I felt overwhelmed and tired and crunched for time and stressed and discouraged.
So I did what I always do under those circumstances: I started running around like a maniac, doing bits of one project, then abandoning it to do a piece of another. The whole time, I was slamming things and babbling incoherently and generally scaring my daughters--except that they've seen this so many times before, they're used to it. Which is terrible but true.
A few hours later, when I'd calmed down, I noticed a sticky note my daughter had written to me, mid freak-out. She'd posted it on the faux-vintage Ghiradelli canister that lives on my counter for easy access to chocolate-for-medicinal-purposes.
The note said, "We love you."
And that, mama, is what grace looks like. That is what mercy looks like.
My girls gave me what I didn't deserve, and they didn't give me what I did deserve.
Which is what God--the Grace-Giver, the Merciful Judge--does.
He loves me most when I am least lovable. And His love, like that of my sweet daughters', doesn't hinge on what I do or don't do.
"This is how God showed His love for us: God sent His only Son into the world so we might live through Him. This is the kind of love we are talking about--not that we once upon a time loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they've done to our relationship with God." (1 John 4:9,10 The Message)
"The LORD is compassionate, merciful, patient, and always ready to forgive. He will not always accuse us of wrong or be angry [with us] forever. He has not treated us as we deserve for our sins or paid us back for our wrongs." (Psalm 103:8-10 GOD'S WORD Translation)
I don't deserve to be treated this way. In fact, I can't deserve to be treated this way. There is nothing I can do to earn this kind of unconditional, lavish, generous mercy and grace. This is does not mean I have an excuse to be as undeserving as possible. It just means that I love God and my family not to get something from them but out of gratitude for what they've already given.
I'll be keeping that sticky note on the canister on my counter for, oh, forever.
To remind me of how much my family loves me and how much God loves me.
And to remind me of how to love them.
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Have you been on the receiving end of some mercy or grace lately? I'd love to hear about it.