Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Guest Post: Grace by Katie

Hello Annie's blog world! I'm so honored to get to post on one of my most favorite peep's internet home. A little background info on me and Annie....she and I go waaaaay back to meeting at the ripe ole age of 20 or so. Our now hubbies grew up together and lived together in college, so when we both became smitten with our boys and started dating them and hanging out at their college abode (which was dis-gust-ing may I add....think smelly smells mixed with large bugs mixed with "men" who loved Playstation way more than cleaning) Annie and I were introduced. It is a friendship that has grown slowly, steadily and beautifully over the years.

But there's one thing you should probably know about me and my Annie Bananie. On the outside....we are extremely different. Think night and day. A few examples:

I love sports. Annie loves art.

The best way for me to decompress is to run. Like Forrest Gump....just start running and stop once the yuck of the day is out. I'm pretty sure heaven is going to have continuous games of kickball and ultimate frisbee. Annie affectionately calls me Sporty Spice. I call her Artsy Spice. She has these wicked cool genes that naturally know how to design and create and can put things together in a house that look ah-ma-zing. It baffles me. When we were in college, she use to paint these pictures and sell them in coffee shops or random "fun" stores. I don't think I even knew where to buy paint nor did I know that coffee shops existed until she told me about these places. She helps me decorate my house. It's like one of the best gifts ever when I watch her work because in my head all I think is "-----------." Nothing. I don't get it. She's banned me from buying any more picture frames. My idea of decorating is to slap up a picture of my children laughing or a quote on the wall. She cut me off from any frame aisles. What else is there?? I don't even know.

I could go on and on, but I'll just list a few other tidbits about me and my girl. I love anything sweet. She loves anything salty. I have three girls. She has two boys. It takes a lot to make me cry. Not so much for my lady. One time she saw my closet...and made me go shopping after she lifted her jaw off the ground due to the lack of clothing. I now send her pictures from changing rooms because my head cannot tell the difference between an "old lady" outfit versus "it's actually in style." She takes pictures of outfits in stores and sends them to me. Love her. She can sense things. I am a think think thinker. She sends me pictures of artsy things to buy my oldest daughter, who also has this creative gene.

We may be different, but we are stinking crazy similar in a few ways. We both LOVE Jesus. We both are in the process of learning more and more and more about His unconditional love and grace for us and we've walked it together. We both LOVE our families. Marriage, our husbands, our kids….love, love, and love even though it can be tough, tough, and tough. We both LOVE each other. We know each other is not perfect. We don't expect it. We try to offer communication and grace first to each other and give each other the benefit of the doubt. We have each other's back. I have one particular time in mind when I was struggling with life. I have a "little" pride issue and do not like to ask for help. She sensed it and just showed up in my life for a few days. Just....showed....up. We want the best for each other in our own lives and when we are together we laugh. A LOT. She's good for my soul.

I promise this isn't a post only about me and Annie. It's a post about one of our favorite things.....grace. Ahhhhh.....grace.

My man and I have been blessed with three daughters. They are all so very different from each other. When I was pregnant with my third (she's now 5. Halt...how is my baby 5? This is baffling.), we considered the name Grace. My husband ultimately nixed it as a first, so we shifted it to the middle. I loved the way it sounded. I loved the meaning behind it. Funny thing is.....I had no idea how much I would use her name on a daily basis in my head.

Grace--kindness from God we don't deserve. Unmerited favor. We haven't done anything to earn it. It is a gift.

Sounds so easy, right? Who doesn't love a gift??? Who doesn't love a FREE gift?? And one we have to do NOTHING to earn it, just accept it.

Then WHY is it a term that I struggle with so very much in my own life?

I didn't realize I struggled with it until the last two years or so. Decisions have been made in my life. I've suffered from regret (such an ugly word). I've even experienced regret's best friend....shame. It's heavy. It's debilitating. It's overwhelming. It's awful. Have any of you felt this yuckiness? In fact, I've typed the word "yuckiness" four times and my computer tries to turn it into "luckiness." Oh no Mr. Computer....there is nothing lucky about regret and shame.

I've known about the word "grace" for a long time. To me, it's positive and light-hearted and puppies and kisses, etc. Until....I needed to apply it to myself. It's something I have no problem extending to others. You messed up? No biggie. GOD FORGIVES YOU. GOD LOVES YOU. You messed up AGAIN? Noooo problem again! Let me tell you about grace. You should receive it. It's the gift our Father gives over and over again.

But when it comes to me? When it comes to telling myself that it's ok that I mess up too and that God loves me unconditionally too....it just isn't as easy to accept. I tend to be the champion boxer....IN MY HEAD. I can beat myself up like no other. I'm a work in progress. Anyone else out there feel this way ever? Why can I extend it to anyone else, yet it's so hard to apply to myself?

Last Sunday in church, our pastor preached about Luke 7: 36-50. If you haven't read it, I ENCOURAGE you to do so. If you have, read it AGAIN. It is GOOD NEWS. It's about screwed up people. In fact, one of the main characters is a woman who has a really dark past....most likely prostitution. I kind of love that her dark past isn't specifically revealed though. It keeps us from thinking that a dark past has to be one thing....it could be anything. She had been introduced to the twins, Regret and Shame, in her life too. Yet, instead of keeping her pain in, she ran to Jesus. She cried to Him. She spilled her tears onto Him. You know what he told her in the last verse? "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."

Peace...in the Old Testament it means "completeness", "soundness", "well-being."

To be restored and to be complete again. To kick off the weights on our shoulders. To be WELL. Jesus paid it all. He WANTS us to have faith in Him so that we may experience peace.

I am praying that I can accept God's grace in my life. And I'm going to pray that if you suffer from that yucky burden like I do at times, that you, too, will have faith in Jesus, so you can experience peace too.

And, I'm praying that you have an Annie in your life. This world is too tough to make it on our own. We need friends to remind us about grace when we cannot accept it ourselves. A....even though I'm never going to spray paint stuff gold like you do and make it look awesome in my house, thank you for showing me grace when I fall short. Love you and your blog girlie.

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