Being a single mom with 4 active children really keeps me on the move. There is hardly an evening goes by that we don’t have something to do or somewhere to go. Many times people will ask me how in the world do I get everything done, and my honest answer is, by the grace of God. Most days I can muster up enough strength and attitude to complete the tasks before me, but there are some days, very few and far between, that life gets the best of me and I don’t want to do anything but recoup for a few. Last Sunday was one of those days. Me and my babies got up and went to church, and by the time I got home, fixed them some lunch and sat down, I realized I was tired, my body was aching from wrestling with a kidney stone and all I wanted to was rest for just a little while.
My attempt to lie down was futile to say the least. For some reason my precious children must have thought that my absence from the room they were in was an open invitation to be loud, obnoxious and a tad bit too wild for indoors. After 20 minutes or less, I was up, irritated, ranting, and frustrated. Totally throwing the insane idea of resting out the door, I began tackling some of the daily chores that needed to be done. As I picked up, cleaned and banged a few pots and pans around, I was baffled at the silence that echoed through my house, you know the kind that I had desperately wanted just a few minutes before, and my frustrations grew. My oldest daughter asked me to take her to a friend’s house, and I welcomed the opportunity to get out for a few minutes. After I dropped her off, the thought popped into my mind, “I am going to stop and get ME an ice cream.” I knew that if my children found out that I had ousted them on an ice cream run, they would be upset with me and deem me a bad mom, so my plan was to sit in the parking lot until every last piece of evidence was gone, then I would return home.
My destination was Mickey Dee’s and visions of a chocolate dipped cone enjoyed in solitude danced in my head. So there I was, sitting in the turn lane when I heard, “Go get your children and take them with you.” WTH! You have got to be kidding me. I sat there for a moment, ignoring the inclination, with the clicking of the signal light serenading me, and I begged for the light to change. This time it came across a little stronger than a suggestion, “GO GET YOUR CHILDREN AND TAKE THEM WITH YOU.” *sigh* “But Lord, you don’t understand, I don’t think they deserve an ice cream. I feel awful and they wouldn’t even let me rest for 30 minutes! I want to eat an ice cream alone with only peace and quiet as my companions. No, I’m not getting them” (and yes…I said that out loud!) Then the still small voice that I am so acquainted with spoke gently to my heart, “There’s lots of things you didn’t deserve Christy. Go get them, let me remind you of something today.” The light changed, and so did my direction. Off I went, not only to pick up my babies, but also on a refreshing journey down the portals of grace.
Grace: A favor rendered by one who need not do so. Indulgence. Unmerited favor. Getting something we don’t deserve.
Over 2000 years ago, the Creator of heaven and Earth looked down upon His creation and saw a people sick with sin and full of their selfish ways. A people He had made with His own hands and breathed life into with His own breathe. A people He had pursued, chosen, set apart, and set up tent to come live with. Yet they rejected Him. Time and again they turned from His ways. Time and again He forgave them and embraced them, a people that deserved only death and judgment. Yet one starry night, at just the right time, the God of Heaven sent His only son, not as a judgment but as a gift. The King of the universe, all powerful, all knowing, ever present, stepped out of His position as completely God, and wrapped Himself in the flesh of man. Grace wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. He came to live among a people who didn’t deserve Him. A people that would again reject Him, scorn Him and eventually crucify Him. He came to subject Himself to temptation, to be faced with the same trials that we wrestle with so that He could understand all of our weaknesses. The God who knew no sin became sin and offered Himself as a gift. The same grace that had once lain helplessly in that manger now hung naked on a cross and gave His life for you and me.
God wasn’t required to do anything for His people. His law had been given and the penalties of disobedience were written in stone. They hadn’t done what He had asked and He had every right to be angry with them. In His sovereignty He could have chosen to do whatever he wanted, yet Isaiah 53 says that it was all His good plan. Grace. From the sweet Christmas birth to the treacherous cross and on to the victorious Easter resurrection, it satisfied God to do something for His children that they definitely didn’t deserve.
So there I sat chocolate dipped cone in hand, in a minivan full of children who were laughing and enjoying their unmerited treat. With each bite, my frustrations seemed to melt away and thankfulness filled my heart. Thankful, that when I was lost and undone, God found me, picked me up, brushed me off and started me on the right path. Grace. Thankful that His love for me isn’t based on who I am but who He is. Grace. Thankful that through all my mishaps and mistakes, when I open my eyes each morning He is there to renew me and get me through the day. Grace. Thankful that at the times in my life that I feel the least deserving, God embraces me with His love and forgiveness. Thankful that through such a simple thing as a chocolate dipped ice cream cone, the God of Heaven took the time to join me and remind me once again of His amazing grace