Fist of all, thanks to everyone for your courage and honesty to share your personal journey and pouring yourself out within this context of soul searching. I feel blessed to be part of a community of imperfect people who are able to face the shadow of their existence. I would like to note that the shadow we cast is merely a morphed image of our actual self. It is comforting to me to be in the company of friends who can accept their short comings for what they are and embrace to gift of grace that is readily available to each and every person on the planet. In my experience we find honor and dignity in the presence/indwelling of Grace because then we realize that our shadow is consumed by the light of our true self.
Funny thing is… In my language (Dutch) We don’t really have a word for grace. We know about Mercy (forgiveness of imperfection) but Grace (undeserved favor/blessing) is not part of our vocabulary. I had to learn that lesson when I was recovering from a career trauma. I was laid off and I in my mind I was a failure. My whole identity was wrapped up in the success and achievement of my pay check. When that facade fell apart I had to reach out to something bigger than myself. If God really loves me, He had better understand that I tried really hard and I gave it my best shot. He’d better recognize my good intentions and willingness to preform and glorify his name. I knew my life wasn’t perfect but God forgives right, so what’s the big deal? I confessed all my sins, (lust, pride, vanity, greed, jealousy, anger, sloth… you name it!). They just kept piling up and at that moment I realized I had finally blown it. I was sure God had turned his back on me. My sonship was revoked. I was out of reach and out of touch for his hand to rescue me.
Then I heard about the Grace of God. There is nothing we can do to win God over or convince (read: bribe) Him into a blessing. We cannot manipulate Him or distance ourself from Him. We may be able to ignore Him, turn away from Him but He will always be right there pursuing us. His love never fails. I can’t even start to describe what happened to me but this sweet nectar touched my lips and I started drinking from that knowledge and wisdom of Grace. In my deepest despair she was there like a swan protecting her chick. In my deepest darkness she whispered in my ear that she would take care of everything. In my isolation she held my hand and asked me to dance. Can you image the joy, the peace and the freedom I felt in this moment. It was overwhelming! I was loved despite of my failures and cheating. I was found despite of my hiding and running. I was known despite of my secrets and my deception. This reckless love was foreign to me and it changed my worldview, my perception, my reality! I knew I didn’t deserve any of it, but thank God now I know I am worth it to Him (Mercy) and to Her (Grace).