To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven – Ecclesiastes 3:1
It’s a post that has been written many times, by many authors, on many different topics. I hesitated to share as I knew it would probably be old news, but you know what? Sometimes old new is good news; and sometimes hearing about another person’s process is helpful in my own. I hope my season can encourage you in yours, whether the title is Grace, Trust, Life, Joy, or any other place that you find yourself today.
I find it hard to write about seasons that I am in the middle of.
There’s no pretty little package all wrapped up with an ingredient list and directions attached when you’re in the middle of it. It’s a walk of faith. A step by step journey of learning and growing and stumbling and getting back up again.
I suppose that’s why life works in seasons. There is no growth without change and change is not always fun. Change requires learning, stumbling and getting back up.
There is a lot stumbling for me in this season of grace.
What exactly do I mean by “season of grace”? I’m glad you asked. 😉
Webster’s 1828 Dictionary has a list of great definitions for the word grace. In particular, what I am referring to is “Favor; good will; kindness; disposition to oblige another; as a grant made as an act of grace…Virtuous or religious affection or disposition, as a liberal disposition, faith, meekness, humility, patience, etc. proceeding from divine influence.”
Growing in grace is something I always expected to be easy; of course, that was during a time when the lessons were not a challenge (funny how that works). Learning to be gracious is a lot harder and messier than I expected it to be and I seem to have continual opportunities to practice currently:
Do I respond in grace or exasperation when my toddler throws a tantrum because once more I’m mean enough to not let her eat rocks?
When things are not done correctly in a work situation, am I gracious and understanding in my handling of the situation, or do I have a poor attitude?
One that stretches me farther than I like is the uncertainty with Oliver’s work schedule – the dates for his most recent show changed 3 times after the original schedule was given – twice after the plane tickets were already purchased. I am a planner by nature; I like things to be efficient, well-organized, clear, concise, and done correctly. Changing a schedule is a simple enough adjustment when one works a normal 8-5 job; changing a schedule when one works out of town snowballs into many other schedules – there are airport pick ups and drop offs, babysitters, appointments to change, etc. It takes all of the grace I can muster to even be courteous and kind in my response when I hear that the schedule has changed, yet again.
And you know what? I fail miserably at this grace stuff, day after day. BUT, grace also means “the free and unmerited favor of God; favor, mercy, pardon”. In other words, every time I fail at giving grace, His grace covers me. When I feel like I just can’t handle one more “grace-growing” situation, I have His grace to fall back on. “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9
Am I good about boasting in my weaknesses? No, not really. I like to have everything together. I like life to be a neat little package that I can manage. I get frustrated with myself when I respond in a way that I am not proud of. The truth, though, is that I will never have it all figured out and that’s okay. I will never be The World’s Most Gracious Person, but I can be the best me that is possible. I can keep putting one foot in front of the other in this season of grace and embrace every opportunity that I have to practice.
My hope for you is that, in whatever season you may find yourself right now, you will be gracious with yourself when the process is messy – and extend the same kindness to those around you.
“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” – 2 Corinthians 13:14