Living Into Grace

Recently a friend invited me to consider, “What would living into a season of grace be like for me?” I felt stymied as I began to wonder, “What if that were even possible?” Something was blocking my thoughts and her good intentions for my heart. Grace felt out of reach as I recited a litany of the pressures I feel in my life. That list included irritations from people who quite frankly bug the heck out of me combined with the weight of performance that keeps me spinning and on guard to prevent the next shoe from dropping. Interwoven in this is a sadness that pulls on my heart as I consider the losses I have experienced during the past year.

These losses came under a variety of circumstances: close friends have moved to a distant state; friends from a distant state have not returned to their home on the lake this summer due to aging and failing health; friends visiting from a distant state awakened a deep longing for my heart to be known and loved, and then they departed, leaving me feeling disappointed. And last but not least was the death of my beloved dog, Ashley, one year ago. As I ponder, “What would living into a season of grace be like for me?” I must admit that all of these things have taken a toll on my heart.

I felt resistance in my heart to surrender into grace. I questioned if I even trusted my heart to settle into that place of grace. The surrender and grace felt foreign and selfish to me.  But what I felt the most was resistance to what God was telling my heart the entire time. I began to wonder, “Could I find the luxury of grace even in my resistance?”

After reflection and prayer, I discovered that I have minimized my own needs for surrender and grace. This was impactful because it revealed my resistance to name a deeper truth: My needs and my husband John’s needs are changing and are requiring more care. Due to our aging, our relationship has been disrupted from what we have previously known. Our once predictable life is shifting, and I am resisting the shift. It feels scary to admit these changes. It feels scary to surrender to a body that is not functioning as well as it used to. It feels scary to admit that aches and pains require an adjustment to how John and I will live our life. It feels scary to risk kindness for my own needs.

Where does the luxury of grace find a place in my heart as I ponder what is true today?

For me, living into grace says, “It is okay for my needs and for John’s needs to matter.” When my shield of resistance is lowered, I see where John’s presence awakens the lost parts of me. He holds the frightened girl who is performance driven. He brings rest to the girl who is thrown into chaos over relationships. He holds those parts of me that want to resist play, fun, good food and drink, adventure and, yes, even good sex. He invites grace into my resistance because his story collides with mine to offer a taste of the goodness of God and what is truly holy for our hearts to love.

So I am considering “living into this season of grace.” I’m not sure what all of that means, but I do know that my heart feels lighter over the prospects. Some things will shift for me; of that I am certain. Maybe it won’t happen all at once, but it will come. It is okay; John is okay; and I am okay. God’s grace is enough for today.

My hope is that you, too, will consider “living into a season of grace” for yourself.  It may require you to dream a bit, to consider what really matters to you, and to name what you need for this season to begin.  “What if…?”  is something to look forward to.  Let’s try it and see.

Mary Jane Hamilton loves her life living on Lake Michigan with her husband of 47+ years. It is her family that brings her the greatest joy especially her 6 grandchildren. MJ readily admits that she adores her dachshunds and rests in the comfort they provide. She smiles at life and “rolls with the punches” that are thrown her way. MJ loves Jesus and beauty, MJ loves wind, waves and thunder, MJ loves fashion and good wine, MJ loves…