Amazing Grace – The Final Advent Story
I can still see her face. My youngest had been asking me, since she was five, to be baptized. I think this is a hard thing for parents sometimes. You want to let them follow their heart and what the Lord is talking to them about, but at the same time, it is our responsibility to make sure they know what it is they are doing! By nine I was convinced. She was thrilled. The elders at our church asked for a meeting with Astyn. And here we were, her mom and dad, her three older sisters and this young child of God. One at a time we crawled out of that Suburban, each looking somewhat close to church ready, and then I looked in the back of our big family mobile and gasped. How did I miss this? Astyn had on a dirty t-shirt and her hair was doing crazy things. The only thing straight was the smile on her face. Even the little pink glasses on her nose were slightly tilted! Somehow as we all cleaned up, powdered up and loaded up, I had missed making sure the guest of honor was dressed and ready! Major. Mom. Fail. I stood frozen and horrified.
But then something happened inside of me and I gazed beyond the mess. I began talking to the Lord in my heart. “Well, here she is, Lord. Here’s the one You invited. This is the one who longs to be part of Your kingdom. This is the girl You made. This is the real Astyn. And I know that You want her just the way she is. That’s how You take us all. That’s how You took me. Here’s the newest member of Your family.” She suddenly looked different to me. A smile covered my face. God had cleared my vision.
Grace is the fusion of God’s Promises blended with Faith, Hope and Love. I could never earn or deserve this favor. There is no cleaning up, dressing up or powdering up that can make me acceptable to a Holy God. I could never slide through the Pearly Gates on my own merits. When Jesus met up with a five timesdivorced, living with a man, Samaritan woman, she knew she wasn’t worthy to talk to any Jewish man, much less the Messiah! No modest clothing or quiet afternoon trip to the well could hide the dirt and shame she felt inside. Nothing could hide those things from Jesus either. But the beauty of her story…and our story…is that He loves us anyway – dirty, grimy, hair mussed, glasses crooked, full of sin and shame. Jesus took her into His fold That Day – not after she’d gone home and changed her ways; not after she jumped into that well and bathed. Jesus loves us right where we are. He gave His life for the Samaritan woman, for this failed mom, for the little girl sitting in the back of my Suburban…for you… He knows us completely, through and through, and yet, He loves us completely and sacrificially.
Grace is hard to grasp. I’ve been a Christian my whole life, but it took over 40 years for me to really get it. He loves me; not the fake me, not the one I tell myself I’m trying to be, not the one I let others see, but me… He gave His life for me. Do you know,Sister and Brother, that there is nothing you can or cannot do to escape His love for you? Do you know His love is abundant and lavish? Do you know what He went through to make sure you have a place in eternity right next to His? He longs for you, woos you, and I think He even smiles when He looks at His child all mussed up and dirty, because He knows us now, but he knows what’s coming next. He knows the plans He has for us. He walks beside us in those plans. He knows our hearts. He knows…and yes, He loves us completely.
Grace is His extension of love to us, whether we deserve it or not – and the answer is always ‘not.’ There is nothing to earn, nothing to add. Jesus made His Grace complete. He makes my steps lighter and gives me a joyous heart. His Grace keeps me going. It makes Him easy to follow. Grace saves me every day. How precious our Savior…How Amazing His Grace…
Be blessed by it today.