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…
“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.” Thank you, thank you always for opening your heart and sharing your wisdom each month. This challenging invitation disrupts me in a surprising way this morning, and I am so grateful. Blessings to you as you continue to grow in grace.
You are so welcome, Julie. This is definitely a shift for me…I’ve been hard on myself for most of my life. I love that this invitation disrupts you…it does me too! Grace is always a good reminder for life. I hope you take on the challenge and discover God in new and refreshing ways💗MJ
Dear MJ…I love this. Your words of resistance and fear so resonate with where my feet are often planted. Your words of hope and invitation to more also resonate and call me to gratitude and surrender. To Jesus. Thank you my beautiful friend. Thank you. Sending love, Christine
Thank you for the kindness of your words. They hold much beauty as I allow them to resonate in my heart. I’m pondering grace more and more each day…and fear creeps in…grace is a moment by moment surrender for me. Carry on, my friend💜MJ
Dear Mary Jane, you are ahead me in this race called the human race! It so very good to hear your thoughts…because it is a new day for me as a senior citizen!!! My body is SO different. Dan’s body is SO different and all of this makes our thinking and living different. I want to offer grace in this season and with new grand babies being born and their parents needing respite I have never been so busy in all of my life! Thank you for beginning this conversation because my mother certainly never did and I am walking into new territory and does require grace and needs to be spoken to younger women. Love to you and John.
Oh, bless you, Becky for the kindness and encouragement of your words. You and Dan have so much to look forward to with these babies tumbling out and grandchildren. It is a miraculous time of your life even as our bodies continue to age. My children had babies within the first 2 years of marriage. Our oldest grandchild is 19…imagine that? I’m so glad yours are in the lineup so you and Dan can really enjoy them! You two are blessed! Savor every minute…they grow up fast. Stay strong and smile at the goodness God has given you, I know I am💜MJ
Oh Mary Jane…please forgive me if I was part of that disappointment. I so wanted to connect with you this summer but our limited time with family kept me from this. I kept looking for a window that did not appear. We only had a total of 5 days together and no one wanted to leave. Please forgive….Judy and Abe
No problem, Judy…please hold onto the goodness of your lovely family and the memories you made over the summer. I thought about you up there and I really knew you were most likely very busy with family. I understand and you certainly have your priorities in check. I’m with you 100%. Thank you for thinking of me and know that grace is yours today…💗MJ