What grace have you been offered lately?
I shared last week a clutch of words on the depression that has been facing me down, trying its best to overcome me.
It was a hard post to write, coming from a raw place that hasn’t healed over, a place too rough to yet be exposed. But I ripped the bandage off and there it was, unable to fester in the broad light of day.
With the exposure came encouragement, sincere and soothing.
And then, grace.
First on Sunday from a friend who said she missed me, wanted to get together soon. I agreed. It’s something we talk about every Sunday, it seems. I take conversations like this to heart. I am not in the habit of saying anything I don’t mean, so every utterance takes its place in my mind and turns into a kind of balloon, tied to my wrist and reminding me, “Soon. I said soon. I need to make it soon.”
Every promise and plan and idea gets tied on as well, each call I want to make, each person pressed into my heart in need of a prayer, balloons floating around me.
The balloons can make it hard to see sometimes, see that life takes over and thus moves on. I swat at them as I cook dinner, as I look at the piles of laundry and detritus of weeks spilling over.
I felt it the moment I said soon, the weight of the word, the promise of it, and what I knew would be a sure disappointment as I considered the week to come. Soon.
And as I stood there, feeling my heart squeeze, she offered grace.
“I’m not saying that to make you feel guilty,” she said. “I really do just miss you.”
The thoughts I had of how I too often let people down, too often can’t live up to what I want to say, or do, or be– especially now, especially in my fight, in my recovery– were hushed with grace.
It was such a practical offering. I’ve carried it with me this week, picked it up and turned it over and let it sink in and smooth over the moments I have wanted to crumple up and discard.
What kind of a mystery is grace?
Hungry for healing I turned to a favorite book and found the following.
“For forty long years, God’s people daily eat manna– a substance whose name literally means ‘What is it?’ Hungry, they choose to gather up that which is baffling. They fill on that which has no meaning. More than 14,600 days they take their daily nourishment from that which they don’t comprehend. They find soul-filling in the inexplicable.
They eat the mystery.
They eat the mystery.
And the mystery, that which made no sense, is like ‘wafers of honey’ on the lips.”*
She is speaking of the Israelites wandering in the wilderness. Oh, in my wilderness, I am hungry, and in my estimations, I deserve no pardon.
But grace is a mystery that can fill me.
The responses to last week’s post filled me. One by one, on the day I published it, sweet words of agreement, of encouragement, filled my soul and quieted the nerves that insisted I was a fool for being so bold.
Not once scolded, or scoffed.
Kasey, who blogs at singleworkingmomswm.wordpress.com, wrote, “Now, you can move forward, and if you choose, with help, the spaces will indeed be filled with more positive shapes, intended or not.”
Eyes turned my way were not full of pity, but full of that mystery of grace.
And instead of looking down, looking away, looking anywhere but into the eyes that land on mine, I have been looking up slow, hungry for the grace I find offered there.
I look, and I fill.
I look and linger and the cold corners of my heart that had been shuttered are flung open to the warmth.
My face is turned up to the sun, and it heats me through and through.
How have you offered grace this week? How has it been offered to you?
*This is a quote from One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. She is found online at aholyexperience.com.