Tuesday Grace Letter:3

April 1, 2014

Kara, the writer behind the Mundane Faithfulness blog, has invited other bloggers to participate in a practice of grace- writing letters every week, each letter with its own focus. I do not know Kara. We live in the same city and some of my friends and family know her, but I have only followed her story in bits and pieces as others have posted her blog posts to their Facebook pages. Kara’s story is heart-rending and powerful and in the midst of her own suffering, she gives people a glimpse of Christ in her, the hope of glory. Today’s assignment is to write a letter to my Present, to Today… to Now.

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Dear Now,

It is strange to think about growing up. I have such vivid memories of childhood, both good and bad. Among many things, I find it hard to believe that when I was a child smartphones didn’t exist. And that we weren’t constantly connected to the rest of the world at a click of a link. And then I realize that I sound so old to say that. Which makes me laugh.

It is strange to think about growing up. I have memories of young adulthood, searching for myself, searching for my calling, searching for God’s will. Sometimes it feels like that season was just yesterday, and then I do the math and realize how long it has been since I was a young adult in that place of my life.

It is also strange to think about growing up during the recent several years. How vastly different my life is- not simply in practicalities and everydayness, but on the inside, where the white hot of the soul means a heart that has had to learn hard things. In the way in which I walk through and encounter the world. No longer held back by anxiety and fear, yet more aware than ever of the things that go “bump” in the night. No longer seeking the approval of others, yet keenly in tuned with the soul languages other people speak (or don’t speak). No longer interested in superior intelligence, yet willing to be all of who I am learning to be and become. The way in which I’ve come to know Jesus… our friendship always new and deep and longing and helpless all tangled up and combined into a dependency that is propped up only by Divine Hands. A dependency I continue to have to learn with each morning’s gift and each day’s trials. 

It was no easy task to grow up to this place. With my hair starting to grey at the edges, I wonder what took so long. Or maybe it takes everyone so long. Maybe some people even longer. And that could be the biggest grace- that we get to walk this growing up journey together in various times and places and events and happenings. Community forms on the way. Coming to places of assurance and confirmation of who God is and who he is making us to be. No longer ravaged by the whims of silly outrage and self-promoted needs. No longer afraid of being wrong because we trust the gentle Hands that will guide us to right. No longer holding back our ache because we know that strength only truly comes from our weaknesses, held lovingly and tightly in the arms of our Creator.

Growing up is hard. And yet it is a graceful thing. It is grace that causes us our hearts to grow out of callus and pride, and grace that sustains our maturing knowledge that maybe we know very little. And it’s grace that makes it okay to know so little and trust in the God who knows so much. At least it has been grace to me.

And on those days, those bad days, those days when I would rather return to old ways where angst was safe and I did not have work so hard to trust so much, those days when I would hope to be better but I am not, those days when I weep exhausted in my bed, those daily days filled with the mundane and broken… on those bad days, grace has mattered more to me than ever before. On the days when that sweet-faced boy beside me sees his mother fail, when I could so easily beat myself up for yet again struggling with unbelief, grace rushes in to sit at coffee with me, offering me cream and the sweetness of love. And I must choose to trust His grace or not. Most days I am learning to trust it, to throw myself on it, because I finally remember that the alternative is terrible. Most days.

I long to be elsewhere, personally. To move, to move on with my life, to move on from the boredom of today. To be back where I am most free and most useful and most fulfilled. To learn the delicate balance of callings and works and roles and relationships. To not have to work so hard at gratitude. And when that longing grows voracious and strong, grace knocks lightly, wondering if I am home, asking to be invited in to sit a bit and help me wait.

And on the days when I am as fully aware as possible of the fragrance of Jesus in my path, of heaven-light that pours into my world, of the newness that is sprouting up around and in me, those days, grace has become a playmate of sorts. Grabbing my hands and dancing around the living room with the laughter of God and the song of the Spirit, twirling and jumping and shouting and playing in unspeakable joy.

All is grace… all is grace, one of my favorite saint-authors writes. Would that I could see today as the bucket-full of grace left at my side day after day after day. The grace of friendship, the grace of family, the grace of knowing what I do not want to be, the grace of hope that creates new things. The grace of new and the grace of old and the grace of love that weaves through both. All is grace. All is grace. All is God’s good grace.

Including the grace of growing up.

Love, Me

To read other Grace Letters, click here.

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