If there is one word that keeps cropping up everywhere I look, in nearly every devotional I read and every sermon I hear, it is the word "grace." That is probably because God knows it is the character trait most lacking in my life these days and the one I most need to exercise when it comes to the people closest to me. Isn't it often our own families who try our patience, push our buttons, and bring out the worst in us? Yet they are the ones in most need of our grace and love.
Exercising grace isn't easy. In fact, apart from the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, it is virtually impossible to do. Yet the dividends of extending grace to those we feel least deserve it, benefit not only them but us. Loving others just as they are frees us from anger and self-condemnation and opens the door for God to develop them into the adults he wants them to be. We cannot make that happen by pushing, cajoling, coercing, or threatening them; but God can work wonders in their lives as we allow him to pour his love into them through us.
Oh, it's so hard! It is hard to trust God to accomplish what we cannot: to change and somehow incline their hearts toward him. When I look at my own life, I can see that is exactly what he did for me! During a lengthy season of rebellion my mother prayed for me but rarely interjected her opinions or convictions. She simply loved me and left the job of changing me to the only One who could turn my life around.
My goal as a wife and mother is to simply love the members of my household and be the authentic Christian the Lord wants me to be. It is not a matter of persuading them to change, but allowing God to change me.
Lord, thank you for your amazing grace. Keep reminding me over and over of that word until I truly understand and live as a reflection of your grace.
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