"Grace. Grace. God's grace! Grace that will pardon and cleanse within!
Grace. Grace. God's grace! Grace that is greater than all my sin!"
Today I am thankful for Grace!
The words to this old hymn have always meant a lot to me. God's grace is so indescribable. It is totally undeserved. You can't earn it - you can't buy it. Yet is is the key to our forgiveness and ultimate happiness.
I was not raised in a Christian home. My parents believed in God. My mom had gone on and off to a Nazarene church growing up and made a profession of faith. My dad had been raised in church and went every Sunday. Neither one really lived that life when I was younger. They took me to a church down the road mainly to Sunday School and the occasional "special" church service. When I was in the 3rd grade, in the Detroit School system, busing was adopted. While my parents were not prejudiced, they did have a problem with me getting on a bus to go 10 miles away, when I could walk 5 minutes to school. Anyway, through the prodding of my grandmother, I went to Temple Christian School - a 35 minute drive from my home. Not sure that all made sense, but I do know that God had his hand in the decision. Through that experience, I was saved at age 10, 2 days after my birthday.
Long story short, at that time, I didn't fully understand "grace". It wasn't until my late teens when I had walked away from the faith I adopted at an early age, that I realized how much I need God's grace and forgiveness. I was living a pretty wild lifestyle and headed down a bad road. One night, actually New Year's eve, while sitting alone on a staircase, very drunk and ashamed of several of my actions, I heard a still small voice. I knew that God was speaking to me and telling me that I needed to give it ALL to him. He would forgive me and help me to have a better life. I prayed that night, but wouldn't fully surrender for about 6 months. I struggled with alcohol for those 6 months and still to this day, I know that I cannot take a drink. I haven't in over 20 years, but that doesn't mean that there aren't times that I am tempted. I just know for me it is not a good choice. That's where God's grace comes in - I felt like the lowest person on the earth that night. I felt that no one could love me or forgive me. But God did! The best thing - he still does!!!
Over the course of my life, I have needed God's grace and forgiveness and I am so thankful that it ALWAYS available and greater than ALL my sins.
I am not perfect - never will be on this earth, but I am so thankful that I am forgiven!
Now to the other "grace" in my life - Grace Church!
In 2008, when I knew that my marriage was in DEEP trouble, I was invited to visit Grace. The boys and I had been to several good churches in the area, but just really hadn't found a home. I was trying to keep peace and kept hoping that we could go as I family somewhere - that never happened. Anyway, that first Sunday, I felt God's presence and knew that this was home. In the 13 years that I had lived in Columbia, I had never felt that way about any church that I had been a part of. Don't get me wrong, I had been to some great churches with great people, but never really felt that I was home. Little did I know that God would use my church to help with the healing that I needed in my life. Not just the spiritual healing, but the emotional scars that came with divorce. Satan tried very hard to convince me that I would never be able to "serve" in the church and that since I had messed up my marriage and "ruined" my boys life - I needed to fade into the background and just feel lucky to even get to go to church. Thank God for Pastor Brian and the many friends and other Pastor's that I met. God used them to allow healing and restoration to me. I still have scars and there is still pain, but God loves me and he is using me where I am. He has helped me to see that my boys need to put their ultimate trust in HIM (Thank God!) I hate what has happened to ALL of us - it was never what I wanted. But God's grace is ALWAYS enough!!! Let me say that again: GOD'S GRACE IS ALWAYS ENOUGH!!!! No matter what sin, no matter what pain, NO MATTER WHAT - his grace is sufficient.
So today I am thankful for GRACE!!!