I’m excited to share with you a grace story by Kristan Shields. She may tell you she doesn’t craft words well, but let me tell you that she speaks them to people faithfully! She is free with words of love and encouragement to the people in her life. And it teaches me. I love her story because it’s a simple story of grace. Not this extravagant struggle that required extravagant grace….but a very normal struggle that so many hearts will connect to. And the environment of grace God provided for her was simple…and yet isn’t ALL grace kind of extravagant?
My dear friend, Lori, posed a question. She asked, “When have you received grace? Can you tell that story?” So, I prayed, thought, and read. Then, I encouraged some of my friends to participate. People who craft words better than me. People who have, what I consider, amazing stories of grace. I, continued, to pray, to think, and to read. This is what came to me.
I learned a lesson a few years back. It is, if you notice something in someone that may edify them, lift their spirit, or point to God working in their life, TELL THAT PERSON. Only God knows what those words will mean for the other. I try to live this out every day. I do it publicly, privately, and even sometimes anonymously. I feel obedient to The Lord by this service. Now that you know a bit about me, here’s the story.
The holidays were over, my break came to a close, my kids were back in their routine, and us parents were back in ours. January was here. In full force January was here. My work was so busy and demanding of my time that I did what I rarely do, I let it seep into all my hours. I was spending nights, weekends, breaks, and even my own sick days to pay someone else to teach my class so I could complete the amount of work I had looming over me. It consumed me. I was overextended. My family got my left overs. My friends got limited communication. I had no room for others. My thoughts, my energy, and my life was consumed with my work. It was messy. It was lonely. It was frustrating.
At work I felt under appreciated and irritable. At home I felt inadequate and like I was going thru the motions. It was awful. Why didn’t people notice all that I was doing? Why didn’t I get help when I needed it? Doesn’t every one see the effort I’m making? I felt like I was failing and I don’t like to fail. January was terrible. What a way to start a new year, huh? I was stuck in a storm and was tossed around mercilessly.
At this point you might say, what about your grace story? You derailed a bit…
Well, grace for me came on presidents day/weekend (in February). A friend of mine, surprised me with a random act of kindness and an impromptu play date at my house. It sounds so simple, but she showed up at my house with a bag full of my favorite things. Stayed for a while and drank coffee, chatted, and let our kids play. My heart seriously swelled with joy and I felt loved. No hidden agenda, no expectation of return, just loving kindness. God knew I needed that from my friend that day.
Grace came to me after my storm. Grace came to me when I was ready to receive it. Grace came to me by someone giving me what I couldn’t do for myself.
Grace came to me through my sister in Christ.
And that day, my heart reoriented back to my maker. My selfishness was stomped out. My pride was replaced with humility. My stronghold released. That day, God stepped back on the throne and I returned to serving him. That day there was a victory.
Feel free to respond to Kristan here. Let’s encourage each other in our stories!