I’m so thankful for October’s theme of “Unity.” This letter is the fruit of that. In discussing the last blog, “A Softened Heart,” with Joelle and Sarah, Sarah mentioned the word “commitment” in reference to God’s love. What a great word! It got lodged in my head and led us here. I love being part of a sisterhood of believers who can encourage each other and help each other grow. GO TEAM!
So in thinking about commitment my hubby came to mind. The dude is committed.
He’s also detail-oriented, observant, and thorough. These characteristics crossover into our marriage. (You’ve heard “opposites attract.” Well, it’s true. Pray for the man.)
We’ve been married nearly 18 years, and in that time I have come to expect him to fix things. Basically, he fixes the things I break. Let’s just say he has job security. He can back up semi-trucks into narrow spaces and use a welder to make things. I bump into things driving forwards with our riding lawn mower and am currently sporting a burn from the last run-in with my flat iron. So that brings us to grace.
He’s good at extending me grace. Loads. Just the other day I questioned why he extends me so much grace. (He is long-suffering with this girl.) He said it’s because he loves me. (Good answer.)
My husband’s commitment to me and the grace he extends to me really became important in the years since our wedding when we truly began experiencing life together - weathering the stresses and uncertainties of farming, trying to navigate parenting, and me not wearing make-up 24/7 (meaning my husband gets to see the real me in all my dorky imperfect glory).
In the last letter we touched on God’s vast love, the one that drove Him to set a rescue plan in place for us. But there is more to this love story. It doesn’t end with the rescue, even as amazing as it is. The rescue is the entrance into growing a relationship with God through Christ. This is the place when real life and God collide. God is in it for the long haul. And God has lavished us in grace that we might have room to grow and exist in this relationship in the midst of His Presence.
I’ve heard security is a huge need of women. I can understand that. So we can take comfort in knowing our God is committed to us.
Jesus said in John 10:28-29 ESV: I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.
Now add to God’s commitment, grace. We often hear about grace in church, Bible studies, etc… It’s one of those wonderful Christian words that gets thrown around. It’s basically getting God’s undeserved favor because we are in Christ. Like when I was checking the lawn mower’s oil, and I got oil all over it and myself. I cleaned things up as best I could. Later my husband cleaned all the areas I had missed without getting mad at me. He extended me grace. How did the oil get all over? I don’t want to talk about it.
When I first began to get a real glimpse of God’s grace, what it actually encompasses and the freedom it provides, I got a little nervous. Won’t people take advantage of this and think they can now do whatever and get away with it? (If we haven’t considered this question or at least had the concern arise, I have to wonder if we’ve glimpsed the massiveness of this grace.) But think about this - The last time you felt genuinely loved by someone and they extended grace after you made a mistake, did you feel like doing something that you knew would hurt them or go against their wishes? No. When we feel loved in spite of our shortcomings, our tendency is to want to please that person and love them back. A desire rises up within us to want to do something that will make them happy.
This is the first time I remember ever thinking about all God’s attributes co-existing and operating simultaneously like God’s amazing grace in light of His commitment. God has so many wonderful attributes. We often focus on one at a time or one following behind the other, and because of that I think I missed out on something in the past. It’s like talking about how I like chocolate. Then later I mention I like peanut butter, the creamy kind. Did you know I also enjoy ice cream? Yum. But when I put all three together something extraordinary happens - we get a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Blizzard. (Hold on as I wipe a tear from my eye. It’s just so beautiful.)
And God, once again, has blown my mind. Let’s go there, shall we? Throughout Scripture it is said of God that He is unchanging, a promise keeper, and He doesn’t lie. So what happens when we serve a God like that who extends us grace on top of His commitment? Something powerful. We’ve been given room to grow in the Lord without being forsaken.
Are you feeling something stirring? Maybe a desire to breathe, dance, and be free in light of God’s grace and commitment? God’s extravagant grace isn’t freedom TO sin, but it’s freedom FROM sin. Shackles have been removed, and weights have been lifted. What happens when we cement this lavish grace into something immovable, something secure? We begin living out of and standing anchored in the freedom Christ died for us to have.
Galatians 5:1 ESV
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
God has provided a secure place for us to be planted when we join our life with Him, on the Rock, Christ. He is committed to the relationship and extends us grace in it. Freedom, security, and love are simultaneously present in one relationship. And through His grace, we experience freedom from sin and an opening to experience life in abundance with Him.
Committed grace. Grace-filled commitment. Room to grow and flourish in the midst of the secured freedom found in our Savior.
Covered in grace and free of oil,
P.S. Once you’re done with that blizzard, why don’t you try another flavor. Maybe God’s holiness mixed with His creativity. Or His omnipresence (His ability to be everywhere at the same time) combined with His humor. Pick your own combination to chew on. (Don’t tell me He doesn’t have a sense of humor. Have you seen some of the animals He created?!!! And do I need to mention the hair I shave off the top of my big toe. Funny.)