Sunday, December 29, 2013
To: Me / From: Me / Re: GRACE
Here is a gift I thought you could use. While it is belated, I wanted to make sure you received it before this hard year falls behind you, for you will need this present in the new year.
It is not exactly practical.
It did not make any of the "must-have" gift lists.
It is not too big, nor too small. It is one-size-fits-all, though it might take some adjusting on your part.
Of course, you can return it if you don't like it -- only I fervently hope you will choose to keep some of it for yourself.
I am giving you -- or us -- the gift of grace.
The other day, while reading your daily devotion, your eyes quickly scanned the passage that said you should become a "gift of grace" to your family and friends. Well, duh. You have always known that, even if you haven't always succeeded at it.
But then you paused because the devotional went on to say something you had never considered before: become a gift of grace, even to yourself.
Even to yourself.
That is something we are not very good at, are we? We are so unaccustomed to such a gift that we stumbled over that line, questioning if such a thing were even possible.
But it is possible.
And it is a gift you deserve. Stop protesting. Stop telling me you cannot possibly take what I am giving you. Yes, you can.
No matter our stumbles and mistakes, our trespasses and our faults, we all deserve to be gifts of grace to ourselves, too.
How do you receive such a gift?
You decide to accept it.
You slip off the cumbersome, scratchy, woolen cloak of doubts and slip into a fine, silken robe of grace. Yes, you will be naked for a short while when you shed your coat of armor, but do not be afraid to be vulnerable. It is who you were born to be. While our daily armor protects us, it also prevents us from receiving real, true grace.
When you are vulnerable, you must extend to yourself the kindness and forgiveness you have sought from others. Have you forgiven yourself? Have you been kind to you? Do you say nice things about yourself, to yourself?
Please nurture your soul, in the ways only you know best, whether that is through poetry or a porch sit or time with a dear friend.
You already have seen glimpses of the grace I give to you.
Remember how you danced at your high school reunion because, by God, you had lost your mother a few weeks before and you needed to dance, to lose yourself in music? You didn't care who was watching or how ridiculous you might have looked. You danced because you needed to dance. You danced and danced and danced.
That was a form of grace - to yourself - to celebrate your life, which moves forward even as you try to hold onto the past.
Remember how you were hurt by those you love most, but even as you sobbed at the utter unfairness, you knew you loved them still?
That, too, is a form of grace to yourself, allowing yourself to forgive and to love -- and yes, even to hurt.
Tell yourself that you are enough, over and over again, until you believe it, until you can toss the armor aside.
If you want more grace, you must peel yourself open like an onion, layer after layer. If you weep while doing so, all the better. Release whatever has held you back from grace. Peel, peel, and peel, until all the outer layers of you, all those past hurts, mistakes and misgivings, are stripped away - and you are the core of who you are, who you have always been.
Hold this green center in your hand. Clasp your fingers around it. Do you feel that? The pearl of who you are? That child who rode her bike down the street, not a care in the world, happy to feel the wind in her hair, happy to be alive?
This is what grace extended to yourself feels like. It feels like freedom.
It is okay to give this to yourself. I am holding it out to you. To us
Please take it. Accept this small token and allow it to be part of your life in the new year. Allow this seed of grace to grow, to carry us through love and loss, victories and defeats.
I am waiting for you to hold out your hand to yourself.
I love you.