I was, yet again, moved and shaken by one of Jen Hatmaker's recent posts about grace. Each new line was wonderful, building me up with strength and humbling me to be a more graceful and gracious person. I desperately need others to bestow grace upon me and I must learn to give more grace to others. I felt good at the end. Then I did something I rarely do on someone else's blog. I read the comments.
I could relate to the first few posters who were grateful for the blog as a whole, and really needed the reminder. Then there was the response of a young mother. Her's was different. It was a prayer that nearly brought me to tears.
"Grace for my husband, who sleeps through the cries of our new babe. Grace for my babe, who cries when I wish she was sleeping. Grace for me, who cries and cries. Less tears would be nice, but more grace will be better."
There are many emotions wrapped up in this plea. The fact that in her complete and utter exhaustion/helplessness/misery she is praying first for others. Beautiful.
"Lord make me this strong in my moments of weakness. When everything hurts, when I'm exhausted, please give me even 1/100th of this faith and dependence on you."
I imagine my wife praying this humble prayer over and over. Namely the first sentence, because I don't wake up to the baby monitor. I snooze multiple times every morning. I snore. I am the worst possible bed companion for a young mother, and now that I realize it fully I feel awful. I really do.
I hope grace is what Joy is praying for me, not a terrible virus or the loss of my vocal chords through which I would no longer be able to snore. I really hope she wants grace for me. I desire it. I need it.
The longer I thought about this hope for grace, my resistance to offering grace became terribly apparent. It was an ugly realization and I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I am the least gracious person alive today. (Ebeneezer Scrooge held the title before me.) Wounds from the past seem to stay fresh for far too long, and my willingness to forgive seems to be fading.
So, like Jen, I am pledging to offer more grace.
To My Wife
There is no one in this world who deserves more of my love, time, devotion and grace than my wife. I committed all of this to her. Not just when I want to, or when I remember. I promised her everything all the time. And I now know that if I don't give her all of the grace, she doesn't get all of my love or devotion either. The grace comes first so she can receive all that I've committed.
So, my earnest effort will be to offer grace at every turn. Yes, I'm a failure and will continue to forget. But if I want to be given grace I have to give it first.
To the church
I've kept certain wounds open for far too long, and a few of them are from the church and people of the church. I now realize that I held you to a standard that I didn't hold myself to. While I am convicted of the necessity of Christ's body working together to bring his love to this world, I am not convinced that the church I know is doing it well. So, I'm going to ask for your grace as I continue to search for the way God would have his church function in this world today. I'm going to continue to ask a lot of questions and second guess every gut reaction.
I am committed to be more gracious to you, letting my love for Christ be the language through which I communicate, not speaking through the veiled pain of old wounds.
These are my new commitments.
About 3 years ago I went to a tiny tattoo parlor in Marble Falls, TX over my lunch hour and had the only guy there, who I assume was the artist, put the word "remember" on my right wrist. Simple. Remember. At the time it was a reminder I'd see constantly of who I am as a Christian, but it's been useful over the years because I can remind myself of other things as well. Now, it will be a reminder of grace. Grace I've received and grace that I am committed to giving. Remember grace.