What does grace mean to you?
God’s unmerited favor. That’s what it means to me.
It means that even though I’m weak, and I mess up, He still loves me, and makes things work out for my good.
When we offer grace to each other I think of it in terms of not being too hard on someone. Allowing them room to grow, space to be who they are, forgiveness, and looking for the best from them instead of the worst.
This week in my study of Philippians, Elizabeth George reminded me of another side to grace.
It’s God’s strength.
Sometimes I get a little bit too wrapped up in the worries of parenting. I go to God, all worn out and wound up. I confess and worry that I just don’t know how these kids are going to make it. I can’t do all the things that the christian parenting blogs are telling me I need to do. “Teach them this, mold that character trait, require this behavior. And by all means, you must do a family devotional every night.” I can’t offer them every opportunity that could help shape their hearts and minds toward a personal life-long faith.
And then I’m so tenderly reminded of what God had to say to Paul when he was lamenting over his thorn in the flesh. God said
“My grace is sufficient for you. for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”
Did you see that?
Grace is not just God saying “I’ve got ya covered. I’ll make everything turn out alright.” (Like that wouldn’t be enough.)
It’s God assuring us that perfection comes when his strength is combined with our weakness.
When you take both aspects of grace; his strength in your weakness as well as his perfect covering over your weakness, fear of failure has no hold over you.
It’s important that as a mom, I lean on his grace to cover my weakness. But I can’t give in to those weaknesses and stop trying, knowing that God will cover me. I need to recognize God’s strength in me and allow him to work through me. This takes work and obedience on my part. And it’s oh-so-worth it to see what God can and will do when we surrender to his strength and allow him to work.
This study is about peace. If you’re a mom, my prayer for you is that you will find peace in remembering the two sides of God’s grace; God’s strength in your weakness, and his unmerited favor. Go in peace this week and parent those kids out of God’s omnipotent strength, and find rest in his unmerited favor.
Photo courtesy of papaija2008/freedigitalphotos.net