"Mom, so many people have been so nice to us. We should give them all thank you cards." -A recent, out of the blue observation made by my seven year old son.We are just an ordinary family of four, but my seven year old is right. There is nothing ordinary about the showers of thoughtfulness we have experienced in the past few months. From total strangers, to church members, to acquaintances, to close friends, to family near and far, so many have given of themselves just to make our days a little bit brighter and a little bit easier. Now I know, first hand, the true meaning of grace.
All of this graciousness, has me thinking... Without a doubt, at some point(s) in our lives, we face times that force us to "acknowledge the limits of our abilities and the fragility of our soul (from Going a Little Farther, Hobbs pg.108)." Life just happens beyond our control. When our reality overwhelms us, there is no better medicine than grace in action. So, how do we take intentions and thoughtfulness and use them to reach out to others in ways that are most meaningful? Simply finding ourselves desperately needing prayers, support, and help can be stressful for some (not calling myself out or anything) in and of itself. It leaves me that much more inspired to pay all this grace forward.
Like I mentioned earlier, we have experienced graciousness from all directions- strangers, acquaintances, friends, nearest and dearest friends, and family. In the past, I have found myself holding back from reaching out to strangers and acquaintances for fear that I am being too intrusive. I have learned from experience, though, there are things strangers and acquaintances can do that can be every bit as inspiring and supportive as the those acts that come from the nearest and dearest of friends. I have also realized that the relationship we have with those in need determines how we are called to reach out with our acts of grace. The more intimate and established our relationships with others , the more immediate, committed, and involved our acts of grace need to be in order to have the most impact on aching, troubled souls.
I just want to share some thoughts about the graciousness that has uplifted our hearts and souls the past few months in hopes that it will inspire you in some way to pass it on...
So, what does grace look like in our daily lives? We have felt its warmth in the most unexpected ways. Grace is in the kind of hug that only mom can give when she drops everything to be there when you need her the most. Grace is a heartfelt prayer spoken aloud over the phone by a long distance friend. Grace is a spa-worthy pedicure at your bedside done with tender, loving care by your very own sister. Grace is the family who holds your hands and bends over backwards at all hours so you don't have to go it alone. Grace is a nanny whom you know was sent from above and brings sunshine with her each day. Grace is a dear aunt's weekly phone calls, full of compassion, celebration and hope that come from her deep-seeded faith. Grace is texts from your sister-in-law to celebrate all of your milestones. Grace is cards of encouragement from complete strangers. Grace is in delicious meals you do not have to cook. Grace is in emails to let you know others are thinking of you. Grace is in some of your favorite music put together on homemade cds from those who know you best. Grace is a basket left on your front porch filled with fun distractions for all five senses. Grace is a group of people who come together just to meet some of your needs. Grace is a marathon mile someone runs in your honor. Grace is play dates for your children, whose world has been turned topsy-turvy. Grace is a busy mom who finds time to clean your bathroom and do some of your Christmas shopping to help save your sanity. Grace is casual visits to catch up with long time buddies. Grace is good news, despite the odds. Our list goes on beyond the most carefully chosen words...
Grace is love beyond anything we could ever deserve or possibly repay. Grace just shines in and makes reality a little bit easier to handle. Grace is a person who walks in your shoes, if only for a minute, to anticipate your needs before you can even process them. Grace is not in the emptiness of spoken words but the fullness of acting on thoughtfulness. On that note, grace is not asking what you can do, but in just making the time to do what God calls you to do. Grace is a steady rainbow of prayers and action near and far, providing peace and strength in the middle of a storm.
On a side note...It will be no surprise to you, now, to know why we have decided to name our bundle of heavenly joy, Gracen. He is not even here yet, and he has strengthened our faith, refreshed our spirits, and inspired us to be active vessels of God's grace.