What do I do with grace?

This time last year I wrote about two illustrations that God walked me through over the past years that offered me just a glimpse of the story of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection.  I would love to share those moments with you through this link...

by faith and coffee April/2014 Her scarred hands couldn't compare

As we enjoyed a beautiful time this past week at the beach and took a few minutes to reflect... not just on the Resurrection story, but on our own lives, we are simply thankful... thankful and challenged.

You see, every time I remember the cross, Jesus' pain, Jesus' suffering, God's perfect plan for my salvation, I am grateful.  We've heard the story over and over, HE took our sin... my sin, so that I can be forgiven.  That fact overwhelms me with thankfulness that I cannot begin to express in words.

And then... I am challenged... as I try to respond to my own question... what do I do with grace?  The grace and mercy that have been offered to me, not because of anything I did.... well, maybe because of everything I did - everything I did and will do that could separate me from God - let's just name it here - my sin, my selfishness, my thoughtlessness, my pride, my disobedience.  Undeserved mercy and grace.

Part of our enjoyment at the beach was the fact that we got to spend a good part of the week watching our grand boys, and their parents, enjoy some fun time there, too.  I watched in amazement as each boy learned at some level to skimboard just at the edge of the ocean.  Each had his own strategy to master this skill.

Caden is six, the oldest and the one who always goes full steam ahead into any given task.  He is a natural athlete, so with just a few tries, he was on his way to many successful rides.

Charlie will soon be five, and he approaches a task with grand intention and serious calculations.  He watched a fourteen-year-old pro with a keen eye to determine just the right placement of his foot during his approach.  His thoughtful caution served him well as he begin to catch just the right timing for his mount on his board.

Corey, at almost three, was content to toss his skimboard and jump hard with both feet right on top.  He didn't see much "skimming" action, but he was satisfied to just hop on... as long as he kept his sunglasses in place for his ride.  :)

As I watched all three of these boys, I was so very proud of each of them... not that they rode their boards the same way, or that they were leading the competition in turns and spins (although that is coming!), just that they were willing to join the journey - to learn at their own pace, to watch others and learn, to see their goal.. and keep at it.  There were some tears, some definite frustrations, a little competition, and some tender moments of encouragement and even coaching among them.

 Do you see a parallel??  We believers have been given the same grace, the absolute forgiveness of sin, and the incredible love that God, through Jesus, offers us.  Are we doing anything with this marvelous grace? 

 Like Corey, we can just hop on board... thankful that we get to ride.

Like Caden we can push on with full steam ahead with our eyes and ears possibly missing an opportunity along the way.

Like Charlie, we may get a little bogged down in the details of the "how" we journey, so that we are unaware of the joy in simply walking along with Jesus.

The take away for me was how these boys did realize that we were not alone.  As the afternoon wore on, they began to stop and watch each other, not needing to be first.  Not only did they stop to watch, but also they found encouraging words to offer to one another... I heard, "way to go, Char, that was awesome!",  "Corey, you did great!",  even a, "Hey, let me show you what worked for me!"

So, friends, we have the opportunity every day in our homes, in our churches, in our workplace... hey, in the grocery store, to offer a word of encouragement in the journey.  So often there is sister... or a brother, who just simply needs to hear the words, "hang in there... you are doing great!"

So what will I do with this grace... because I am thankful, I will join the writer of Hebrews in chapter 10:23-24, because we have hope...

 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.  And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.

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