Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Grace Upon Grace

Jeff and Alyssa Bethke started a podcast recently, and considering how much I love both of their books (and they've signed a deal to write one together!) and following them both on social media, I knew that it'd be fun to listen to them talk with each other about life and answer questions from their followers.

When I listened to their newest podcast last night, I laughed a lot, but what I didn't expect was to be moved so deeply. Alyssa talked about a study she is doing and that she's looking at John right now, and they were talking about grace so she mentioned John 1:16 which says "For from His fullness we have all received grace upon grace." I loved what she said about God being so full that He's just got an endless amount of grace to pour out upon us.

I can't remember if I mentioned this before, but at the end of last semester, I bought a notebook at the bookstore to use as a prayer journal after watching an Anima video on quiet time with God and just feeling really convicted that I need to make God more of a priority in my life and become disciplined about prayer and studying my Bible.

And then my immense skill at procrastinating kicked in...I kept putting it off. First I was sick. Then I was sick and I had the papers. I had the notebook and my Bible sitting out right in front of me, and I still couldn't manage to sit down and actually open either of them. I know, I know. Explain that one.

See, here's the thing. Outside of a church service, I really don't remember the last time I actually opened my Bible. It's shameful, and I don't know how I let it get so out of control like that. But it's like the longer it went on, the more afraid of doing it I became. I've always been very intimidated by the Bible, I'm not sure why but intimidated is just the best adjective I can use to describe what I felt every time I looked at that book. It's weird and hard to describe.

But last night, I finally did it. I opened my Bible to John 1 and started reading. I decided to start there since I had Jeff and Alyssa's podcast still in my head. And you know what? It felt awesome. "Grace upon grace" really is such a beautiful phrase and idea. It's a sweet reminder that however much grace we think God has for us, whatever we think our limit is before He tires of giving us another chance, He has even more grace than that. As Jeff and Alyssa said, it's like the ocean's waves, constantly piling on top of each other, moving forward not because anyone moves them, but because that's just what they do.

God has the grace to forgive me for avoiding His Word for so long, and for wondering why I didn't feel close to Him even though I was missing out on the most obvious step.

There's so much freedom in knowing that, no matter what, there is grace for my mistakes. God doesn't judge me on what I've done, and I am so very thankful for that because if He was as hard on me as I am on myself, I'd be doomed.

I pray that as God teaches me to stop beating myself up for my past mistakes, that I can remember that He really does have grace upon grace for me, scars and mistakes and all.

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