With the holidays coming up, don’t miss out on opening the most important gifts. Lucinda Secrest McDowell joins us today to about share about the ordinary graces waiting for you each day. Plus, celebrate the release of Lucinda’s new book, Ordinary Graces, and grace your holiday season with a $75 Etsy gift card giveaway! Click here to learn more and enter.
From his fullness we have all received grace upon grace. ~ John 1:16
“Sometimes I blurt out words that hurt other people. In trying to hide my insecurity, I become bossy, controlling and impatient. With ears tickled by the praise of others, my mood can fluctuate from joyful to despondent on the whim of someone’s opinion. But I don’t want to be this way! I often
wonder if anyone will ever really love me.”
* * *
I was “that girl.”
Striving. Enslaved. Rigid. Yes, a Christ-follower. Carrying around God’s gift of grace, but never bothering to open it and embrace its richness as a way of life.
The last person you’d expect to be writing a book offering the many gifts of God’s ordinary graces.
But here I am.
Transformed by an encounter with Jesus, who stooped and lifted me out of my pit, relocating me to holy ground. The humbled recipient of a gift I don’t deserve and could never earn by my own efforts—God’s amazing grace. It cost me nothing (except surrender), but it cost Jesus everything.
Saul was the last person you’d expect to be picked by God. To change the world.
Oh, he had plenty of academic and professional credentials. Lots of knowledge and ambition. Self-confidence in spades. Problem was, Saul was batting for the wrong team. He hated followers of the Way and was complicit in the stoning murder of Stephen, “spewing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples” (Acts 9:1).
Hopeless, right? Not in God’s sight.
God saw something in Saul that could be used for the Kingdom. Instead of punishing him, He waylaid Saul on the road to Damascus and assured the early Christians, “This man is the agent I have chosen to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and Israelites” (Acts 9:15).
That one act of grace turned Saul the persecutor into Paul the missionary of Christ.
Do you feel like the least likely person to be gifted with a life of love, grace, and purpose? You are in fine company with me and with Saul. Receive that second chance, and out of your own undeserved freedom, begin to look at others with fresh eyes of compassion and mercy.
The New Testament Greek word charis is translated “grace” and “favor,” and is the root of charisma, for “gift.” Grace gifts abound. They are everywhere, just waiting to be opened. I discover them in ordinary places, like the people who touch my soul because of their courage, kindness, or self-sacrifice. I even find them in the challenges that simultaneously turn my world upside down and change me from the inside out.
Mostly I discover these ordinary graces through His Word. Each word is a gift. Waiting to be received and incorporated into our hearts and actions.
To me, “ordinary graces” are surprising gifts that come to me while simply living my story. If I am in a hurry, I will miss them. If I am distracted, I will ignore them. But for anyone weary from effort yet thirsty for more, God offers grace, strength, gratitude and life. And so much more.
What will happen when you finally open these gifts?
©2017 Lucinda McDowell in Ordinary Graces (Abingdon Press)