"Where is God's grace most evident in your life?" my pastor looks into my eyes and asks.
"Other than every moment every day, from the time I wake up?" I joke with him.
"The most obvious way that God's grace is evident in my life is through His body, the church," I say. I'm not joking this time.
It is the one place that has picked me up when I have fallen. It has held me close when I long to walk away. It has taught me the very best about that Good Book; who I am in light of it and who God says He is in-spite of who I think He may be. It has seen me at my worst and not judged. It has brought meals, laughed hard, loved for real and helped me learn everything from cooking to quilting. It has asked hard questions and challenged my sin and held my hand and prayed fervently.
I say it, but I should say they because it isn't really and it is it? It is the people in all the places, in all those little churches and communities that we have lived over the last 15 years where God's grace has dripped and poured into our lived. We would not be the same people with out it. I dare say we would be lost with out it. It is those very people who have taken the time to share with us the Gospel in word and deed with us.
It is a very sad thing, but I do believe that this is a unique experience for many. I know loved ones who have been wounded so deep and so long and so wide by the very people that are supposed to know better. I have wept with and for them. There are no words for that kind of sadness though many have been penned.
And yet, there is this broken, cracked beauty that I will ever be forever grateful for. It is a gift. It is precious. And I have recently been reminded, once again, how in desperate need of these faithful people I am. And you know what? They showed up. Again. And again. It blows me away every time; the love that these people show us because of how loved they are by our Father in Heaven.
It has nothing to do with us, really. It's not because we are of the same demographic, race, or economic status. Some of them are as different from us as the sun is from the moon. Christ is sometimes our only commonality. And he is enough. It's amazing.
No people are not perfect, neither is any church. How could it be when filled with a bunch of self-proclaimed sinners? This, however, is not my point. Perfection is not nor ever should be the point or expectation. His grace is. To say that I'm grateful for it would be like trying to fit the ocean into a cup. Heaven will be a glorious place, filled with all these people God has graced us with praising Him together.
I cannot wait...