While I wish it weren’t so,
I know that it wouldn’t really be grace
if it were as easily dispensed as PEZ candy.
If it felt good
and made me smile
and came as naturally as a hearty laugh,
it wouldn’t be grace.
It couldn’t be grace—
not the genuine, utterly needed and utterly undeserved kind of grace,
which is really the only grace there is,
because it’s the need mixed with the undeserving
that makes grace grace.

We call it ‘amazing’,
but it feels anything but amazing in the moment it’s given.
It feels grueling
and painful
and impossible.
It tastes like swallowed pride
and bitter tears.
It’s as exhausting as going the extra mile
and then another
and then another.
It feels like forgiving 70 times 7,
and turning the other cheek,
and kissing Judas right back.

It’s nothing like a dinner table prayer
and everything like a wilderness experience.
It’s the 40 long days and 40 long nights
of saying and wishing and hoping that I can do this,
but feeling like I can’t.
It’s the heaviness of one foot in front of the other
when there’s no end of the road in sight.

It’s enduring the heartache of betrayal,
the sorrow of loss,
the pain of deception,
and the humiliation of being made a fool—
and still locking eyes
and saying
‘I’m not going anywhere.’

It’s what sets apart not only Christ,
but also Christ followers.
Without it, we are but hardened hearts
and ungrateful, calloused souls.
We are blind eyes and deaf ears and unfeeling hands.
We are amnesiacs,
quickly forgetful of our own need and undeservedness.
Oh, but with it—
with it, we are extensions of His likeness,
reflections of His character,
bearers of His light,
glimpses of His face,
beats of His heart.

When we extend grace,
when we offer it—even through tears—
like a beautifully wrapped present held out in our hands,
our hearts stoop low,
remembering the gift that’s been extended to us,
and over
and over
and over again.


10 Responses to “grace”
  1. terri poss says:

    feeling like i’m in the middle of those 40 long days and 40 long nights.

    I am seeing the extension of His character in you, though. more and more. and there was such beauty there to begin with.

    I tried to comment on your last post but it got cut for some reason. what I tried to say was that it made my heart smile on so many levels. love you, friend!

  2. Stacey says:

    Lecers… Thank you. You have no idea how very much this word was needed today. It’s as exhausting as going the extra mile and then doing it again and again…. Love you friend…

  3. Nancy says:

    Beautifully said.

  4. Faith says:

    Oh my!!!
    So well explained- I could FEEL it!
    Ill have to come back to this from time to time.

  5. Alece~
    It took true “Grace” as you have traveled toward it, around it, and crawled your way Through it to give such a heart-lived rendition of helping to explain GRACE. It hits each person in a different way because we are all have our own journey we must travel to find our Grace!

    My Mother shared these words with me many years ago and although she has been gone since 2000, now resting on the shores of Heaven~~I can vividly recall the moment she said “Make sure you Always Turn the Other Cheek~~~but you can Expect to Get WHIPLASH! ” At the time she said this—I did not grasp the “full” understanding behind her words~~~it took real Life Experiences to fully understand what she meant.

    Both of my parents have passed on and I take comfort in the assurance of having two special Heavenly Angels watching over me. I will continue “Turning the Other Cheek” and when it gets truly TOUGH to swallow~~~I will pause and reflect on how special GRACE is!! Thank you Alece, you are truly filled with Grit & Glory.

    My prayers are with you. Martha

  6. This is simply beautiful, eloquent, encouraging, truthful, and profound. You have a wonderful way with words. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Jimmy says:

    loved this poem. Thank you.

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