Grace. It’s a funny thing, because it makes no sense. I like the saying floating around out there, “Grace is getting what you don’t deserve. Mercy is not getting what you do deserve.” Camp on that one a minute and tell me it’s not true. If I ever get a tattoo, it might say that. (Except I’m chicken and I don’t like pain and my best friend’s been at me for years and I still don’t have one, so… don’t hold your breath.)
I went to a birthday dinner last night for two people I love very much. But here’s the thing… One year ago, if you had said to me I’d be at one of those people’s birthday parties, I’d have told you you’d lost your mind. If you’d said I’d count that person as one of the people I love very much, I’d have given you this look:
Ah… But as my former pastor is fond of saying… “But, God.”
And I wish so much I could share the whole story, but it’s not all mine. Suffice it to say, I never saw this person as a part of my life again, and the night I learned they would be, I lost a few of my marbles. Bounced ’em all over my living room.
In the midst of me pitching a hissy fit worthy of any two-year-old, God spoke so clearly to me. If I’d truly forgiven like I said I had, then why was I refusing to be around this person? If I received so much grace from God, how dare I withhold so much grace?
And I kind of cringe at that question, because it makes it sound like I was in some authoritative position to hand out grace or withhold it. And I guess, in our lives, that is our choice, but it’s not made from a position of “I’m better than, therefore I extend.” It’s not a position at all, really. It’s an equality. A leveler. In a way, it’s a choice to love. Because I had always loved this person, had always longed to be loved by this person, but I had built a heart of stone around my actual wounded heart. And it wasn’t until God showed me that that I was able to let it break away. And less than twenty-four hours after I acted like a screaming temper tantrum baby… all I had left was love.
Only God can change a heart as hard as mine was. I didn’t do it. I promise you that didn’t come from anything inside of me. There is only, unequivocally God in this story.
Back when Brandon Heath first released, “I’m Not Who I Was,” I spent a lot of time with it on repeat, thinking about this person and how I wished things could be different. How I wished I could say I’m not the same person. “I’m so much more than the thing I used to be and I forgive you and I wish me now and you now could be friends.” Thing is, I never dreamed they could be different. I figured the gulf was too wide and my own part in digging the canyon was too immeasurable. I’m ashamed to say this, but I never even thought God could change those circumstances. Well, I guess a better way to say it is that He can do anything, I just never even remotely began to imagine that He would.