Grasping Grace

Her name is Mia Grace.  In Italian, that translates "my grace".  In other words - "You will need to show her My grace A LOT", is what God is was telling me in naming her, though I didn't know it at the time.

We had a run-in after bedtime, she chose to disobey, she received consequences which would show themselves the next day.  She then proceeded to write how she felt about me for those consequences, and display them all over my bedroom, before finally turning in for the night.  (From what I've heard, this is a healthy way to deal with this issue, so I was fine with it when I discovered them later that night).  I thanked her for my "love notes" the next day.  Then God said, "you need to write back to her and show her what grace looks like".  So, I took each note and wrote back "I love you" on the bottom, then arranged them all over her room.
I loved this idea; I loved doing it; and I'm not taking credit for it because God told me to.

We usually define grace as "unmerited favor".  Eugene Peterson describes grace as "aggressive forgiveness".   That's what I felt like I was doing (and I liked it!).  Jesus did that for us - loved us when we hated him.  And, he still does.  I think it's really hard to do that for others unless we know what it feels like to be the recipient of it.  And, more importantly, He helps us do it.  We can't really do it on our own.  I am learning that the more we do this, the less depressed and grumpy we are.  He also defines it (in Romans 5:19) as a wildly extravagant life -gift; not just getting us out of trouble, but getting us into life!  Who wouldn't want to give this kind of gift to someone?  It's awesome.  God loves to give it to us, and the more we are filled with the Spirit of God, the more we love to give this gift of grace to others.

Tullian Tchividjian explains grace similarly;
"The only way licentious people start to obey is when they get a taste of God's radical unconditional acceptance of sinners."  (You may want to read that a few times - it's big.) This is a great parenting tip.  God radically, unconditionally, accepted us into His family when we deserved the boot.  If we can get our kids to understand the amazing, appealing, magnetizing greatness of God's grace by displaying it to them as they grow up; it can help them obey out of love AND really live!

Ephesians 2:4-5 tells us:
"Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us.  He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ.  He did all this on his own, with no help from us!"  (MSG)
I soooo need God's power in me to do this with my daughter.  Embracing her from knowing how much God loves me and shows mercy to me can help take her "sin-dead" life and guide her to the One who can bring her life!

"Grace, because God is putting everything together again through the Messiah, invites us to life - a life that goes on and on and on..."  Romans 5:21 (MSG)

Do you see it?  Grace makes us come alive!  It's God's gift to us, that if we grasp - taking hold of with all our might, and reaching out to others with that same love, will show us what it means to have life to the FULL!