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Grace

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I submitted my final paper of my undergraduate years. That’s it – for real this time! I joke about this as I have returned to undergrad for various reasons at different times. And now I can pretty confidently say – never again!

Now that this term is behind me, I feel like I can share a little of the challenges and beauty that it held.

My Christmas break was not really a break. Within a few days of my final exam, I had word that my stepfather was starting his sentence in jail and for completely unrelated reasons I needed to leave my house. I started this term tired, and completely unfocused on school. The reasons for leaving my home are complex and much drama ensued the coming months, drama that to some degree is still playing out.

The youth mentorship program that we are launching this summer is exciting and definitely one of the more joyful parts of my life. But to be honest, it has been a lot of work, with deadlines for various things (including much needed funding!) spread throughout the school term. I look back over the past few months and see all that I have accomplished and shake my head wondering how on earth it all happened.

Grace.

This term has been full of grace. It does not take long to discover that I am not perfect. I mess up all the time – in big ways and in small ways. But I yearn to follow God and try. I have seen God honour and bless this yearning even when I’ve messed up big time. I have seen God provide in ways that I hadn’t expected. Financially, emotionally, spiritually, academically.

I have had professors extend grace – grace when there was legitimate reasons, and grace when really I had mismanaged my time or gotten dates wrong. I have seen consistent marks that I used to want to kill for.

I have seen God use me which is both humbling and awesome. I always find that to be an encouragement. I have experienced God’s teaching and loving correction – though very painful at times – throughout all that has happened this term.

I have been given strength when I have felt sick. Friends when I have felt alone. God’s presence and comfort when I have felt no human can understand what I am going through.

Grace has been the theme of this semester. Yes – I have put in long hours and devotion to studies, work, and the lives of those who are going through difficult times. But I never would have been able to do any of that without grace sustaining me.

I am thankful that grace is bigger than me. I am thankful that God’s plans are not thwarted by my selfishness, insecurity or mistakes. I am thankful that grace can make possible what so frequently seems impossible. I’m thankful that grace can make beauty out of anything.

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