Grace, I love that word, and I love it as a name. I wanted to attach it to my first born baby girl, but one of my sisters and one of my sister-in-laws has claimed it. Isabella Grace, my oldest niece- and Emma Grace, my fourth oldest niece. I guess that using a name three times is a little over kill. So, I'm working up something different, but who knows if that will be taken by the time I actually get to hold her! I'm probably destined to six boys anyway.
So this fascination with grace. I want it. It has such a ring to it, a southern type charm/hospitality, it's sounds so...fancy, a word used over and over in the Scriptures, a word used to describe our God.
You see, you know you don't have it when two people who know you best, call you "Graceful." At first it ticked me off (see, not alot of grace there) but then after I noticed my behavior patterns, I concluded they were onto something. Even as a little girl, every time I would reach to open a new cereal box, my mom would grab it out of my hands and "help" me. I guess she got tired of sweeping Fruity Pebbles up off the floor, after I split the bag in half. And now, every time, I reach for a piece of mail, my husband laughs, grabs it, and "helps" me. I guess I do shred the envelopes, but I don't even realize it until he laughingly points it out. And I don't open new packages gracefully, I'm usually excited about their contents, especially if it's Fruity Pebbles. And I probably have bone chips because I walk into every door I go through. Not a lot of balance. Not a lot of grace. But, I want it...does that count?! Surely, it's got to be a start.
The Lord calls us to be graceful in our speech. This can be hard for me. As previously mentioned, I have never been accused of being emotionally stable. Go figure. I feel alot. And, I am a passionate person, which often leads to regretted words, not intentionally hurtful but emotions and feelings can get to going so fast and mix so quickly that I wind up saying something I don't even mean. But of course, God speaks to us on this... (as He does everything difficult!)
Colossians 4:6 says, "Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone." And if the Lord calls me to it, He must be willing to supply whatever I need so that I can obey. Even if I need alot of supplying!
The word "Grace" has been a hard "church word" for me to understand. It's a more abstract word and a concrete definition is hard for me to muster up. It's used over and over in church, but for some reason I can not wrap my mind completely around it. I often hear it used with "mercy." To me, defining mercy is easy. I just think of two people arm wrestling. One begs for "mercy." You see, I have a picture of it there. But grace, grace is harder for me to grasp. I have heard that "grace is getting more than you deserve," "grace is unmerited favor," and "grace is God's goodness." And I guess that does help me understand grace from the perspective of how the Lord offers it, but what about me offering? How am I, as a person, to offer grace, when I am imperfect and I am not God? Such a noble trait and quality that describes our God....how am I to even pretend to mimic that one?!
So, Blue Letter Bible to the rescue.... I learned several tidbits that are helping me grasp grace....
- ("Benefit" is the effect of the gracious. ) So, I took this to mean, IF I am being gracious in my life, especially my speech, then the receiver of my speech will benefit.
- (Grace bestows pleasure, delight, favorable regard) I will bring pleasure to those I speak with.
- (Grace has a friendly disposition) Fairly self-explanatory :)
- (The receiver will feel favored, gratitude, and thankfulness) This is probably my favorite. I want those I interact with to feel favored. I want them to feel loved and I want them to feel valued. I think this is how Jesus was. Undoubtedly, one of the reasons so many down and out folks were drawn to him. His gentleness, His acceptance, His favor, His Grace.
I want more than anything to be more like Him. I want to truly be graceful :) And I want my speech to be full of grace. But what if we have to speak a hard thing to someone. What if it is not a easy and fun conversation? I'm so glad you thought of that...I did too, but then I found this....
Sometimes, we have to speak truth. But that never gives us free reign to drop the grace filter. It's easy to do, but it's not right. We bring each other no benefit, without grace.
Ephesians 4:15 says, "we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ." If to speak "the truth (which isn't always a fun conversation) in love" means we get to drop the grace, we forfeit the second half of the verse "to grow in every way more and more like Christ." So that to me, means that speaking the Truth and speaking with Grace, can be done simultaneously, And,in fact, must be done simultaneously, to best honor Christ and "benefit" those we speak with.
I want to be woman of grace. A daughter of grace, a friend of grace, a sister of grace, a daughter-in-law of grace, an employee of grace, but most importantly-in my newest role, a wife of grace. I want my speech towards my husband to be full of grace always. Shortly before I got married, a wise woman told me that a wife has the power make or break her husband's spirit. That can be done through words or actions, but since I'm stuck on this graceful conversation, let's go with that. I always want my words to benefit Justin. I always want to speak to him in such a way that he feels favored, and gratitude that I am his partner. I want him to benefit from our conversation, always. The more time you spend with someone the harder it can be to keep your conversation graceful. The more time you are together, the more time our sin nature has to offer us a alternative, if you know what I mean. But what if, we gave God total access to our hearts, and minds. What if we asked Him to work in a way with us, that graceful conversation poured out of us. What if the Holy Spirit over took our thoughts and our feelings so that grace poured out. Wouldn't that be wonderful!? I am asking for it. And for the rest of this week, before I speak something, I am going to ask, "Will this benefit him or her?" I want to offer grace to others, because He does to me.