Thursday, August 18, 2011

Free Pass

I recently posted on facebook about my daughter (age 3) getting out of bed repeatedly. I wrote, "While contemplating whether or not to discipline my daughter for getting out of bed (AGAIN!), I had a memory flash of my mom letting me fall asleep in the living room while she did her evening routine. Thus, the worship music is on, I'm doing the dishes, and Sammy is snuggled on the couch."

This, I believe, is grace. (Or an example of it anyway.) And a welcome relief, for her, and for me. I then posted that sometimes giving in is actually the best and makes the sweetest memories. I remember those nights when my mom acquiesced and let me snuggle in my sleeping bag on the step of the dining room while she talked on the phone or did dishes or whatever was required to put away the day. I don't remember falling asleep but I know I stopped fighting it and slipped into slumber while listening to the sounds of home. These are some of my most cherished memories and the ones that drove home the point, "my mom loves me". A conviction I carry with me to this day. And this memory was strong enough that when I recalled it, I changed my behavior.

I recently had a conversation with a loved one that was awkward, to say the least, and I handled it very badly. I was uncomfortable, and that came across in the way I communicated. I thought about it for days afterward and was sure there would be dire consequences. As I worked on calming myself down, I tried to talk myself into believing everything would be fine, but was sure that our next encounter would be awkward, uncomfortable and disagreeable, and I was avoiding. But, when we spoke on the phone next, something wonderful and unexpected happened. She gave me a free pass. Acted as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened and treated me with all the love and respect she always has. It was a lifeline and I gladly took it. Even now, as I'm typing this, I have a smile on my face for the grace she offered me and how it made everything better. It took a huge burden off of my shoulders, and the burden is this: All the responsibility is yours and you must fix or remedy the mess you've made. You see I was only considering half of the picture: me. I had my eyes on myself and it didn't even occur to me that this other person would respond with kindness in the midst of my failure. What a relief this was to me!

This grace I've encountered gave up its rights to hold my feet to the fire and instead made a way for me. I know there is a depth to understanding the realm of grace, and I’m still a student, but one thing I can say is this: Grace, in its truest form, makes an impact when you receive it on an experiential level. Obviously these moments don’t happen continually, but when the opportunity presents itself, and you take it, or I take it, it will be meaningful. So when you feel that gentle tugging of the heartstrings, that still small voice that says, “Grace.”…..give in. Offer a free pass and see what joy is waiting for you around the corner.

Psalm 145:8.9 “The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy and loving-kindness. The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works.”