i haven't been to my ladies' bible study group in ages. i miss the connection, the Word, and the fellowship of my sisters. i aimed to go this evening, if for no other selfish reason than to see walls other than my own living room, and so today for the first time in many moons, i picked up both Bible and study guide on Acts. i didn't end up going, but i think He knew what He was doing by kick-starting my cabin fever and nudging me in the direction of this group of women, just so i would pick up his word. He surprises me when it's evident He wants to meet me. what love is this, when i'd just as soon ignore him for seasons at a time?! and there, the words that jumped off the page: sovereign grace is gradual grace and gentle grace....divine grace does not trample...but rather it enables.
john stott is discussing the mercy of saul's damascus road conversion, and yet i see these words as testament in my own journey. from the day freshman year of college i tentatively asked my first bible study leader, "i know i should know the answer, but what IS grace?" to becoming a mom 10 years later, i've seen the gradual work of grace on Self, the kind that leaves me intact but invites His holy hand into my life. gradually and gently indeed.
i wear a sterling band as an outward sign of the inner work of wife-dom: when words are sharp and loosely held, grace reigns. when exhaustion embitters and grumbles, grace swells. when love is stretched 7 years long, sighing for the ease of earlier years, mercy is new every morning.
my belly is stretched and marked and my hair grey showing all my mother-work, and grace renews. there is no wrinkle cream to erase the toll of labor, but there is a wisening that rewards: i no longer have to try to be perfect. i can accept that i mess up (all the time!) and pray for sovereignty to win, and He will.
thanking Him today for His gentle prodding, for His love that is without fail, for His compassion for his children, and for good gifts he willingly bestows. Amazing Grace!