Thursday, March 17, 2016

Tons of Grace...

I was racing to meet my In-laws, who were returning my 2 'Littles' to me after having them for a sleepover.  I had left Jon at home with the rare opportunity to have a few hours of quiet in the house that he desperately needed.  His seminary classes are intense this semester, so any moment of silence and space for study time is golden.  My in-laws and I had found a great "halfway point" between our houses, and on this day, I was running late to our meeting place - the Bed, Bath and Beyond parking lot.  I pulled in and searched for their jeep.  I couldn't find it.  Whew!  I beat them here!  As I pulled into a spot to wait, I began to read through some emails and scroll Facebook to pass the time.  After a little while, I decided to text my mother-in-law to let her know I was here, but to take her time. (I know wrangling 2 Littles is a feat of its own.)  That's when I saw it.  The last text that was sent between us.  "We will drive the Littles to your house at 1:00." Oh. Crap.  I didn't read that text well the first time.  You can't skim over texts, Deanna!  I'm at the wrong place!  I just drove 25 minutes for nothing.  JON IS HOME FOR INTENTIONAL STUDY TIME AND 2 LITTLES ARE ON THEIR WAY!  I quickly called Jon's cell.

Jon: Hey babe.
Me: Um, hey.  Are you home alone?
Jon: Yup.  Why?
Me: Well, I'm sitting here at the "meeting place" to get the Littles... except I just re-read the text and your parents actually said they'd drive the Littles all the way to our house instead. I am so sorry, but they're going to be there any minute.  I obviously didn't read the text closely.  I've just been a mess lately.  I forgot to run that one errand yesterday, and I haven't sent that letter I said I would, and..
Jon: (interrupting my rant) Babe, I have tons of grace for you.  Tons of grace.

That's where this story ends.  Oh, of course the day continued on and there were 2 busy Littles and afternoon baseball practice and dinner on the run.  But nothing mattered after those 3 words.  Tons of grace.  I have tons of grace for you.  Has anyone ever said that to you?  It stops you in your tracks.  Quite honestly, it's been 2 weeks since that moment, and I still haven't gotten it out of my head.

We live in a day when grace is scarce.  You messed up?  I'm done.  You disagree with me? Let's battle it out on social media.  You let me down?  You're cut off.  These words, this phrase... tons of grace... it is counter cultural.  Oh sure, we extend grace at times.  But let's be honest.  Most of the time we dabble in grace.  A little here. A touch there.   Not too much though, lest they miss the point that I'm HIGHLY offended.  Not too much though, lest they think they're off the hook.

And if we're honest, the hardest people to extend grace to, are those closest to us.  (Read: often times, family.)   You know who I have tons of grace for?  Neighbors.  Friends.  Other people's kids.  But if my kids leave their backpack in the middle of the family room one more blasted time!??!  Or my husband forgets that thing he pledged and promised to do?!?  It's on like donkey kong!  That's probably why Jon's words struck me so much.  The one that's closest to me? The one I probably fail the most? THAT person has TONS of grace for me?  It's ridiculously overwhelming.

Who do you have grace for?  Who don't you have grace for?  Where might you find an opportunity to extend tons of grace?  I promise you, the opportunities are there.  A spouse running late.  A friend who flaked. Again.  A neighbor who is too loud.  A child who did that specific thing you said not to ever do.  A driver who cut you off.  A grocery checker who is slow.  A waiter who messed up your order.  Tons of grace. Tons of grace.

2 weeks ago, I felt like God used Jon to invite me into a "tons of grace" type of living.
I'm up for the challenge. Are you?

Let there be GRACE on Earth and let it begin with [God in] me.  :)