But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. Ephesians 4:7
The grace of God is a beautiful thing! It’s an amazing gift given freely to us. We don’t earn it or deserve it. It’s a gift given just because we have a Father who loves us so much and he’s just waiting for us to ask him to slather us with it. Grace is what allows us to believe, trust, be patient, persevere and rise above the things of this world that like to grab us by the ankles and pull us down. The grace of God is what keeps us going when we think we’ve given or endured all we can; it’s what allows us to live as a Child of God.
During the month of November we spend a lot of time studying the Saints and saintly folks. We learn about the greats like Paul, Mark, John, Patrick, John Paul and Mother Teresa and lots of others who have lived a life of beautiful lessons. I had a student ask me once why we paid so much attention to dead people. It took me a little off guard but the child did have a point. After a moment of thought, I explained that the reason we studied them was because those dead folks had a lot to teach us about how we should live. I realize the only way I will ever be among them is by the grace of God! That led me to wonder if I really was living gracefully.
Fr. John Meoska tells the story of the day he visited a dying parishioner in the hospital and asked the question, “Are you afraid of dying?” It surprised the priest when the man replied, “No Father, I’m not afraid of dying, I’m afraid I haven’t really lived yet.” When I read this little story my mind flew back in time 27 years to the days I sat with my mom as she was dying. We had some great conversations those last few days that I will treasure in my heart forever. Some I’ve shared with others and some I keep tucked away until they bubble out at the perfect time. Sometimes they tumble out because I need her wisdom; funny how it works. The last things she told me was, “Sheri Ann, I hope you’re alive all the days of your life!” I think about those words a lot. It’s funny that our last conversation involved a lesson. Barb could be a little bossy and I giggle when I realize that her final words were not, “I love you” or “I’m proud of you” or “Good-bye my beautiful daughter.” (I would have liked that one) No, her final words to me were a job; the most important job she ever gave me! Be alive…fully alive…gracefully alive. They were my marching orders and they came from a woman who taught me how it was done!
So what keeps us from being gracefully alive? I suppose my list would include complaining, disobedience, stubbornness, rebellion, selfishness and a big scoop of pride to top it all off. If I looked back on the days I didn’t feel or look too alive, I was probably busy comparing, judging and doubting. Those things are like throwing a huge wet blanket right on the grace of God. They stomp out the joy, love and energy that come from being alive in Christ. I don’t remember the Gospel telling us to go forth and be crabby or gather the nations and spread the selfish news. I don’t recall Jesus ever telling a parable showcasing the joys and blessings of the self-reliant control freak who furthered the kingdom on earth. Those things are the things we try to do to “fix” things instead of asking for, receiving and living through the GRACE OF GOD! So, it might just be the perfect day to ask yourself…am I gracefully living this life of mine or am I just breathing?
A Seed To Plant: On a sticky note, write the words, “Be alive all the days of your life” and put it somewhere you will see it often as a reminder to live this life God gave you gracefully!
Blessings on your day!
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