We turn away in fear. We fear the heavenly touch that fills us up, that renews. Fear divides us as we are made vulnerable, hearts susceptible to hurt. We wonder, "Can I really trust in God?" "What if He lets me down?" "What if I trust and fall flat on my face?" Fear separates us but still the Lord beckons. We only need to take a leap of faith to make our way over the wall of fear. But making our way requires trust. Falling into grace. I'm not talking about cautiously peeking from the ledge to admire the view from afar. I'm talking about DIVING...like those trust falls you do when you're a kid--arms across your chest, falling backwards, trusting someone will be there to catch you. That's living grace.
There was a time not too long ago when I didn't fully embrace a life of grace. I treated the Lord the way we often treat a security blanket; spending some cuddle time when needing a bit of warmth and comfort, the rest of the time leaving it heaped in the corner unused, collecting dust. This is not an active, thriving faith. This is the rejection of grace.
It took a tragedy for me to fully embrace grace. My full body trust-fall came three years ago on a Tuesday in May when my mother, schizophrenic and desperate traded life for a rope, depression's end for last breath. My sister's words still echo in my ear--the phone call that changed my life forever, words blunt from shock and despair, "She's dead. She killed herself. She's gone."
These are the defining moments in our lives; the times when we are forced to confront what we truly believe. Moments like these strip away all that is trivial. The inane humdrum worries of the everyday scatter like ashes in the breeze. What's left is our core, our soul...soft and vulnerable. Open. Open to let God in. This is the gift of grace. Right there, in the midst of unbearable pain and the reality that feels more nightmarish than genuine we are given a chance to grow. Transform. Become more like God. It's a tall order, this invitation to a life of grace. There's no obligation to sign up. Only the gentle whisper in the ear that compels us to sojourn for a fuller life. Who will take the leap?
My grace path took time. Months of anguished tears sobbed silently into wet pillows, nights of wondering whether joy was forever lost. Eventually the pain gave way to moments of peace. The return of laughter. And something else began to stir in me. A feeling of empathy and compassion. Almost by accident I found myself doing things like giving money to the man on the side of the road. The man with the cardboard sign reading, "Will work for food." The man with face streaked, clothes crusted with dirt, who took my hand in his and uttered, "God bless you." The man whose hardship and pain I can't even imagine, who stood with nothing and enabled my heart to meet God. I yearned for more. Giving my heart away filled me up with more joy than I had ever imagined. God's grace, rushing into the gaps and pot holes of my weary soul.
I decided then and there that I wanted my life to matter. Not for me, but for others. By a force much greater than me I longed to touch others, help ease their burdens and pain. Nothing on earth was more important to me than doing God's work. It's hard. Emptying out the cobwebs of superficiality and pettiness takes time. Making each day count requires renewed effort and dedication. A life of grace is a choice we make again and again each day. Our daily trust fall.
"God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them... show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized."
Open your heart to the amazing gift of grace. Leave the dust of the desert walk behind. Take the leap.