Seeing Grace

I run towards Trader Joe’s in a heavy drizzle, the grayness of the day rendering morning like half-evening.  Life is slowed, quieted by the precipitation.  There is a stillness, a waiting, a pregnancy to the day.

I enter with wet cart in hands and I walk steadily up and down the aisles, hunting for sustenance.  I hunt for food, but more than that, I hunt for the ingredients of celebration. I hunt for the “dust” with which I will co-create with my God.  Isn’t that the marvel of cooking?  That we too can create? I hunt for what will make Naomi’s eyes light up, for what will bring dimpled smile to Quinn’s face.  I add to my cart those things which seem to balance nutrition and palate pleasure.  A box of cookies accompanies beans and lean meat.  Frozen berries and whipped cream jump in to lend favor to our Sunday morning crepes.  And the beautiful fruits and vegetables of California’s fall and winter star in this show.

I let go of fear about cost, let go of the endless cutting corners and I lean into wise stewardship.  I will spend well but I will not fear.  This food bought is not just sustenance; it is community and caring and rejoicing too. I buy this food to feed our family, yes.  But I will also feed our friends . . . our housemates who eat with us at least a few times a week, and at least one family or group of singles who will grace our home on Saturday evening.  And I shop for Mamma Grace . . . a friend from school who has recently given birth.  Tonight I will make tacos, the real way, and I will make enough for their family too and we will bring it to them and we will hug them through tears.

Baby Grace came on time to her bubbly and vivacious mother and to her earnest and steadfast father, to her small big brother and a waiting extended family.  But as she came, there was an accident, a strange twist to the story.  What would have been a healthy little girl was born with damage to her small brain; a lack of oxygen during the birth.  She now requires help with the basic necessities of life.  What should have been a joyous beautiful time of celebrating has become a time of prayers, glimmering hope, and hard work.  A family is adjusting to tragedy in their lives while hoping never to adjust their hearts or minds.  And this is victorious living.  Not that tragedy does not happen or that all always goes well.  But that we never stop believing in the power of a good God and that we subject our minds, our thoughts, our hopes to the possibilities His goodness always offers.

It is when I  pass the flower aisle that I catch sight of them; purple star shaped flowers twinkle on the viny branches of a small potted plant.  I know this plant belongs to Mamma Grace and I carry it home, reverently, on my front seat and into my home to wait till tonight. I walk softly and I take off my shoes as I enter my home:  This is worship.

Grace’s plant sits now, in tiny triumphant purple glory on my batik cloth, topping table, next to blue rhinos carried home from Uganda.  It speaks to me, in its smallness and in its joy.  It shouts GRACE.  I love this name, this amazing name our friends have chosen for their small and so-perfect daughter.  Grace means:

a. Divine love and protection bestowed freely on people.
b. The state of being protected or sanctified by the favor of God.
c. An excellence or power granted by God.

Grace is undeserved, unmerited and unearned favor. FAVOR! This name is NOT a mistake! And I know I will write these words; this name and it’s meanings in beautiful gold print on a card which will land in these flowers that we will carry to their home tonight.  I will trumpet grace in the midst of my own lack of understanding in my own small and fearful humanity.  When I do not know; I will speak Him.

And isn’t this what we have?  What we carry?  Isn’t this the awe and the wonder of being Called?  I get up today and get children off to school and plow my way through an exegesis of 3 John and shop for groceries and go to class and take children to gymnastics and cook dinner . . . . But in the midst of it all is worship.  Stopping for The one.  Allowing the pregnancy of the rain-filled air to whisper Him into my soul.  Seeing Grace.

I join Ann this week as I recount this story of Walking with Him . . . www.aholyexperience.com

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