Because I've chosen "grace" as my one-word resolution or focus for this year, I thought it would be wise to chronicle what I'm learning on here so that I won't forget the nuances that He has been faithful to show me.
Grace is so difficult to wrap my mind around, but at a most basic level, grace is something that I haven't worked for and can't earn. My friend Krista often uses the term "grace gift," and that is what so many people are in my life. The Lord has blessed me with friendships that I could have never dreamed of and has sustained friendships over the years and over the miles, even without a lot of effort or work on my part.
On New Year's Eve in 1991, I went to babysit a little girl and a little boy, whom I had babysat before on several occasions. But on that night in addition to those two children, I was also asked to babysit two other boys, one of whom was nine and a half and the other of whom was almost four years old. It was a bit of a wild ride to try to keep them all entertained, but we survived the night without any major incidents. Shortly thereafter, the mother of the two boys started having me babysit on a regular basis. She lived in a gorgeous home, and it was fun to "play house" while I was there. The boys were well-behaved for the mostpart, though they did throw me for a few loops, such as the Sunday when the younger boy did not want to wear underwear to church and the Sunday when the older boy did not want to go to church. Thankfully, my persuasion skills must have been at an all-time high because I "won" on both accounts without bribery and only had to concede that the older boy could come to my Sunday school class with me in lieu of going to the one for his age group.
Those boys ultimately moved to Austin, and I went off to college and didn't see them regularly. But over the past several years, the Lord has allowed our paths to cross again as we share a love for the Longhorns.
And by His grace, I was there last year shortly after the older boy's first child was born.
And I was there this year for her one-year birthday celebration.
But this is just one example of many.
I met Momma Bean (I think after Chapel one day) in college. We were merely acquaintances on campus. But the Lord orchestrated for us to become roommates my final year in college, for us to later become roommates in grad school, and for our paths to cross a third time as we lived in the same city for a while. I hope the Lord allows our paths to cross many more times and puts our rooms next to each other in Heaven because we can pick up right where we last left off and chat forever.
I met my friend Becky during an internship while I was in grad school. I later accepted a position at the place where I interned, and Becky and I were in a Bible study together. That was over twelve years ago, and we still check in weekly with one another and lift one another up in prayer.
I met my friend Melissa on a prayer retreat. We both arrived late and ended up getting a back room that had only three people in it (the two of us plus the gal I rode with). The friendship we struck up there almost twelve years ago was fortified when we joined a small group together and has been sustained by the Lord's grace as Melissa is now married and has two children on top of being a professor.
I met my friend Susie in that same small group with Melissa. We no longer attend the same church, but the Lord has kept our friendship going strong.
And then there's Krista, whom I met online through another friend's blog. Chances are that I had met her before because she is my neighborhood pharmacist, but it was the blog connection that God used to start a friendship.
This list could go on and on, but these are just a few examples of the many creative ways that the Lord has used to plant God-fearing friends in my life. He has given me immeasurably more than I could have asked for or imagined when it comes to the quantity and quality of friendships that I have; I could not have earned this favor or these friends. The plain and simple truth is that they are all grace gifts from the Lord.