I know many people named Grace. It is quite a common name where I am from. We had a Grace C, Grace P, Grace K, and Grace Z in my class alone. And for the longest time that's all it was for me, a name. Well let's not forget the thing we said automatically before a meal in school and social settings too. At home not so much for me. We are a praying family now and went to Church every Sunday growing up, but family prayer was reserved for important events like right before a long trip and before a meal only when the people visiting and sharing a meal were regular grace sayers.
What grace means has been on my mind lately. Mostly how it is one of those words you know but don't really know until you experience it.
I've been thinking about how much I didn't know about grace all my life. Things happened that I can attribute to grace now but while they were happening I just saw them as another one of those things I survived and got through.
So I looked up grace and this is what I found:
The love and mercy given to us by God because God desires us to have it, not because of anything we have done to earn it.
Unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification.
What I read and found has confirmed so much of how I have been feeling more and more since 2010. There is nothing that happens in my life that I don't attribute to grace.
Back in 1976 it was grace that allowed my body to fully form in my Mother's womb as she sat in a prison cell and could barely get enough food to herself let alone for the growing child inside her. With her previous 2 pregnancies she made sure she ate all the foods rich in nutrients for her growing fetus. This time she was robbed of this opportunity.
I was born with police guards posted outside the hospital room and strict instructions to everyone including the staff to not speak to my Mother. She was considered public enemy number 1. I was born with 10 fingers and 10 toes and no issues at all. Well maybe one, I've never had a toenail grow on my baby toe. In the grand scheme of things, I see this as a win. I was a happy baby despite my circumstances and became the prison mascot for the other women prisoners. I was passed around and was the ray of sunshine they needed on those dreary days without their family members.
It was grace that enveloped my Father when he saw his wife, my Mother many months after they had been imprisoned and separated and they sat before a man in an office for questioning. When he had seen her last her belly was swelled up with their third child growing. And here they were now, him with nothing to hold up his falling pants from how much weight he had lost and her with a flat stomach. This was surely the evidence to confirm what he had spent many nights wondering about. He had surely mourned my loss many nights and now he had come face to face with his fears. Somehow through the non-communicative language couples perfect the longer they grow together Mom assured him that I had made it and was thriving. He didn't get the details like my name, how much I had weighed and my overall disposition until after they were allowed to speak.
Can you imagine?
When this your genesis it is clear that grace is interwoven in every single stitch of all there is to come whether you realize it or not.
There is so much I have been spared from, some of it I willingly walked into and yet I was spared. That blows my mind.
Grace is no longer a pretty name or part of a title of a song that can bring me to tears, grace is something I am fully aware of daily. I feel it beside me, in front of me, behind me, inside me, everywhere!
And even when I learned the origins of the song Amazing Grace a few days ago and how Grace was a slave and the horrible circumstances that lead to the song being written, I can still listen to the song with gratitude in my heart because of what it means to me now.
And please know that grace is not reserved for just a few, it is accessible to everyone! You just have to know it is there and walk in it.
Grace is sent to remind me of God's love and tender care.
His grace is there to cover me. His grace is there to hold me. His grace is there to show me mercy.
His love is unending and His grace is amazing.
The sweetest thing I know.