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.