Friday, May 30

pure grace | a few of my favorite things

Dear friend,

Today you challenged me to keep my eyes open. You spoke about finding pure grace in the common things. How God is always trying to show us His love in the ways He knows will delight us. You asked us to share them.

I wasn't sure this morning. I've been stressed, and untrusting, and sometimes just plain graceless. I didn't feel like I had the right to ask for anything, but then I remembered this thing, this part about coming boldly before the throne of grace.

And it didn't say come perfect, or come smiling, or come like-somebody-who-has-everything-together. It just said come. So I did.

My sweet nephew stumbles in fresh from waking up, with sleepies in his eyes. He crawls into my lap and wraps his arms around my neck. He's warm and everything good and he smells like blueberries. He burrows his little head in the crook right below my collar bone, where I imagine my heart lives and he says, You. You're here.

And he does this one thing: he smiles.

It's been a heavy week. On Wednesday, a young, vibrant girl lost a two year battle with cancer right before her high school graduation. We went to the same church for awhile, and I saw her story from afar. I didn't know her, but our whole community was praying.

Sometimes the world just feels broken to me. Not unfixable, but really broken. That's what I was thinking about as I stood in line for coffee. The barista gave me a cup, pointed at the thermoses. The one with green writing caught my eye, and I began to lift the spout. I stirred in milk and sugar, and the taste felt familiar- warm and comforting.

My friend smiled and said, "I knew you'd pick that. It's from your favorite place- Nicaragua."

I looked back to see the green sign, the name of the country that shook the dust from my heart. One summer when I saw everything change. It was that summer I learned that God is present everywhere, uncontainable. He is mending things I couldn't ever dream of fixing.

I needed to be reminded today that the Maker and Keeper of our hearts is a precise mender. Even in brokenness. What grace, that this reminder showed up in my ordinary- not in stained glass, not at a conference, or at my church- but here, where I least expected to find it- in the messy sanctuary of my life.

I used to know this by heart- it is love that changes things.

Pure, self-sacrificing love is what mended me. This is the gospel that I cling to- that no matter our past, our deservedness, our own efforts- it is love that comes for all of us. And it is love that will persist.

One of my students talked about how he used to think he was selfless, and then he had a family.  Things are different now. You see, there is nothing a father wouldn't do for his child.

He pauses. I can tell he's trying to translate. After a moment, he opens his hands. This is a love I cannot explain.

But I know.

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