I haven’t made a secret of the fact that I’ve had a tough year running. Injuries sustained long ago have come back to haunt, motivation has been low, minor illnesses that made me feel yuck stopped me. Generally one thing after another, and, I confess, I’ve been pretty low. On the verge of real depression, and often really feeling my age and wondering if I would ever run well again. Not. Good.
As always happens at low points in my life, I turn inward, seeking God’s voice, willing myself to be still and listen, aching for the peace that surpasses all understanding. And, as always, He comes through. He has recently reminded me (gently and not so gently) of the grace He’s allowed in my life. Of the people He’s put here to help me through, the blessings He’s provided for me, the abilities He’s given me that He expects me to use. And, I’ve been humbled.
Humbled by the way He answers our prayers, by the many manifestations of grace He allows us to see, and by the way He walks with us in the storms of our lives. Just in the last couple of weeks, I’ve seen not one, but two, beautiful babies who medical science had given up on. These babies were prayed over on a global scale and both had miraculous healings. I’ve read or heard of the loss of several beautiful lives, all taken too soon, and the grace their families have shown in the loss, as well as the impact these lives had on those of us left behind. That only comes from God. The plight of women around the world has been brought to my attention, and I’ve marveled at the strength and courage many of these women have shown each and every day of their lives.
And, I got over myself. My problems, which seemed insurmountable and completely encompassed me, have been prioritized.
Here are some definitions of grace:
*elegance or beauty of form, manner, motion, or action (yeah, I don’t think this one applies to me)
*mercy; clemency; pardon (now we’re getting warmer)
*the free and unmerited favour of God shown towards man (Bingo!)
Free and unmerited favor. I look at my life and see so much grace. Of course, the most important grace was granted to me on becoming a Christ follower. Realizing that I am a sinner, and only through God’s perfect plan have I been granted the ability to have a relationship with Him through His son, Jesus Christ. And, because of that relationship, I am granted entry to eternity with Him, as well as many smaller manifestations of grace that permeate my life this side of heaven.
As I look at my life, I see His hand throughout. He has provided me with all the grace I need for this journey. We’re all on that journey; realizing and appreciating the manifestations of grace throughout our lives is optional.
Of course, it’s easy to write platitudes about grace. To quote definitions and verses about grace that make you nod your head in agreement… “Yes, that’s grace all right.”
What isn’t so easy is to recognize grace in your life. To see how God uses everyday situations, people who are already in your life – your work environment, your play environment. To allow grace to seep in through the cracks and fill your life with His goodness. I’m learning to recognize those. I’m learning to be still, to be attentive to God moments, to be thankful for people He’s given me in order for me to catch a small glimpse of Him, His love, His promises, His grace, in my life. I don’t know what it looks like for you, but here is a small part of what it looks like for me.
Recently, my man and I had a very quiet beach vacation. We used that time to gently kick start my training plan for an upcoming race, ride bikes, kayak in the bay, read, spend time with each other, listen for God’s voice. It reminded me that the second largest manifestation of grace in my life is my man. Don’t tell him, but I think he’s pretty awesome. Okay, you can tell him. I think he may already know.
Knowing that I’ve been struggling with my running program, he designed a plan for me that will hopefully get me across the finish line of my half next month upright and uninjured. Emphasis on uninjured. A gentle mileage increase, and lots of cross training. Not only did he design a plan for me, he’s training right along beside me. You remember my man, don’t you? The one who broke his leg last year; had not one, but three surgeries on it, and is running side by side with me as I train for a race that means a lot to me, but probably not so much to him. He may even pace the race for me, depending on how well the training goes.
That window of time that I ran faster than him? Yeah, it closed on me. He’s back and will most likely be back to fighting form by the first of the year. Oddly enough, that doesn’t make me resentful (well, mostly). It humbles me. Another example of God’s grace for our journey.
I’m thankful that I’m grace filled rather than graceful. Good thing, because I think the graceful ship has sailed.
3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. Romans 5: 3-5