For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.
I pulled my steaming hot coffee close and stared into the eyes of my five-year old son. “Do you feel like you’ve been doing a bad job, Son?”
For months, he’d been saying, “I am sorry. I am sorry I spilled milk. I am sorry I didn’t put my book bag in the closet.” Everything was I am sorry. It was his desperation cry: “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry … ”
Somewhere along the line, I knew I had gone wrong. Teaching grace to a toddler is like walking a tightrope above Mt. Kilimanjaro. Fall left, and the kid will be eating dinner foot-to-mouth like a native animal. Fall right, and he’ll live his life tiptoeing on legalism’s thin ice.
Envisioning the cracks all around him and his foot sinking under, I forked a huge chunk of cinnamon toast in my mouth then gulped large amounts of coffee.
I waited for his reply. “I didn’t think I was doing a bad job, Mommy, but I do now.”
I nearly spray-tanned coffee all over him.
Oh my goodness, now I’ve really done it! I’m the worst mom ever. I can’t even minister well. I stink. He’ll never know Jesus. I’ve ruined everything.
In panic, I spent the next 20 minutes overcompensating, “I love you so much. Jesus loves you. God can’t stop loving you. Do you know what grace is? I am proud of you. I always want to be with you.”
The kid just tried to color. I don’t blame him. When fear tries to fix people, they hide.
I dropped him at school and waved goodbye, but anxiety turned my car to the side of the road and left me crying.
God, he’ll never know grace.
God prompted my heart: “Kelly, do you?”
My mind rushed ahead to say, “Well, yes, God, of course I do.” Fear spoke differently…
“You’re not really that great of a mother.
They don’t think highly of you.”
“Your kids will hate you one day.
They think you lie.”
“You don’t act godly enough.
People see you make mistakes.”
“You aren’t patient and kind.
You hurt others.”
I cried like my son: I am sorry, I am sorry, I am sorry, God.
My own desperation cry sounded: “God, I must embarrass you.”
“For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14).
Could it be? I can move to a better place – a place called grace?
Could it be that you can move to a better place, too?
To the place where tightropes are not needed. The place where love overcomes. The place where grace conquers.
Something hit me between the eyes, I don’t have to live in fear, and I can live knowing God is near. Rather than walking on a rope, I can look up the heights of my Mt. Kilimanjaro and say, “My help comes from the Lord, maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:2).
I can believe He will help.
Grace is a harness; it never lets us fall. It holds us close to God’s love. It keeps daughters safe. It tells fear “Bye-bye.” It welcomes bravery and confidence.
And, most of all, for me, it lets me run right up to my son, after school, arms-wide-open to love him as I’ve been loved. It lets me whisper through my actions, “I love you just the way you are.”
And, somehow, like a gift sent from heaven, I believe God loves me that way, too.
Dear Lord, thank You that You love me always. Thank You that, in You, I am righteous, holy and blameless. Thank You that nothing can separate me from Your love. Help me to stand under the shower of all Your spiritual riches in Christ Jesus. May I receive the fullness of who You are and then pour it out onto all I encounter.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
How do you critique and condemn yourself through the day?
What might it look like to apply a “space for grace” in your life? How might you practically do this?
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Kelly Balarie, blogger at Purposeful Faith and author of “Fear Fighting: Awakening the Courage to Overcome Your Fears” is passionate about joining hands with women who often find themselves stuck in the pits of life. Step-by-step, word-by-word, her dream is that together they can emerge better – fear, fret and panic-free. Get all of Kelly’s Purposeful Faith blog posts by email for a dose of inspiration and encouragement.