In fairy tales, the endings were always my favorite. You just knew that the miracle would happen. True beauty would be seen and love would overcome. Good would prevail. Hope was always waiting on the very last page, and somehow I believed my story would offer up the same glittery magic as this.
Yet today I find myself in a place as far from fairy tale magic and glitter as I possibly can. Divorced. Broken. Discarded from those that I once loved and those who I thought once loved me. I have one son preparing to enter a teen boot camp to rage against the drug addiction that beckons him night and day. I have one son who is locked away in a psychiatric hospital, unable to be touched, unable to be loved. I have one son who is grasping onto his life with all he has so he won’t sink down the hole of despair that the others have fallen prey to.
This is certainly not the bright and shiny ending that I envisioned for my life. And yet, I am at a complete loss as to how to transform the world around me that has been deemed as mine. I cannot help but to wonder how many others are like me—who wake up each day to problems they cannot resolve, to children that they cannot protect, to pain that they cannot hide. How many tears saturate our fluffy pillows at night as we try to make sense of how on earth we ended up here?
Sometimes, as many attempts as we make to get it right, we somehow still get it wrong. We end up stuck. Sick. Hurt. Disillusioned. Broken. Distraught. And yet, what I am learning is that in the midst of this battle of broken lives and fragmented people is the very place where grace lives!
Grace isn’t for the ones who have all of their lives in balance. It isn’t for who vividly display their perfectionism for the outside world to see. Grace is for the messes we have created by our own stubborn will and for the times that we have been pushed into the mud puddle by someone else, someone we probably trusted and then found ourselves dirty and ashamed. Grace is for the answers that we don’t have and the complications that we can’t change by our own ability or resolve.
For everything that I am not, grace is. For everything that I can never be, grace is.
Too many times, we only look at our mistakes, flaws, and failures. All we can see is inadequacy. All we can see is the end. Yet, we have this Lover of our souls who simply stands back and smiles. This is the very stuff where He can be most visibly seen. This is the place where He can be most welcomed and embraced.
This is where love reaches down and pulls you out of bondage and pain.
This is where deliverance and wholeness and salvation are received. This is where redemption wins!
All of you beloved women who are much like me, finding yourselves looking at innumerable flaws and defeat, feeling as if you are the end of yourselves, take heart and know without a doubt that you are loved—exactly as you are—exactly where you are. This is the place where Grace lives so that His love and hope may be seen and known. Beloved ones, this isn’t the end. It’s truly only the beginning of passionate, relentless, unconditional grace—the place where beauty and ashes meet.
Liz Liles is Founder and Executive Director of Daughters of Worth, a unique mentorship program that exists to educate, equip, empower and encourage girls of all ages to become strong women of influence in their communities! Liz also serves as the Executive Director at The Blind Center in Washington, NC. Her life passion and prayer is that her days will be poured out to bring joy, hope, grace and unconditional love to those she meets!