Complete and Utter Grace

The title of this post was inspired by my pastor, who once reminded us that we are all the same in that we are people “completely and utterly dependent on God’s grace.”  On one hand, it’s an idea that reminds us, even in our differences, we are equal (no one person is “better” or “worse” than any other).  On the other hand, it reminds us we do fail and will continue to fail, and so our hope can be found nowhere else than in God’s grace.

Grace is a concept I continually struggle to grasp, so this post will be less formed than usual, and more of a string of musings and quotes.  There’s not much else to say beyond grace is “complete and utter.”  I’m kind of in confused awe and I don’t know what else to say about it.  I want to argue, “but what if I…?” and “but what about…?” or “surely not…”

Recently, I found myself in the middle of an intense conversation with my counselor, dissecting the way my experiences have shaped my view of God:

“I’m learning to believe in a different God–a God whose grace and whose love for me cannot be changed by my own actions.”

“Did you hear yourself?  Say it again.”

“God’s grace and love for me cannot be changed by my own actions.”

“Can you believe that?”

“Almost.”

In another conversation, my counselor asked where God was in the picture of me struggling.  I said I couldn’t really picture God in a situation of me being weak and messing up–why would God be around that?  My counselor reminded me of Psalm 139, which clearly depicts God being “intimately acquainted with all of [our] ways,” hemming us in “behind and before,” and being present whether we “ascend to heaven” or “make [our] bed in Sheol.” (I wrote more about this Psalm in this post: The Life-Encompassing Psalm).

“Character is who you are the dark. Grace is who you are in the dark, forgiven.” Donald Miller

My counselor has often reminded me, “If you can’t give yourself grace, you’re holding yourself to a higher standard than God does.”  In Psalm 103, David writes that God removes his children’s transgressions from them “as far as the east is from the west.”

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8: 38-39)

I happened upon a Nichole Nordeman CD a few weeks ago: her album “Brave.”  I have listened to it over and over a ridiculous amount of times… so you are going to see certain songs pop up in my posts the next few weeks.  For now, here’s a small, quiet song to wrap up my musings for now: “Hold On (Love Will Find You).”  I hope it will serve as a reminder to you (and to me) that God is present in your every moment, and his presence is always one of grace.

To hang between two thieves in the darkness, Love must believe you are worth it.
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