The Practice of Grace

The Practice of Grace.

Constance…I am in tears right now (I know, I know, I can hear you sigh and hear your eyes roll and say “What’s new, Charissa!!”  giggle…always in tears)…

but it is true, I am.  Because this devotion by Margaret Manning is about grace.  And as you know, I picked that for my real name.  Charissa…grace.  Grace…grace.

Grace for me has always been about the power to do what God requires.  It is the power given freely to us, and it is given to us regardless of what we “deserve”.  And this power has two vital expressions:  the power to overcome the challenges we face in our lives, and the power to be forgiven for the ways we fall short morally and spiritually, for the times we hide and cower in fear instead of walking with our heads high and our eyes clear, for the times we are petty and cruel, or mean and insensitive, or dull and totally unaware of our blundering tromping of toes and hurting of hearts…

Grace.  A golden coin with a Heads and a Tails, spent as needed, and replaced as soon as it is spent.

Wanna hear something amazing about Grace?  A writer long ago was inspired by Mama to tell us this:  everywhere sin is and triumphs, Grace is as well, and is there in quantities and amounts that increase in availability exponentially relative to the presence of sin in those moments and places!  If there are 10 “sin units”, then there are 10 x 10 Grace units!  If there are a hundred sin, there is a hundred times hundred grace…and so on!  The more sin there is, the more grace there is too…but not just coin by coin, but gold mine of grace for farthing of sin and diamond mine of grace for shilling of sin!!!

It’s just like light:  the greater the darkness, the more power even one tiny light has!

But Margaret brought out something that was soo salient to me right now, right here…in the midst of extreme anxiety and distress and inner turmoil that really pushes hard against me to give up and leave forever…she spoke of Grace as a way of life!  OH!  How my spirit BURNS with those words!!!!

Grace…as a way of life.  The way of Grace.

And that is why I am crying.  In the midst of all the absolute falling apart of everything (except for me and my darling, ddh, and a few friends who know who they are cus I told them), I found myself looking at the betrayal, the accusation, the defamation, abandonment, judgement and malicious savage written and verbal attacks…looking at all that I “once had” disappear and in its place piles of pain and heaps of hatred…I had fixed my eyes on that.

But Constance…am I not gifted with opportunity most miraculous and glorious?  Seriously:  for one who has prayed for decades to be a person of grace and mercy, how can this come to pass without opportunity?  And thus the onslaught…yes?

Grace as a way of life…the way of Grace.  Because of her article, my eyes are lifted up again and onto the source of Grace, the one who’s Name is Grace.

Here is the takeaway for me, to whet your appetite:

If the grace-full life of Christ is the intended goal for those who claim to follow him, each day presents the opportunity to practice—to grow in the very grace Christ embodies. Instead of fear, there is empathy and hope. Instead of pride, there is humility and hospitality. Instead of bitterness and resentment, there is forgiveness and laying down one’s life. There is always a choice. And thankfully, there is always one who extends flawlessly the very grace we need ourselves.

I am in the oven.
Baking in the heat.
But I am also becoming a loaf of the bread of Grace.
May Grace ever abound in me and thru me and add to the superabounding of grace wherever wrong is present.

Charissa Grace