“In order for growth to happen, we have to forgive others and forgive ourselves. That's what grace is.”
What do you think of when you hear "Growing in His Grace?" This is something that has stuck with me for a long time. I was so blessed to have amazing grand parents that were such a prevalent part of my early childhood. Their influence truly left a legacy that now carries over to my life. It unravels in everything I do; including how I parent, my relationships, and who I've become as a person. Grandpa Jack (solo with the hat) and Grandma Joan (picture with Grandpa Steve to her left) both passed away in my teenage years...the years where I could have definitely used their guidance the most, however I am so grateful for the time I did get to share with them. Grandpa Steve next to Grandma Joan passed away when I was 27 and 9 months pregnant with my first son who he nicknamed "Little Buckeye" before he even had the chance to meet him.
"Growing in His Grace" came to me as I was praying 6 years ago. I was trying to decide on what kind of tattoo I wanted to get in remembrance of my grandparents. Yes...a tattoo! I know (rolling my eyes) what was I thinking praying for words to use for a tattoo? How comical right. I remember anxiously thinking, what should it say?...after all I am going to have it for the rest of my life! Well...I am so glad I prayed over this because I literally have no regrets. This quote, "Growing in His Grace" emerged in my mind at that point in time. I had never heard it before in my life and had no idea what it even meant. Six years later, with my new life in Christ, I am now so thankful for this quote and it's meaning to me. I am reminded that even if my grandparents aren't near me in a physical sense....they would still want to see me become a person full of compassion and grace.
In order for growth to happen, we have to forgive others and forgive ourselves. That's what grace is. When doing this, we must also be humbled enough to openly admit our faults to ourselves and to others. Let's all take a step down from the pedestal we have ourselves on. We don't know all the answers and it doesn't matter if we do. What will matter at the end of our life is the legacy we leave behind. What did we do for others? How did we impact the lives of others? I always think of all the things my grandparents did for me and how they helped influence the person I am now. When I do this, I think...wow... they truly wanted the best for me, and so they unselfishly gave up their time to invest in me. No matter how many times I messed up, they still forgave me, and chose to love me. That's what we do for people we love. We forgive them. We show them grace.
For continuous growth in my faith, I must show others compassion and grace, including myself. No one is perfect and I know I will fall short, but let's hold one another accountable this week, this month, this year....to show some GRACE. There is a Bible verse that comes to mind from Ephesians 4:32 that reminds me of this. "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ God forgave you."
Write a list of things and people you need to forgive and a list of things you want God to forgive you for. Pray over your lists....ask God to help you forgive. Humble yourself and openly admit to God what you'd like him to forgive you for. The Bible states another verse that helps me remember how the grace of God works in our lives. It states..."For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." Ephesians 2:8-9
After you make your lists and pray over forgiveness, rip the paper and throw it away. By throwing it away, this means you are starting fresh! You are no longer bound by the afflictions of your past. Do this as many times as you need to throughout the year. You will be surprised how freeing this exercise can be. Once you do this, comment or shoot me a message and let me know how this helps you. How does this help you show compassion for others and for yourself?