted to find a new church home, smaller and closer to my children’s school, I was devastated. I questioned the authenticity of the voice, desperately hoping I could find evidence it wasn’t from God. I questioned God – what kind of sense does it make to take me from my church home, my covering, the place that has presented freedom and life to me in a way I never heard before, the place I know I have felt called??

Well, I blindly obeyed. I set out to find a church, visiting many online and in person, all the while with an ache in my heart of being disconnected from my home. And I did understand the spiritual need – the children’s program where we were going is amazing, but so big. There were at least 200 kids in each of their classes.

Last week, after months of futile searching and a continued pull to the church I left (though I continued tithing there and watching online), I was so excited to watch their Presbytery services. Did I mention that this church I continue to feel called to has three smaller satellite campuses, and that one of these campuses is closer to my home? No, because until this week, it was like it didn’t exist to me.

I took an extended lunch on Tuesday to go to the service in person, and instantly felt peace when I walked in. It is the church I love, just in miniature form. It is my church, the place my children and I will blossom and bloom. In hindsight…it is so obvious!! Sometimes I think God must be rolling His eyes in frustration. Or maybe the time is finally right.

I went to the weekend service last night, and felt a new promise: You will help build my house, and I will build yours.

Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it.
-Psalm 127:1

It rained last night. The sky mirrored my own electric excitement, this transition to a new season of growth and renewal.