Amazing Grace, actually.
She’s one of my girlfriends who is nearest and dearest to my heart. I’ve loved her since I first met her, but then…
Last fall, I started seeing a new counselor. My dear friend, Rick, had walked me through the initial steps of being diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and PTSD, but time and distance (he was about 1500 miles away) made it necessary for me to start seeing a counselor locally. And the first step she took in treating me was to call North Carolina and report three of my childhood abusers. And let’s just say that I didn’t handle that well…
I came home from my counseling appointment that evening, pulled on a long black nightshirt, and climbed into bed. I’d been trying to forget the instances of abuse for decades, and I was pretty sure that my new counselor had just single-handedly ensured that wasn’t going to happen. I feared questions, answers, regrets, recriminations, rejections… And, to put it simply, I gave up.
Within an hour, there was a knock on my front door.
It was Grace.
Grace got me out of bed. She sat on the couch and held me while I cried. And then she went into the kitchen, cooked, and made me eat. She dried my tears and helped me make it through the night.
July 5, I flew back in from ten days in Minnesota. I had spent five days walking Rick home to Jesus. And five days grieving with his widow, sons, and friends. I was completely spent. I had nothing left to give. I groped and crawled my way through the week of work – exhausted, forgetful, weepy. And when the work week was over, Grace was here…
It was a cool, breezy, cloudy Saturday. Grace drove me the two hours to the beach, walked me out onto the wet sand, and stood next to me staring at the ocean. And with the wind blowing our hair and the raindrops falling on us, we stood with our arms around each other’s shoulders, my head on Grace’s shoulder, crying. Releasing the pain and emotion of the weeks before.
Grace is always there.
Grace helps me to heal.
Grace never leaves me alone.
I haven’t always accepted grace (that’s small-g grace) really well. I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with it – because I believed that while extending grace to others was a great thing, to expect it in return was unacceptable. I didn’t ask for help very often, and once I started asking for help, I learned very quickly that not everyone who says they love you is able or willing to help you. Not everyone has grace, and so not everyone can extend grace to others. And sometimes, it takes practice to learn to receive it, too…
In Chapter 6 of The Hiding Place, Corrie Ten Boom describes the process of beginning to take in people who had reasons to hide from the Nazis in Holland. The Ten Booms had limited space, limited resources, and limited energy. But they had a spoonful of grace, and God kept filling their vessels with more. Corrie said, “My job was simply to follow His leading one step at a time, holding every decision up to Him in prayer. I knew I was not clever or subtle or sophisticated; if the Beje [the Ten Boom home] was becoming a meeting place for need and supply, it was through some strategy far higher than mine.” (ebook location, 1614)
When my energy is exhausted, God supplies. When I have nothing left, Grace and/or grace shows up. We just need to keep offering it, and keep opening the door to it.
This post is part of a weekly book discussion on Corrie Ten Boom’s classic, “The Hiding Place.” You don’t have to read the book to chat with us. But if you have written a response to this week’s chapter, run over to my co-facilitator Jason’s place to link up at the widget.
When I was a little girl, I dreamed of one day becoming a librarian. It seemed to me a dream come true to spend my hours among the friends – the book characters – I’d grown up with. Nancy Drew. Laura Ingalls Wilder. Ramona Quimby. I didn’t have an older sister, just a neighborhood full of mean … [Read More...]
I was only a handful of months out of high school when I got my first assignment at my new job. I had always been a caretaker and nurturer. And so, I knew it was going to be difficult, but I said yes anyway – to being a part-time caretaker for a young hearing impaired, nonverbal, autistic … [Read More...]
Powerlessness. Last week, you all discussed Chapter 2 of Corrie Ten Boom’s The Hiding Place. This time last week, I was on my knees on cold linoleum, holding the hand of one of our veteran book discussion members as he walked into Jesus’s arms. And powerlessness was certainly one of the things I … [Read More...]
Several years ago, one of my friends had her first baby. She was 20 and had married a military man. Pretty soon after Junior’s birth, Papa deployed and Little Mama found herself alone with an infant – an experience that, as the baby of her family, she had never before faced. It was … [Read More...]
I’ve always been a fan of biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs. A couple of years ago, a very well-read editor friend of mine asked me why I would enjoy reading people’s sad stories. I had never thought about it before, but I realized that the thing that appeals to me about these stories isn’t … [Read More...]
This morning, I got to spend an hour cradling, rocking, and singing to a most precious newborn bundle of joy. Less than a week old, he is the foster child of one of the families in my church. And though I know nothing of the circumstances of this little love-bug’s short life up to this point, it was … [Read More...]
I think that the first time our mutual friend introduced me and Daniel, she was trying to play matchmaker. It didn’t work. He and I instinctively knew that we were meant to be just friends, and we became good friends, very fast. He was exactly the kind of boy my dad wouldn’t want me spending time … [Read More...]
I recently made a silly decision to be interviewed by a magazine. I didn’t think twice when I said yes to being interviewed about growing up as a pastor’s child. It’s been my identity for thirty-seven years, and I’m fairly intimate with the nuances of it. And it’s something I’ve talked and written … [Read More...]
I was twenty, and I had it bad. I hadn’t just fallen in love with a man; I had also fallen in love with his church. I was looking for a community. My own family wasn’t in a great place relationally at that time. And so I was really looking for a family – somebody to do life with who wouldn’t hurt … [Read More...]