GRACE FOR OTHERS, BUT NOT FOR ME

Posted by Sarah Markley:

My to-do list piles up in little ink marks on a sheet of graph paper that I crumple into my laptop bag.

The funny thing is, my list is different than a lot of my friends. My “professional” items interweave with my “personal” ones and become indistinguishable from each other.

Return emails. Sign up kids for swim lessons. Make Kindergarten Dr. appt for Naomi. Write post for POTSC Write post for May Deeper Story – DUE TOMORROW! Buy supplies for Girl Scouts

And all of the what-I-want-to-do is lost between all the have-to-do. I never have time, really, to sit and think hard about my long term goals, about the spiritual health of my home, about the emotional well-being of my children or my husband. I mean there are goals and I do the best I can to take care of my family, but it’s all in the in-between.

I’m so concerned about simply surviving today that it’s difficult to think about or plan the big picture things.

Maybe I really am too busy.

“What can we cut out?” my husband asked me as we sat on the floor, one of us in tears, at the end of a “discussion” last night. “What is extra?”

“I’ve cut back on SO much.” I tell him. “The girls aren’t dancing any more. We only do one afterschool activity every week and…” I shake my head. “There really isn’t much to cut out, honey.”

Do I shut down my blog?

Do I stop serving at church?

Do I tell friends {there aren’t many} that I really can’t meet for coffee or drinks?

Do I just STOP?

Big sigh. I’m really not doing anything well.

I’m convinced that, while there are times to cut off the excess craziness of life, there are times of grace too.

We are called time and time again to give BIG grace to others. We’ve taken on the job of mobbing friends and strangers with grace. Admitting that people ruin us, abuse us and wound us we still extend {or try to extend} God’s infinite grace to them.

It has taken me 36 years to learn this.

There are second chances for my friends. For my husband. Second chances for my daughters.

But what about grace for myself? Do I stand full in the way of grace for my own shortcomings? My inability to do anything well right now?

Like a boulder in a river I let grace rush around me to my friends and husband, but I don’t let it creep into me. I don’t give forgive myself, give myself the inch and the yard that I give others and I don’t, by any means, give myself big grace.

But God is there in the heart of my girls when I get too frustrated to answer with patience and He covers all three of us with grace.

Grace is there when I bombard my husband with my own hurts because I don’t know what to do with the pain myself.

He is there when, because of the details of my crazy life, I forget a deadline or a 3rd grade lunch box or a doctor’s appointment.

And God’s grace is certainly there when I accidentally starve a friendship from neglect, when I drop the ball, when I allow the tsunami of my life to overwhelm me.

Grace makes up in all the places where I dreadfully fail. So maybe my big sigh can be one of relief rather than one of being crushed by life.

God’s grace IS there.

Even for me, a to-do list, long-term-goal, gentle-answer, and deadline-meeting failure.

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