She is our first-born (by three minutes) and we put Grace in her name, right in the middle. It’s a word I spent many years circling around with eyes narrowed and arms crossed, a word I thought I understood. But that was back when I knew everything.
Those early days of walking confidently up to grace when I thought I had it figured out come back to me this morning. I shake my head, feel my cheeks grow warm. I have so much to learn. This grace that comes from the hand of God, this grace that is God, is not just a thing to be figured out or a theology to be dissected.
We put grace up on our two-pan balance scale and try to come up with something that will balance it out on the other side. But grace wins every time, stays heavy on the right, sinks hard into the middle of my good intentions and mixed-motives. Grace doesn’t budge no matter what I come up with.
To write anything about God and the gospel feels presumptuous. What could I possibly say? I tip-toe up to grace now, head bowed down low, eyes stinging, hands open. Sometimes I think we make it all a bit complicated. We have our degrees and our affiliations and we intellectualize our points. There is a place for that, there is. I don’t normally feel comfortable sitting there, though.
Small is fast becoming my new home. Sometimes it hurts to be small. We work so hard to be big, and sometimes we catch a glimpse of it. If they don’t see how big we are? Then we must become bigger. There are many rights I think I have and I hold them with both hands.
But Jesus came down. Became poor. Became less. Became small.
While I was in California a short time ago, it was an honor to sit down with Charles Morris of Haven Today to talk about grace. Just saying that speeds up my heart, because what could I possibly have to say? But we all have a story to tell and it’s one that ultimately isn’t about us.
We sink heavy into our own smallness, and it’s in that place where we lose our life. And also find it. If you would like to listen in while you fold the towels or make the dinner or sort the mail that has come to your door, here is the link.
Since it’s part of her name, I think of grace every time I call her. Every time she lags behind, skins her knee, shouts at her brother, reads me her book, runs to the neighbor’s house – every place she is, there is grace. It fits there in the middle. It floats around her as she plays. I pray she grows to know that even though she will never fully understand what her name means, she will also never be able to escape it. And that is a gift.