A steady stream of supernatural grace flows from God into my life. This beautiful stream is so regular and so dependable that I often mistake it for my own awesomeness. Knee-deep in His graces, I quickly forget that this grace is an import from Him and slip into self-sufficiency. I begin to operate like the recipe for walking with God is a lot of me with a pinch or thimble full of grace.
Almost without fail, shortly after my regular misappropriations of His grace, God slows the stream down to a trickle, jarringly reminding me that all I am and do flows from His grace alone.
Yesterday was one of those days.
The new college neighbors we’ve been praying will see Christ’s love through our family rudely knocked on the door to complain about our hyper-active dog jumping the fence and proceeding to dig through the trash bags of post-party evidence. On a steady stream of grace day, I would have responded with something like, “I’m sorry we inconvenienced you, we are in the process of repairing the fence. Please forgive us.”
But it was a trickle of grace day, and my heart responded defensively. My internal dialogue went something like this: “Here’s an idea: put the superfluous beer cans in the trash can; that might help. And maybe you don’t notice, but my husband is out of town and I have three kids I am trying to keep alive, so the dog is the least of my worries.” With a modicum of grace, I choked back tears, managed to tone back my attitude and responded, “We have been trying for months to get in touch with your rental management company. I’ll try to do better.”
I guess I am going to need to bake some cookies to press the restart button on new neighbor introductions.
Then my husband moved the furniture around in the family room to try out something different. On a steady stream of grace day, I would have recognized that this was his high spontaneity needing an outlet and welcomed the redecoration. But it was a trickle of grace day; therefore, being the methodical, change-avoiding human I am, I treated him like a criminal who had purposely sabotaged the order and stability of our home.
Reparations have already been made on this one through tears and a much-needed apology.
A few hours later, the gaggle of neighborhood boys came over wanting to play, as they do on the regular. On a steady grace day, I would sigh, beg God for extra energy and reluctantly but faithfully open the door. But as it was a trickle of grace day, I acted like Boo Radley and didn’t even open the door fully for fear that they would crawl in to wreak joyful, boyish havoc in my home.
These are only a handful of the normally steady streams of grace God graciously slowed down yesterday to mere trickles. He does this periodically, I am convinced, to remind me how deeply I am dependent upon Him for even the most simple acts of obedience and the smallest slivers of sacrifice.
On days like yesterday I sit in humbled amazement of the truckloads of grace He dumps into my heart and home daily, even hourly. Because He delivers His graces so regularly, I tend to forget how amazing and varied His graces truly are: saving grace, sustaining grace, providing grace, pardoning grace, preventing grace and preserving grace.
After a terribly humbling yesterday, today I found myself singing, “Grace, grace, gods grace, grace that is greater than all my sin,” as my gracious father greeted me with yet another truckload of mixed graces.
And next week, when I fall into thinking I only need a thimble or a teaspoon of grace, I know His withholding grace will loving slow the steady streams of His grace to expose my squalid self-sufficiency yet again.