I never really understood the meaning of the word until a couple of months ago. Since then, my life has been changed.
I always knew that grace was an "undeserved blessing." Something that we get even though we aren't worthy.
I knew that God was gracious and merciful (I always got those two meanings mixed up), and that sometimes things happen "by the grace of God."
The word has always been present in my life, but what I didn't know is that it's so much bigger than we can comprehend.
As someone who tries to be perfect at everything, I really struggle with feeling like I'm not good enough. This is a huge battle for me. When I make a mistake, I feel like I let everyone down (including God), and then everything goes downhill. I have a hard time getting back to the level of self-worth that is actually healthy and normal. It all sounds extreme, but that's the reality of what happens in my head and my heart - all because of one mistake.
The truth is, we can't let God down.
I first heard this truth when I went as a leader to a youth retreat. They showed a video where this guy told God that he felt like he lets Him down every day, and God responded "No, my child, you were never holding Me up."
This was the beginning of my journey towards understanding the depth of God's grace.
Grace comes from the Greek word charis, which means "to rejoice." It then eventually came to mean "favour" or "kindness." Some say that this word was especially used when a person of greater importance was relating to a person who was less important.
I find this to be so significant.
Grace means that someone who is 'underserving' is favoured, or shown kindness. An important person rejoices with someone who isn't supposed to be 'special.'
Isn't that the story of our relationship with God?
He showed us love even when we didn't deserve it. He's not just important - He's perfect. Yet He sacrificed something of such value to Himself. All because he loves us. He favours us. He rejoices with us.
So what does this mean?
It means that we can be free.
For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. (Romans 6:14)
It helps me breathe a little easier to know that. I am free from the bondage of sin. When I let God be part of my life, I am not controlled by my mistakes. I am controlled by God's love and grace. I will receive blessings. God will rejoice with me.
I am free from my struggle with perfection.
Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God. (2 Corinthians 3:5)
God doesn't require us to be perfect. (Such a wonderful relief!) All He asks is that we accept Him. We need to accept His love and His blessings, and then share that love with other people. We also need to accept the trials that He allows to come our way. We need to trust that He knows what is best.
I am free to be who God made me to be. I don't need to worry about what others think of me.
But by the grace of God, I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. (1 Corinthians 15:10)
We are defined by God's grace. We are defined by His love, His kindness, and His blessings. These are beautiful things to be defined by. Let His love shine through you. Share His blessings.
I don't have to always try to be strong, and I don't have to save everyone.
My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
God does the saving. He's an expert Healer and the Ultimate Saviour. Saving is His department. We are simply asked to share His grace. And it's okay for us to feel weak because that's the best opportunity for Him to work through us. We share His grace, and He shines. An amazing plan.
There are so many reasons why it is wonderful to be free. And what's even more amazing is that we don't deserve any of this. We aren't perfect. We are sinful. We make mistakes every day. But God chooses to lift us up.
He chooses to offer us undeserved blessings.
He chooses grace.
And He won't ever let us down.
We are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes,
If grace is an ocean, we're all sinking.
And Heaven meets earth like an unforseen kiss,
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest,
I don't have time to maintain these regrets,
When I think about the way
He loves us