Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Grace Upon Grace ~ Day Five





Welcome to Day 5 in a 31 Day Series

~ 31 Days To Becoming His Pearl~ 





"And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace."  John 1:16


Here is a thought to start the day today.

"Mercy is not getting what we deserve. Grace is getting what we don't deserve." ~ Pastor Rob

These are the words from our Pastor many years ago and ones that I do my best to remember daily.

They opened up a sea of understanding and made the Gospel come alive for me.

So much so that once I took hold of the grace message, I named my next child Grace.

God created me with a mercy gift that I have had to learn how to reign in, on many occasions and a heart that is completely bent on grace.

Grace is a word that's power and definition and meaning are so near and dear to my heart that I will flood you with dialog and thoughts about it if you don't have anything better to do and hopefully over a cup of southern pecan coffee.

The years of my life with the missing message of grace was one of the key components that kept me from a relationship with Him from many years.

This missing truth was what kept me believing that I was the oyster shell of my circumstances and that the gift of grace was reserved for the good girls and those who had it all together and for those who were blessed with a wedding ring on their left hand.

It certainly wasn't reserved for an unwed teenage mother.

I wore that scarlet letter on my chest for more than a decade.

Years believing the lie that a holy God could never love a girl like me.

The truth is this:

A holy God died for a girl like me. He rose again for a girl like me. He is seated at the right hand of the Father for a girl like me. He is the way and the truth and the life, for a girl like me.

And for you too.

This is the truth.

Now I wear His grace and that scarlet letter is buried at the foot of the cross where it belongs.

Growing up in a part of the country where there is a church on every corner, yet never hearing the grace message preached or really even demonstrated was incredibly difficult.

And even still. Years later....

I'm still bumping up against the missing grace message.

Like the older woman who told me fairly recently, that I could never be a member of her church because I had been divorced.

Really?? Sign me up.

I had to let her know in all manner of graciousness that she stood corrected.

I have never been divorced.

I had my daughter out of wedlock at the age of 18 years old.

Crickets.

I watched as she tried to adjust the missing grace message, the living and breathing gospel,  in her religious mind set and figure out a category for special people like me.

More crickets.

No judgement....

We've all had our moments.

Many years ago in ministry training there was a word that was used to teach us how to walk with
difficult people, I guess you could say.

"EGR's"

This stands for "extra grace required."

I truly knew very little at the time so I remained quiet, but my heart really wanted to
to stand up in class and make a public service announcement and say something along the lines
of this.....

I'm sorry, but aren't we all EGR's?

I mean.....

Hello.

The last time I checked we all have days where extra grace is required.

We are every, single one, either completely forgetting about grace, insisting on withholding grace or simply needing grace~ by the truckloads.

I don't want to label anyone.

But if you need to label me. I'll take that one all day long.

I want to be the one who contains extra grace so that I have extra grace to give away.

You can't give something away that you don't posses.

And to whom much is given, much is required.

Those who have been forgiven much, love much.

And maybe this is ringing true with you today....

I want to share these three little words to encourage you today.

The same grace.

The same grace that is made readily available to others, is available for you and me.

It isn't reserved and set aside for the select special people. 

It is our portion.

It is our gift.

It is ours to freely receive so that we will freely give it away.

It is for every, single one of us.

It is for the unwed teenage mother, for the family going through divorce and for the couple who have been married for fifty years.  It is for the father who feels that he is failing miserably and the mother who feels she is the perfect mom.  It is for the marriage that is barely managing and the couple who just walked down the aisle. It is for the the person who makes wrong choices and the person who is full of pride about how they are living right. It is for the mama who struggles with a strong willed child and the mama who never has an issue with her obedient child. It is for the woman who feels failure and shame for having to take anti-depressants and the woman who has never taken anything at all. It is for the man who just lost his job and the man who just landed his dream job and has the world by a string. It is for the woman who works the streets at night and for the woman who is home sitting alone. It is for the man who can't wrap his brain around the gift of salvation and for the man who has been in church all of his life.

The same grace. Made readily available to every, single one of us.

Grace upon grace isn't reserved for a certain zip code or a certain denomination.

Grace upon grace is for all of us.

We just ask and He pours. Daily. Hourly.....

May you feel the extraordinary gift of grace of the living God today and may you radically give it away to others.......


For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. ~ Ephesians 2:8-9




9 comments:

RachelRAdams said...

Speak sister speak! Share the good news! Bursting with smiles because of how good, truly good this message is.... want to shout this message from the rooftops so everyone can read it. It is just that good. Blessings sweet friend.

RachelRAdams said...

Oh and you know I love you. XO

Karen said...

Great msg. Not sure where you live in the South, but I have NEVER had anyone say you are NOT welcome at a Church, us Southerns are VERY welcoming, especially on a Sunday in a pew! I have steps kids and have ALWAYS been welcomed!

Sibi said...

Hi Karen,

Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment. I wanted to make sure you read my words correctly. I believe I wrote that she stated I could never be a member of her church.

Karen said...

Yes, her Church, a Church, the Church... that is HIS call and no one elses. EVERYONE WELCOME! Keep your head high! His doors are always open for everyone!

Forever 31 said...

This was absolutely amazing... I have to share that after I read this post I popped my earbuds back in to get back to work and the song that started to play was "Your grace is enough..." If that wasn't God! :)
I've been following your blog for a couple of years an have always wanted to comment but just HAD to today. Sibi, I would love to pull up a chair with you someday and have coffee. You have such an amazing gift. Bless you!

Julie Gaglione said...

Beautiful, Sibi...

The Mrs. said...

Just tweeted this. Oh lord am I dealing with an EGR lately! Hard to have any grace at ALL!!!! Have to remember this post. :)

Michele said...

Loved this Sibi. I really think you should write a book - a daily devotional for women - for His pearls. Love you my friend. xo